Sunday, March 23, 2008

Moving In With The Folks - At Age 52?

Well, we all know times are getting more challenging financially - but this is astounding!
After being laid off from her job as an events planner at an upscale resort, Jo Ann Bauer struggled financially. She worked at several lower-paying jobs, relocated to a new city and even declared bankruptcy.

After being laid off, Jo Ann Bauer struggled for four years on her own before moving in with her parents.

Then in December, she finally accepted her parents' invitation to move into their home -- at age 52. "I'm back living in the bedroom that I grew up in," she said.
Bauer was caught by surprise when her job at a resort in Kohler, Wisconsin, was cut four years ago, one year after she got divorced. The single mother bounced around to several lesser-paying jobs, declared bankruptcy and even moved 60 miles south to Milwaukee.

Her daughter, now 12, moved in with Bauer's ex-husband near her hometown.
What is even more amazing is this statistic:
A new survey by the retiree-advocacy group AARP found that one-fourth of Generation Xers, those 28 to 39 years old, receive financial help from family and friends.

The online survey of nearly 1,800 people ages 19 to 39 also found 57 percent believed they were "financially independent." But in a separate question, 33 percent said they received financial support from family and friends.
While it's nice to know parents aren't turning away their kids, it is disturbing to know that a growing number of adults seem to be unable to be self-sufficient. What does that say about us as a society? or about our inflationary economy? about personal responsibility? I don't think it bodes very well for us in general. When a mother opts to go back to live at home with her parents and sends her 12 year old packing and off to live with the ex-spouse I think that is a real shame in many ways. Of course I am not walking in this particular woman's shoes, but for myself after graduating college, the notion of going back to live with my parents has never been an option, and not because they didn't want me to come home.

This type of thing could be a growing problem for our retirees, who are already facing enormous financial strains due to rising costs.

Perhaps life would be easier if we didn't have to shell out so much money in taxes, and insurance and medical expenses. The effects of a disastrous monetary policy and the cost of government has certainly got to be a part of this phenomenon. On the other hand, we have become used to living beyond our means, and not having the patience to acquire the things we want.

The reality of independent living for many is simply becoming more and more challenging. Our ideas about personal responsibility are also becoming less urgent as we overspend and live beyond our means, while racking up debt, and failing to make proper financial adjustments, because we know that either the government or family members will ultimately come to our rescue.


Anonymous said...

If I was 80, I would be very happy to have my kids moving back in. It's not like I am going to live forever, and it's wonderful to be around my kids in my dying days.

Judy Aron said...

Being around your kids because they want to be with you is quite different then having them around because they can't make it on their own.

Multi generational living is as old as the hills and I am not criticizing that at all - what I am saying should be of concern is that many young adults cannot seem to make it out in the world on their own, because living has just become too expensive, or because they cannot seem to rein in their own spendinghabits.

christinemm said...

There is a big difference in voluntary multi-generational living, for one's whole life, than to move back in out of financial necessity.

Frankly I've been thinking the old fashioned model of multi-generational living is more practical and has benefits that are not being realized by families today.

I know some examples of this necessity of moving back in with parents. The stories are about divorce and the father's inability to afford child support payments plus living on one's own with a single income. (Both he and his wife worked.)

Another situation is when due to divorce the person can't afford their standard of living and doesn't want to 'downgrade' to live on their own in a worse place so moves back in with parents to live free while they save their money to live a higher standard of living someday.

I also know of a family who got so deep in credit card debt that they sold their house and moved in with the senior citizen parents (with 3 kids in tow).

Things are changing.

And if things keep up this way in CT with the cost of living I can't see how my kids will be able to support themselves after college. They probably will be boomerang kids.

This is also not just about basic survival but it is sometimes about wanting a certain higher standard of living. When the choice is to live with parents in a nicer place vs. renting in a more crime ridden, noisy cheaper place, people sometimes pick to move back in with the parents.