Money in the Middle

Sandwich Generation Talking About Money Up, Down and Across Generations

Boomer Empty Nest Disappearing

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Moving Back Home

It seems like a lot of things that baby boomers were looking forward to not so many years ago are disappearing.  Just one more sing that the “great recession” has reset our expectation of retirement.

New research from says baby boomer women have moved from adjusting to the “empty nest” to running multi-generational boarding houses.

 According to the Vibrant Nation survey, Boomer women are dealing with a “Full Nest:”

  • 63% have an adult child living with them now (only 41% report ever having returned home to live as adults themselves) and most expect their adult child(ren) to remain with them for more than one year.
  • 27% have grandchildren living under the same roof.
  • 13% have parents or in-laws living with them as well.  

The cause?  No surprise that 70% blame the economy as the reason for this outcome. 

71% report that living in a multi-generational household makes it hard for them to achieve their personal goals.  Increased stress, more financial pressure, laundry, cooking.  Dollars planned to boost retirement accounts get diverted to current expenses. 

The empty nest is just one of the victims of the recession; add second homes and early retirement to that list.  A lot of baby boomers I speak with talk about “changed expectations.”

So, what do you do if your empty nest is filling back up?

1. Set down rules before they move in:  who does what, who pays for what. Don’t make assumptions.

2. Be realistic about the duration; but also mandate “check ins” on job hunting progress.  If it’s a young adult it may be a while before they can get on their feet and out on their own.  Almost 40% of that generation (20-29 year olds) is without jobs.

3. Be realistic about what this means for you.  If the dollars aren’t going into your retirement accounts as you expected, then you’ll have to keep working longer than you planned. Financial plans are meant to be revisited and adjusted.

And finally, be glad you can lend a hand.  The nest will be empty again.


Written by Laura Rossman

March 2, 2010 at 5:14 pm

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