Retirees and others are digesting prolonged economic hardships, and like “Old Love,” it can be hard to spot. Two recent reports from Merrill Lynch pin down what many retirees experience in their own families.
Last week Mr. Donald Keene asked about a couple who can’t afford good institutional care but doesn’t want to force either one into the role of caretaker for a long terminal illness. What are the options for a peaceful end of life experience for both?
A transformation is occurring in American life—middle-class Americans are taking more active responsibility for their financial futures. The change is good and probably profound, yet it appears induced by worry over a weak economy.
The future looks a little less than bright for members of the younger generations. Research shows that the majority of Americans believe it is unlikely members of Generations X and Y will have a better life than their parents. At the same time, some members of these generations seem disillusioned with the current state of affairs and express pessimism that they will have a traditional retirement. Adding insult to injury are several popular myths that tend to blame these falling standard on the members of Generations X and Y.
As multigenerational families grow, more people are dealing with the difficult task of incorporating a new member into an existing household. There are important generic differences between needy parents joining families of their children, and young adults returning home. Also, each case will have a unique family history. Still, it seems possible to build a framework that will help families chart successful futures.
Here are three elements of such a framework:
Multigenerational households are growing in the United States, according to a 2010 study by the Pew Foundation. Such households were common in the early twentieth century, then they declined, reaching a relative low point around 1980. They have been rising since then, showing a distinct uptick with the recent recession. In a culture that emphasizes independence, multigenerational households generally expand out of necessity, providing further evidence that times are tough. These trends will affect the retirements of millions of Americans.