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The joys and pains of multigenerational households

Two children with their parents, grandmother and a pet spaniel, circa 1975.
Two children with their parents, grandmother and a pet spaniel, circa 1975.

Multigenerational living is by no means a new arrangement. But it has become more common in recent years. The number of Americans living in multigenerational households has quadrupled since 1971, according to Pew Research Center

Financial issues were cited as the top reason people chose to live in multigenerational households.

Personal finance columnist Michelle Singletary wrote on the subject for The Washington Post:

“My husband and I encouraged our children to choose the financial safety of their childhood home over the high cost of independent living in the Washington metropolitan area. We don’t charge rent in exchange for their saving more than half of their annual earnings. It’s an economically strategic plan that allows them to contribute to retirement plans, build healthy emergency funds using a high yield savings account and save for a down payment for their own homes.If all goes as we planned, our children will be better off when they launch than we were in our 20s.That’s what most parents want, right? For their children to have a better standard of living, one with a decent cash cushion when life happens.”

But this arrangement can be about more than money. It can benefit older adults who need assistance, parents in need of childcare, and young adults not yet ready to strike out on their own.

We talk about the joys, pains, and economic gains of multigenerational households.

Copyright 2022 WAMU 88.5

Haili Blassingame