The following post is from Melissa Batai
For many families, moving back in with the parents or having your parents move in with you can be an opportunity to save money or survive a job loss. This is especially true in 2020, as more and more people are sharing a home as they deal with job loss or reduced hours. If you’re considering moving in with relatives or having them move in with you, recognize that it doesn’t have to be a torturous situation. There are ways to live in a multi-generational home peacefully and temporarily.
How To Make Multi-Generational Living Work
For every family that successfully makes multi-generational living work, there seem to be two or three other families who are at their wits’ end living with relatives. The key to a successful arrangement is to communicate clearly and set boundaries before you move in.
Set a Time Limit
Setting a time limit for the arrangement is the most important thing you can do. For instance, if you’re saving for a down payment for a house, you might tell your parent that you’ll stay no longer than 18 months.
Giving a time limit helps keep you motivated to work as hard as you can to save the money you need. It also gives both you and your parents a definitive date when the arrangement will end. This can help make the situation more tolerable for all parties.
Set an Amount You Will Pay
Second, set an amount of money that you will pay the person who owns the home. For instance, if you move into your widowed mother’s home with your spouse and three kids, clearly her expenses will increase—significantly. Don’t expect her to bear the full financial burden. Instead, agree on an amount that you will pay her monthly to help offset these costs.
Determine the Chores You Will Do
You’ve likely heard the saying, “Many hands make light work.” If you move in with your parents or they move in with you, and not everyone is helping, you will likely feel resentment, as they will. Avoid this potential argument by clearly determining before you move in who will do what chores. For instance, maybe you agree to make dinner and do the dishes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Your parents will cook and do the dishes on Tuesday and Thursday. On Saturday and Sunday, you will each cook your own meals and do your own dishes.
Maybe you agree to mow the lawn every week to give your parents a break, but your parents agree to do the weekly grocery shopping.
Be as clear as you can about everyone’s responsibilities.
Write the Rules Out on Paper
When you’ve reached consensus on all of the above, write the rules on paper. Then, there will be no disagreements about what you initially determined would be fair.
Finally, if you’re moving in with a family member, be helpful. One woman and her husband moved in with his mother so they could save for a down payment on their home. While they stayed with her, they completed tasks she hadn’t been able to do like painting various rooms in the house and planting flowers in the front yard. Your relative is doing you a favor by letting you live with them, so take the time to do something nice in return.
While living in a multi-generational household can be challenging, there are many financial and personal rewards. If you follow these steps, you’ll hopefully have a more pleasant experience.
My Question for You
Have you lived in a multi-generational household before? If so, what advice would you give to make the experience go smoothly?