How To Get the Most Out of Living in a Multigenerational Home

Multicultural family BELatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of mamaslatinas.com

Living in a multigenerational home is a privilege and, at the same time, a communication challenge. Often, the elders tend to be anchored in their perceptions, while the younger generations seek precisely to break with old ideas.

In one way or another, multicultural and multigenerational households abound in irritations and stubbornness. However, there are also many advantages and lessons to be learned in this type of family.

Especially in our community, where they have been a frequent scenario, even before the pandemic.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, “the number of adults ages 18 and older living in shared households increased in 2019 to 81.2 million, representing about a third (32.2%) of all adults ages 18 and older.” And the economic situation is not easy at all.

While there are side-eyes to this, I repeat: it’s not all inconveniences. There are a variety of personal, educational, and financial advantages that come with living with family roommates, whether those roommates end up being your parents or siblings. Furthermore, there’s a shift from living “under their roof” to everyone sharing expenses and coexisting as individuals. It’s about understanding the shift and embracing what could be derived from it. 

Here are ways to use living in a multigenerational household to your advantage, because ultimately, we have to keep a positive outlook en todo.

Learn how to manage your money towards financial freedom

During this downtime, when you’re living with your multigenerational family, there are savings and paying off that you should do. After all, you’re spending less money than you would if you lived alone — why not use it intentionally?  This is the time to create your unique path to financial freedom. The first way to do this is to minimize your spending and debt. First, write down your monthly bills. The key here is to understand that this is non-negotiable spending that you’re routinely investing in to keep your living well — livable. Check into your monthly subscriptions: are you making use of them or just paying a random bill because you don’t know how to cancel it? Choose these wisely, as this is the number you can’t move around because you want an extra social coffee date. Next, write down a list of what you spend exactly on a week-to-week basis, including all of your extra-curricular habits, and be upfront about them. The point here is to create a non-negotiable and negotiable spending budget to figure out a realistic saving number for each month towards your annual goal. 

Teach your elders about generational wealth

It is common that our immigrant Latinx parents and grandparents, more likely than not, lived in a day-to-day mindset. Maybe because they simply didn’t have the resources we now, fortunately, have due to our elders’ sacrifices. One way to give back and be thankful for all they’ve given us is the possibility that we have now to expand both our knowledge and their generational wealth. Sure, we didn’t grow up with the same advantages as others may have been given, but that can change as soon as we are open to it.

So, what is generational wealth? It comes in different aspects: from stocks and investments, college funds to what we commonly see in our parent’s hometowns: property. Of course, there’s a huge monetary difference between property in Latin America and the United States. Still, if we already live together, we could share and pay our mortgage instead of paying off the landlord’s mortgage. Another aspect we can potentially and actively work on is teaching our elders and ourselves about stock and investments. They may sound complicated and off-putting, but for those who are curious, you can start by researching about it—Poco a poco

Use spreadsheets for the family 

Technology has given us such useful tools and applications, even when our elders complain about the (minor) inconveniences of learning how to use them.  Using spreadsheets will keep your household organized in all aspects of what happens in your beloved sanctuary. How much we spend; how much we need to save, what needs to be fixed, what chores need to be done, and by who, who needs to do what and when to do it — everything can be organized this way to keep the family in harmony. It is so easy to get lost with everyone’s schedule, and that’s the thing – when you live with your multigenerational family at an adult stage, it is encouraged not to assume they are available and willing to do everything you need them to do like they would in the past growing up. Everyone has a different lifestyle, and their time should be respected as such — we are adults now. Spreadsheets can help organize what each family member needs to do to keep the household afloat, with the courtesy of respecting their own terms. 

Lastly, take advantage of generational recipes and remedies

Family time and knowledge are immensely valuable. Have you noticed that your grandma doesn’t have to use Google or Youtube to know how to do the complicated dishes you love?  Our elders can teach us so much about the kitchen and survival. They’re all guerrerxs. They didn’t rely on the Internet to help them out, and we can all learn from that. What are common recipes and remedies we should learn from them? What’s the secret ingredient to make sure we always have on our cabinets? These generational commonalities aren’t always common sense to us as we are so tied to technology. And that’s okay – but during the time living with your family, you can learn from their way of growing up. Whether it’s through holistic remedies to the family’s favorite dinner, all that knowledge becomes priceless and a way to pay tribute to your elders for years to come.

Those conversations with your parents or grandparents are what will remain in your mind and heart forever — take advantage of their availability.