— At 80 years old, Jack Beiber loves having his family
back under one roof.
two grown daughters help buy groceries and cook meals.
His two granddaughters — ages 15 and 13 — and a
27-year-old grandson are responsible for household
chores such as dishes and taking out the trash. With all
those relatives around, their mom has never had to worry
about babysitters or someone to drive them to school or
generations, plus a Husky-Lab mix named Stitch, live
together in Beiber’s home. That means there is hardly
a dull moment, something that helps fend off loneliness
and much of the depression Beiber has felt since his
wife, Ruth, passed away eight years ago.
wouldn’t know what to do without them if they weren’t
here," Beiber said.
living has become the new normal for many families.
to the Pew Research Center, about 51 million Americans,
or 16.7 percent of the population, live in a house with
at least two adult generations — or a grandparent and
at least one other generation — under one roof. Pew
researchers also reported a 10.5 percent increase in
multigenerational households from 2007 to 2009, which
would have been the height of the Great Recession.
such situations, family members are able to share living
can be a trade off, according to a new study by
Minneapolis-based Allianz Life Insurance Co. The
families may end up living together because of lost jobs
or divorces. Some who arrive are struggling with debt
and can’t contribute a lot toward the household’s
food or utility bills.
it can also bring families closer.
than a third of multigenerational and boomerang family
types — 41 percent and 34 percent respectively —
said they often felt financially-burdened by the number
of family members living in their households. Boomerang
families are defined as those whose children leave the
house, but come back between ages 21 to 35 to live in
their old room as adults, often with children of their
own. Multigenerational families have three or more
generations living in the same household.
both types of families acknowledge the potential
financial issues created by their living arrangements
— most notably having less money available for
retirement savings — they still felt having an extra
adult family member at home was a positive aspect of
their day-to-day life.
families and multigenerational families may not have a
lot of options but to invite that family member back
into the home," said Katie Libbe, vice president of
consumer insights at Allianz Life. "A lot of times
that extra adult will help grandparents with chores or
watch the kids, but they may bring expenses that are
pretty costly. They may bring some debt and may have
boomerang families, a lot of them already had one or two
people retired," Libbe said. "And when an
adult kid comes back to the house, they might bring with
them debt from college, or maybe they have been through
a divorce and have other issues."
families were a common way of life during the Great
Depression. The lifestyle was a key feature in a 1970s
television series following the lives of the Walton
family, which had three generations living together in
the Virginia mountains during the Depression.
World War II — once people began to rebound
economically with the help of Social Security and
Medicare — older adults were in a better position to
live on their own. But following the Great Recession of
2008, the pendulum has begun to swing in the other
just really underscores the fact that families are
closer than ever," Libbe said. "Boomer parents
want to help their kids and multigenerational families
want to help their parents. But both groups need to not
lose sight of a plan (to secure their financial
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lives on a pension earned through his work as a parking
lot attendant for 30 years. On the side, he creates
acrylic statues and refrigerator magnets to help pay the
bills. Although both his daughters work, he says money
often is tight.
oldest daughter, Anne Beiber, 54, moved back home in
1984. A relationship fell apart and she struggled to
make ends meet as a single mom working as a server in a
restaurant. She now works in retail. She has two
daughters and a son, Mark, 27, who also live in the
daughter, Ellen Beiber, 48, has never moved out. She
works as a branch manager for First Commonwealth Bank.
six of them share the six-bedroom house with 2.5 baths.
of the household bills have gone up, including the gas
bill and electric bill — partly because of so many
people using utilities and partly because the cost of
everything has gone up. Property taxes for the home
Beiber and his wife bought in 1966 were $315 a year 48
years ago. Now he pays more than $2,000.
probably wouldn’t keep the house if I didn’t have my
family here," he said. "I would venture to say
without my family the past eight years I’d probably be
with my wife."