How Millennials and Their Retiree Parents Are Living Together and Making It Work
In previous generations, "moving back home" may have been considered a sign of failure; but these days, it's a way that millennials and retirees can save money and thrive.
Being a millennial is no easy feat. Not only are they plagued with astronomical student loan debt (an average of $33,000 per borrower), but 60 percent of millennials expect that they will need to change their job or industry at least once over the next 10 years. They are dealing with this during a time in which career longevity is drastically dwindling, and experts assert that wages after inflation have barely budged in the past 44 years. So while their parents could afford to buy a home on a regular salary, these days, nearly 70 percent of millennials say they cannot afford a home due to rising prices.
For this reason, many millennials are opting to move back home with their parents—many of them indefinitely. In previous generations, "moving back home" may have been considered a sign of failure; but these days, it's a way that millennials and retirees alike can save money and thrive together.
The benefits of multigenerational living
Don't let the memes and jokes on social media fool you, there are actually plenty of benefits to moving in with your folks—or staying at home longer if you haven't moved out yet. More millennials are now living with their parents than ever before in history; as of last summer, 52 percent of millennials lived with their parents due to the pandemic, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.
And the number of adults aged 23 to 37 who choose to stay home has been steadily increasing since 2000. In fact, the number of adults (age 18 to 29) living with their parents has surpassed records set during the Great Depression. After all, those ages 25 to 34 have been moving back home in droves for over a decade—ever since the financial crisis in 2008/9—and the stats continue to rise. Some experts assert that with the rising costs of housing, the fact that millennials are marrying much later in life (if ever), and other variables, some millennials may never leave home.
But for millennials and their retiree parents, there are some clear benefits to staying home—or moving back home—with the folks, including:
Saving money on housing costs
One of the most obvious benefits of multigenerational living is everyone contributing to a shared rent or mortgage. And if those retired parents bought their home decades ago, or better yet, nabbed a rent-controlled NYC apartment in the 1960s? Talk about a major split-housing-costs win.
Of course, every family dynamic is different. But if you're a boomer who likes doing laundry and mowing the lawn, and your millennial kid is a great cook serving up family-size pancake breakfasts and fish fry Fridays, you've got a recipe for shared-living success.
Multigenerational meals means everyone contributes to the cost—which can be a boon for both retirees tired of meal-planning for just one or two, as well as for single millennials who aren't yet splitting the grocery bill with a partner.
Many people end up pigeonholed into a job because they cannot afford to quit. Staying or moving back home can allow millennials the flexibility of being able to try out multiple positions or even start over career-wise. This is an especially valuable benefit now that job stability is on the decline.
Remember: The cost savings should benefit everyone
Living with your parents should mean easing their financial burden, too—not adding to it. If you're thinking about making this move, make sure you're not planning to move home, kick your feet up, and call it a day. Utilize the cost-cutting benefits of multigenerational living to kick-start your own (first, second, or third) career, research grants and scholarships for furthering your education, explore student loan forgiveness utilizing these resources, put more towards your (and/or your parents') retirement fun, or even start a side hustle to help support your new millennial-boomer pod.
Overall, although flying solo can be great, moving home and combining financial forces with your family—if only for a little while—can be a great money move for all involved. And millennials in 2021 are proving that it's no longer shameful to be living with your parents; in fact, it's often the best thing to build (multi-, in this case) generational wealth.