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Old 06-19-2010, 12:37 AM
 
Location: A Yankee in northeast TN
12,006 posts, read 15,626,917 times
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Lordy Malamute
I agree with a lot of things you say but you take this idea to extremes.

By multi generational living I had in mind families that take in an elderly relative, a nana or poppa, or perhaps a middle aged auntie who's lost her spouse. Maybe a young couple moving in temporarily with a parent if they are struggling through school or saving for a down payment on a house, something of that nature. Not houses full of multiple aunts and uncles and dozens of cousins all under one roof!

By being economically advantageous I didn't mean families should run their home like some sort of boarding house squeezing in as many people as possible to pay for it. For instance I think it's crazy for an older, single relative to struggle to maintain a separate residence when it makes so much more sense for them to move in with family and help with things like cooking or childcare, in return for a home and companionship.
I don't see the point in a young couple struggling to pay bills and go to college and keep up with rent, just for the sake of saying they're independent.

I truly do think there is a sense of isolation for a lot of people in this country, especially older people. I also think that todays kids have so many problems because families often aren't around each other enough, younger generations don't learn about child rearing from older generations.
I don't see the shame in families helping each other out and living under the same roof when it makes sense.
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Old 06-19-2010, 08:20 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DubbleT View Post
Lordy Malamute
I agree with a lot of things you say but you take this idea to extremes.

By multi generational living I had in mind families that take in an elderly relative, a nana or poppa, or perhaps a middle aged auntie who's lost her spouse. Maybe a young couple moving in temporarily with a parent if they are struggling through school or saving for a down payment on a house, something of that nature. Not houses full of multiple aunts and uncles and dozens of cousins all under one roof!

By being economically advantageous I didn't mean families should run their home like some sort of boarding house squeezing in as many people as possible to pay for it. For instance I think it's crazy for an older, single relative to struggle to maintain a separate residence when it makes so much more sense for them to move in with family and help with things like cooking or childcare, in return for a home and companionship.
I don't see the point in a young couple struggling to pay bills and go to college and keep up with rent, just for the sake of saying they're independent.

I truly do think there is a sense of isolation for a lot of people in this country, especially older people. I also think that todays kids have so many problems because families often aren't around each other enough, younger generations don't learn about child rearing from older generations.
I don't see the shame in families helping each other out and living under the same roof when it makes sense.
What you're saying is fine and very common. A lot of people take in a widowed mother or move in on a temporary basis with parents. Or the kids chip in and all help support an elderly parent and don't leave it all just to one. A lot of kids live with their parents until age 24, 25. The American nuclear family doesn't rule any of that out, it never has.

However one of the cultural aspects to our economy was the need for a decent middle class wage that could support the nuclear family. As wages fall and unemployment rises, there will be a return to the extended family living in one house, often one small house and 4 or 5 families under one roof.

How people live can be determined by the economy, and the economy can also be determined how people expect to live. Once everyone accepts the idea that the adult children can never earn enough to go out on their own, then we're right where the third world countries are. Wages then can go to rock bottom because having many families living under one roof makes it all possible.

I've seen these homes up close. Often there is a three bedroom home, with a separate nuclear family in each bedroom. There is a small kitchen and small living room shared by all. There can be 4 or 5 wage earners, each contributing a small amount to the household expenses and the unemployed or part time employed family members are provided for. It works because the house is paid off, all they have to do is come up with utilities, taxes and the shared expenses so very little income is required. It definitely helps us as a society accept lowering of wages and fewer jobs.
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Old 06-19-2010, 09:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malamute View Post
It definitely helps us as a society accept lowering of wages and fewer jobs.
Well, one little detail to remember is that at the end of the 20th century there were three times more people on this Earth as there were in the beginning of the 20th century. All these "3 X more" people were posing overall, a much higher demand for energy and natural resources (including land) per capita, than the "3 X fewer" people were doing 100+ years ago.

In the west, these past 100 years produced the so-called "hommo colossus", voracious eater of resources (see William Catton, depressingly intelligent author, scientist and everything in between).

So go figure. Something will have to give. And yes, it's coming.
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Old 06-20-2010, 01:39 AM
 
6,048 posts, read 13,571,159 times
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The sad truth is that it really does depend on the situation and the individuals involved. Ideally families would stick together and care for each other. But the reality is that so many families now are so full of dysfunction, people are becoming more selfish and insular, and there's a growing self entitlement issue in our society as well which is also hurting our families.

So that's my answer to the OP - it depends on the family. If it's a close-knit functional sort of family then I think it's expected that the younger generations care for the older as they grow. But if the family is dysfunctional or broken in any way things get very uncertain. There's lots of cloudy areas.
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Old 06-20-2010, 09:35 AM
 
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Originally Posted by haggardhouseelf View Post
The sad truth is that it really does depend on the situation and the individuals involved. Ideally families would stick together and care for each other. But the reality is that so many families now are so full of dysfunction, people are becoming more selfish and insular, and there's a growing self entitlement issue in our society as well which is also hurting our families.

So that's my answer to the OP - it depends on the family. If it's a close-knit functional sort of family then I think it's expected that the younger generations care for the older as they grow. But if the family is dysfunctional or broken in any way things get very uncertain. There's lots of cloudy areas.
It's not really that dysfunctional for people to be able to care for themselves.

Parents who provide for their retirement years themselves are not dysfunctional, nor are adult children who are able to support themselves and don't have children until they can afford them.

I know there is a trend to having children out of marriage and remaining in the mother's home and expecting grandmother to provide free babysitting services and financial support and often grown men choose to live with their mothers well into adulthood and can't make it on their own.

If I had children without the expectation that they must support me and take care of me, does that make me dysfunctional? I never saw my grandfather as dysfunctional, he loved to work and didn't retire until he was in his 80's and no one ever had to support him.

It's a very good thing when families do take care of their own - but the problem I have is when "their own" automatically assume that family members must be there to provide free babysitting services, free housing, food, "loans" that are never repaid and all that. I don't think family is for taking advantage of and that happens too commonly.
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Old 06-20-2010, 10:04 AM
 
Location: In a house
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My parents taught me that the best way to honor your parents when they get old, is to live well. That was the only thing they felt I -owe- them. I owe them me, living well. I don't live quite as well as I'd love to live (a second bathroom, a bigger bedroom, and central air conditioning would be a nice start). But they're not old enough that they won't see me hit powerball.

And when I do, the first thing I will do, is order an expansion on the house. The second thing I'll do, is give them a couple million so they can charter a Lear jet, fly to Italy, and order themselves up a cup of fresh gelato
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Old 06-20-2010, 10:50 AM
 
48,509 posts, read 86,928,790 times
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I thnik it depends on the realtionship really. I never had my parents actually want finaancial help or ask for it. But I have decided on my own to say buy a refigerator because I was aware of money being tight at times. When inviting them out I alwqasy bought the meal ebcause I knew it might make things tight for them and always wanted them to have beyond the necessities. I have seen adult children who actually IMO take advantage of their parents ;so i guess there are parents who do the same with adult children.I just never really experienced it myself in eiother my wifes or my family.We just have alwqasy looked out for our parents just like they did us and they never have to ask really.Bascailly they wouldn't know them as i do.
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Old 06-20-2010, 03:09 PM
 
47,531 posts, read 62,722,578 times
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Originally Posted by texdav View Post
I thnik it depends on the realtionship really. I never had my parents actually want finaancial help or ask for it. But I have decided on my own to say buy a refigerator because I was aware of money being tight at times. When inviting them out I alwqasy bought the meal ebcause I knew it might make things tight for them and always wanted them to have beyond the necessities. I have seen adult children who actually IMO take advantage of their parents ;so i guess there are parents who do the same with adult children.I just never really experienced it myself in eiother my wifes or my family.We just have alwqasy looked out for our parents just like they did us and they never have to ask really.Bascailly they wouldn't know them as i do.
Yes - the only thing I want my children to give me is that satisfaction that I did my job right and they can make it on their own. They owe me nothing more than that. I didn't have them because I wanted someone owing me.

If they get self-sufficient by the right age then I will go on working and not think that I can then quit working and live off them.

To me it's a two way street - I don't want to mooch off my kids but once they're adults, I don't want them mooching off me. I believe I owe them their independence when they reach adulthood - and then they owe me mine.
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Old 06-22-2010, 09:32 AM
 
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My parents made the trade of shortchanging their children (not depriving, but shortchanging) for their own personal financial gain. While they offered a great upbringing, some of the most important things they could have done to help their kids, they did not do, and instead informed us that "the reason we are not extending help for college/downpayment/etc is so that you kids won't have to support us in our old age." They funneled their incomes towards their retirements instead of towards their kids getting a leg-up, in terms of coming out of school with no loans or buying a house prior to the housing boom of the last decade.

That is fine and was their decision. They did lots of great things for us otherwise, and were very loving, caring parents. But, their explicit statement that "we are not helping you so that we will not burden you when we are older" seals the deal for me. I respect their decision. I had to wait 10+ years to start my family due to the heaps of student loans I had to pay and the down payment I had to save up for. In many ways, it builds character. I'm grateful that I got to where I am without the handouts that many others of my generation received.

But if push comes to shove, I'm also a compassionate person. If my parents' master financial plan was a complete failure and they will wind up running out of savings, I would probably take them in. Unfortunately, with my big mouth, I will wind up saying some snide remark to them, hurt their feelings, and wind up feeling guilty about it. /shrug
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Old 06-22-2010, 11:14 AM
 
Location: Nova
486 posts, read 1,532,102 times
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This posting really speaks to me during my current situation. My mother is long divorced from my father and just split with her boyfriend of 13 years. She has not held a job in 30 years and suffers from sever depression, is bipolar and goes on suicide rages that I've intervened on. She can not budget money and insists on living a life that she used to have financially but does not anymore.

Now that she and her bf are breaking up, she has nothing and is at risk of losing her residence. She was expecting that she could just move in with me and my family. However, she has terms for the living arrangement (I have to finish my basement so she can have the entire area as an apt, will not just take a room, etc...). She can't afford to own a car, medical insurance, food, etc...

I know she and my dad worked hard to raise both my sister and I. They paid for our undergrad and supported us great financially while growing up. But after carefull discussion with my DH, we can't allow her to live with us. I feel horrible, but know that her manic behavior and way she lives her life will break up my marriage, cause a lot of stress on my children and milk my money dry.

We are now trying to get her some public assistance housing and set up her up with proper mental health coverage. I feel like I can try to help her as best I can on her practical and mental issues, but I can't let her live with me. She feels really rejected by this. I am not wealthy by any means and can't afford to support her and my family financially long-term. I do send her money when she is in absolute dire straights, but it feels like a band-aid.
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