Empty Nest? Not For Many Baby Boomers

By: Jody Smith

Our kids have always had a way of changing our plans, even the best-laid ones. This talent starts before they are born, really, and it has been a common experience through every generation that this ability to tip the apple cart can extend through the school years. When our kids are students of higher education, it hasn't been unusual for this to have a direct and substantial effect on the parents. But we're seeing new wrinkles to the old paradigm.

Baby Boomers have been pioneers and trail-blazers a few times in their lives. Many are finding themselves pioneers once again, in a new arrangement with older kids, whether voluntarily or not. And while the new arrangement can be a joy or a drag, depending on the dynamics of family relationships, one thing it will assuredly be for some Boomers, is a roadblock to downsizing.

Not everybody wants to downsize as they get older, of course. Many people choose to keep the large, family home. Some may even opt for something bigger. They like it, they can afford it, they use it to entice the kids to come home to visit. And if there are grandchildren in the picture, this is a bonus.

But things are very different for the parents who have found themselves faced with a perceived need to keep a house that's bigger than they now need, so that they can offer housing to their thirty-year-old children. Any plan to make use of downsizing, to decrease debts and increase savings, are once more put on hold for the sake of the kids.

An article on Babyboomernews.net said that according to the New York Times fewer households are starting up in the United States than there were in 2007. Fewer young people are getting married. More young people are going back home -- or never left -- after college. The Times reported that 26 percent of people between ages 25 and 24 didn't have jobs. Many of those will be living with their parents, possibly back in school and then again possibly not. And many who did have jobs were living with their parents because it cost less money to do so. This may be easing financial pressures for the young people but it also tends to add financial pressure to the seniors, whether the parents are happy to have their children at home or whether they are not.

One consequence of this shift is yet another reason for many seniors to delay retirement by possibly a decade or two. We are living longer than past generations, and hopefully this will also mean that there are more healthy productive working years for seniors whose children have once again rearranged their parents' best-laid plans.

Jody Smith is a freelance writer for EmpowHER.com.

Sources:

Boomers' plans to downsize stymied by Boomerang kids

http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/10/12/boomers-plans-to-downsize-stymied-by-boomerang-kids

What Do You Think about Retiring at 80 vs 65?

http://babyboomernews.net/what-do-you-think-about-retiring-at-80-vs-65

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