Posted in on August 17, 2015

Mature Marketing Links of the Week – Multigenerational Living (Intentional and otherwise)

I remember graduating from college in 1992. I had a degree from an excellent college, a decent GPA, a pretty strong employment record while an undergraduate, and what seemed like no prospects for a job. Why? It was the early 1990s Recession.

So, what to do? I moved back home to Mom. Then I identified my most marketable aspect (not the degree, no, but my 90-words-a-minute typing skills) and got a job as a temporary secretary until I could afford to move out. A few months of multigenerational living with 60ish Mom and my 80-year-old Nana was more than enough for me.

With that context in mind … This week’s top mature marketing links could be a flashback for readers who are fellow Gen Xers or a present pain point for readers who are Boomers.

1. MOST SHARED: Boomerang kids are staying put with Mom and Dad. Is this the “new normal”? That’s what Next Avenue’s Sue Campbell asked after reading the latest Pew Research.

In a nutshell, more Millennials (born ) are living with their parents than during the Great Recession of 2007-2009. While employment is down and full-time wages have, as Pew says, “modestly rebounded,” fewer young adults are establishing their own households. 26% of Millennials live now with their parents, vs. 22% in 2007. Another healthy chunk of these 18-34 year olds are living with a roommate who is not their spouse or unmarried partner, again at a higher rate than before the downturn.

Chart - more Millennials living with family, not independently - Pew Research

It’s not the crippling college loan debt keeping them home, notes Campbell. Even those with few student loans are not forming their own households. She sees a cultural shift.

Campbell shares examples that show how Millennials recognize the advantages of paying off cars, saving for home purchases, or building up IRAs rather than paying monthly rents. Boomer parents are supportive and welcoming.

“With parents seeing the necessity and young adults seeing the practicality, it seems as though the ‘loser’ stigma of moving home — which photo essayist Damon Casarez deftly captured for the New York Times and spoke with us about last year — is lessening.

In fact, parents and adult kids alike are discovering that it’s pleasant to be under one roof again.”

It seems to me that there are also some generational norms at play here. Like their Boomer parents before them, Millennials are an incredibly social group. The cohort’s sheer size has fostered a collective mindset. They seek out groups for dining, travel, learning … why not housing? And unlike their Boomer parents at that age, most of them want and value close relationships with their parents. More than half of the Millennial generation says they consider a parent their “best friend.”

Who wouldn’t want to live in a comfortable group setting, with a best friend cheering you on as you launch your adult life AND who’s footing part of the bill?


2. MOST CLICKED: Boomerang kids who aren’t flying out of the nest is one type of multigenerational living. However our most-clicked story showed how you can intentionally promote intergenerational community. Hope Meadows in Illinois gives older adults a break on rent if they’ll donate their time supporting the adoptive families in the community.

As Ina Jaffe reported on NPR, this benefits both the seniors, the adoptive parents and the children. “I am so convinced that we have to do so much more to utilize the time and talents of older adults to address these social problems,” says the founder of Hope Meadows, Professor Brenda Krause Eheart.

Listen to the story:


More on the theme of Multigenerational Housing

Pew’s report links this trend to concerns about an economic new normal, more than a cultural shift.

“In terms of the share of young adults running their own households, 40% do so in 2015, down from 42% in 2007.

The decline in the rate at which young adults are forming households from 2007 to 2015 has had a negative impact on the demand for the nation’s housing and, in turn, residential construction. … In other words, young adults have been a key demographic in the nation’s housing bust.” – Pew Research Center

JWT Intelligence focused on this angle for their “Data Point” about Millennials and multigenerational housing. An unintended side-effect of the Great Recession may be the fact that

“people no longer prioritize home ownership as a sign of success … [M]ultigenerational living is a trend that’s likely to have a lasting impact on consumer culture. Brands are tapping into the shift, with Swiffer showing three generations of women struggling to relate and offering dating tips to young singles living with their parents. Expect more ads speaking to the multigenerational home.”

central-parke-multigenerational-advertisingOnce the kids do move on to create their own households, more grandparents also are providing more of the childcare. Creating Results’ Todd Harff addressed the impact of this aspect of multigenerational living on marketing 55+ communities:”One of our clients – Central Parke at Victoria Falls – responded with special activities for grandchildren in recognition of the number of grandchildren who frequented the community. We also responded with advertising that reflected the extended family.”

All the links for you to learn more about multigenerational living —


Now, please help us learn more! Share your thoughts on the impact of multigenerational living on marketing in the comments section below.

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