The New York Times has just published an interesting article about a trend in home design that we find encouraging: new homes specifically designed for multigenerational living. While this kind of lifestyle isn’t for everyone, the appeal definitely appears to be on the rise.
Click here to read this timely article. It just might give you and your family some ideas.
Interestingly, the New York Times article features a family right here in the Pacific Northwest, who purchased a new multigenerational home in Spanaway, near Tacoma. This family includes a couple in their mid-60’s and a son and daughter in law in their 40’s. There’s also a grandson, age 21. Sounds like a crowded home and a recipe for tension doesn’t it? But because this home was specifically designed for more than one generation to live happily and privately under one roof, everyone lives in harmony.
According to the Times, nearly 57 million Americans lived in multigenerational homes in 2012, a rise of 10 million from 2007. Part of the reason is economic, in the aftermath of the recent recession. The Times article quotes a senior economist from Zillow who explains, “People lost jobs, and with tighter household budgets, a lot of homes consolidated. We’re seeing more children living with their parents and elderly parents moving in with their adult children.”
The new style of next generation homes offer much more than a “granny hut” or mother-in-law apartment. The home designs spotlighted in the Times piece “provide a separate entranceway, bedroom, living space, bathroom, kitchenette, laundry facilities and, in some cases, even separate temperature controls and separate garages with a lockable entrance to the main house.” The Times says with a note of irony, “Family members can live under the same roof and not see one another for days if they so choose.”
As millennials encounter a difficult economy in many markets, and as their baby boomer parents start living longer and with greater vitality, the new style of multigenerational homes seems like a trend with a solid future. The company featured in the Times article, Lennar Homes, sold just 280 of what they call “NextGen” homes in 2012 – however, by contrast, in 2015 Lennar sold 1,100 such homes. According to the company, their five-year projections for NextGen demand look promising.
Is this kind of living for everyone? No. The Spanaway man featured in the Times puts it this way: “Don’t do it if you don’t have love for each other, a commitment to living life together, and an ability to compromise. For us, it was the right thing at the right place at the right time — and it works.”
Involving your family in your retirement planning may not entail living together, but it does mean being honest and proactive about your wishes, dreams and fears. Here at Aging Options we have arranged multigenerational meetings with hundreds of clients and we welcome the opportunity to do the same for you. Communicating openly about future plans helps you avoid becoming a burden to your loved ones; instead, a solid retirement plan allows you to chart your own course and maintain your independence as long as possible.
We call that type of plan a LifePlan. You can get started putting your own LifePlan in place by attending one of our free LifePlanning Seminars, where we’ll help you see how all the elements of your plan fit together: your housing choices, your legal affairs, your financial preparation, your family relationships and your health coverage. To register for one of these free, information-packed seminars, click on the Upcoming Events tab on this website.
We’ll look forward to seeing you at a seminar soon.
(originally reported at www.nytimes.com)