Main­tain­ing A Happy Multi­gen­er­a­tional Home

Escalon Times - - PERSPECTIVE - By BILL SPANIEL Cal­i­for­nia So­ci­ety Of CPAs

Re­mem­ber when par­ents, chil­dren and grand­chil­dren all lived to­gether in one home? Well, that trend has def­i­nitely re­turned. Al­most 61 mil­lion Amer­i­cans – or 19 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion – live in homes that in­clude two or more adult gen­er­a­tions, or one that in­cludes grand­par­ents and grand­chil­dren, ac­cord­ing to Pew Re­search. That’s nearly the same rate it was in 1950, and up from a low of 12 per­cent in 1980.

A multi­gen­er­a­tional home can be joy­ous and fun for the fam­ily, but it can also pose some chal­lenges. The Cal­i­for­nia So­ci­ety of CPAs ( of­fers ad­vice on the best ways to make it work.

Es­tab­lish Ex­pec­ta­tions

To min­i­mize mis­un­der­stand­ings and hard feel­ings, it’s im­por­tant to de­ter­mine ex­pec­ta­tions and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. Who is go­ing to do the house­hold chores? Will re­spon­si­bil­ity for meals and shop­ping be shared? It may make sense to as­sign re­spon­si­bil­i­ties or ask fam­ily mem­bers to vol­un­teer for the tasks they pre­fer.

If there are more peo­ple than cars, how will ve­hi­cle use be de­ter­mined? Which sec­tions of the house will be open to all and which ones are pri­vate? Who gets con­trol of the re­mote? Should adult chil­dren let their par­ents know if they’re go­ing to be away for the night? Are there rules for bring­ing home vis­i­tors or en­ter­tain­ing friends?

Start dis­cussing ques­tions like these and brain­storm oth­ers that ap­ply to your own sit­u­a­tion to en­sure that mis­un­der­stand­ings don’t dis­rupt your happy house­hold.

Fig­ure Out Fi­nances

Who will pay for what is an­other crit­i­cal is­sue for dis­cus­sion. If an aging par­ent or adult child moves in, will he or she be ex­pected to con­trib­ute to rent or mort­gage, gro­ceries or other house­hold costs?

If they can’t af­ford to pay, are there other ways they can con­trib­ute, such as help­ing out with home main­te­nance or child care?

Once you’ve hashed out these is­sues, put your de­ci­sions in writ­ing so there are no mis­un­der­stand­ings.

Bring Sib­lings into the Con­ver­sa­tion

When one sib­ling moves an aging par­ent into his or her home, it makes sense to de­ter­mine what kinds of re­spon­si­bil­i­ties the other sib­lings will have, in­clud­ing pay­ing for a por­tion of the par­ent’s liv­ing or med­i­cal ex­penses.

If the par­ent needs a great deal of care, fam­i­lies should also dis­cuss whether sib­lings will help care for the par­ent on week­ends or other times to give the pri­mary care­giver a break and whether they will be on call to take the par­ent to doc­tor or other ap­point­ments.

Spread­ing out re­spon­si­bil­i­ties can pre­vent dis­agree­ments and help keep the main care­giver from feel­ing over­bur­dened.

An­tic­i­pate Ren­o­va­tions

It may be nec­es­sary to bud­get for ren­o­va­tions to ac­com­mo­date the needs of aging par­ents. You might have to add a bed­room to the first floor if stairs will be a chal­lenge, or to widen door­ways for a walker or wheel­chair. Bath­rooms may need to be up­dated, too, to al­low for ac­ces­si­ble show­ers, sinks, and toi­lets.

And whether the new res­i­dent is an older par­ent or an adult child, some kind of ad­di­tion or ren­o­va­tion may be nec­es­sary.

Don’t Ne­glect Your Own Needs

As you bring fam­ily mem­bers to­gether un­der one roof, re­mem­ber to keep do­ing what’s best for your own fi­nan­cial fu­ture. That in­cludes mak­ing reg­u­lar con­tri­bu­tions to your re­tire­ment plan, man­ag­ing your debt wisely and con­tin­u­ing to save for other short­and long-term goals.

Your time to­gether will be more en­joy­able if you feel se­cure about your own fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion.

Con­sult Your CPA

Plan­ning ahead and talk­ing through changes in cir­cum­stances are two of the best ways to suc­ceed with and truly en­joy multi­gen­er­a­tional liv­ing. If you have ques­tions about any is­sues fac­ing your fam­ily, be sure to con­tact your lo­cal CPA for in­for­ma­tive, cus­tom­ized ad­vice. For more in­for­ma­tion on how to man­age your per­sonal fi­nances, visit 360fin­lit. org.

The Money Man­age­ment col­umns are a joint ef­fort of the AICPA and the Cal­i­for­nia So­ci­ety of CPAs as part of the pro­fes­sion’s na­tion­wide 360 De­grees of Fi­nan­cial Lit­er­acy pro­gram.

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