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Live with extended family to beat the recession?

October 16th, 2008 · No Comments

Lisa Cullen had an interesting article about "Getting ready to be sandwiched", talking about her recently windowed Dad moves into her house. To quote her, "We’re prepared. But I’m not prepared. I’m not prepared."

Well, we have two young kids, and our parents are aging. I’m the only child, while my wife has a brother. We live far away from all of our parents. Sooner or later, we’ll be facing the same challenge.

However, my view on living with parents have changed over the years.

In my 20’s, I couldn’t wait to get out of my parents house and live on my own. When I got married a few years ago in my early 30’s, I told myself that I would raise the kids with my wife. I would never live with my folks or my in-laws. Independence, freedom, free-of-nagging, etc. — "nuclear family" has been the dominant family model in our society for many years. And I have totally bought into that concept. 🙂

Call me crazy, but my thinking on this issues has changed a little bit in the past few years as I’m getting a little bit older, taking on more family responsibilities (becoming a dad of two young kids), and re-thinking about my priorities.

I was chatting with a colleague this morning. His parents had made some un-wise investments in the past couple of years. As a result, they had lost a significant portion of their 401K holding. I had also heard stories about near-retirement folks who lost almost all of their hard-earned retirement funds.

How are they going to live their retirement years? Aren’t they going to need help from their kids? My colleague were wondering if his parents would need to move in with his family.

Conversely, many young families are struggling. Mortgage payment is high, housing price is dropping, both husband and wife must work their tail off to maintain their middle-class life style.

What if we "consolidate the family operations" — instead of living in two separate houses, the grandparent, the couple, and the kids share one house? Just think about the economic of scale. Grandparents can also help take care of the kids.

This model is not new. In fact, this is the dominant family model in most parts of the world.

There are a lot of lonely people in our society. Isn’t it time for us to get closer, to really feel like a community, and to go through this downturn together?

Tags: Beat Recession

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