In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, a remarkable shift in our daily routines unfolded. It wasn't the brainchild of Elon Musk's experimental Hyperloop venture; rather, it was the widespread adoption of remote work through platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams that became essential during a time when in-person meetings were restricted.
This technology allowed workers to attend meetings digitally, eliminating the need for extensive commuting. Initially, many city-dwelling Millennials residing in crowded urban spaces like New York, Chicago, and San Francisco returned to their parents' homes. Over time, corporate policies evolved, permitting employees to work remotely full-time.
This new work arrangement not only redefined how we conduct business but also had a profound impact on our living arrangements. Families, once scattered due to urbanization driven by the Industrial Revolution starting in the 1820s, found themselves able to reunite under one roof. The trend of migrating from rural areas to urban centers, which had persisted for centuries, was now reversing course, ushering in an era where multi-generational living once again became a cherished and viable option.
The birth of the nuclear family, which became the standard during the Industrial Revolution, is now being reconsidered as a healthy approach to aging into your "golden years." The issue of social isolation and loneliness, particularly experienced by seniors during the COVID lockdown, has recently been addressed by the U.S. Surgeon General as an "epidemic of loneliness. “Studies have shown that maintaining more connectivity and social connections can slow down cognitive decline and other health-related issues.
When extended families come together to live in a family compound, ranch, cottage, estate, or any setup indicating multi-generational living, there is significantly enhanced support, communication, and connectivity.
Zoom and Microsoft Teams have enabled younger generations to reconnect with and live alongside their parents and grandparents within the United States. Finances are being restructured to support these family communities. In some cases, families are establishing homeowners associations (HOAs) where multiple families have separate homes in close proximity to other related family members on the same family compound property.
We interviewed one family that has hired a nurse on call for several siblings in their 60s and 70s. They have set up a central 'lodge' on their family compound property for meetings, exercise, and private healthcare.
Governance agreements are established to outline how individual families will coexist on the property, including the possibility of selling their homes or allowing others to invest in the property. In some cases, families adopt a financial arrangement where a senior-generation member typically provides the majority of the financial support for property operations and purchases.
Multi-generational living, like any living arrangement, has its advantages and challenges. With a foundation built on effective communication, conflict resolution, shared vision, and governance, families can come together to recreate a lifestyle reminiscent of generations past, similar to that of two centuries ago. This experience allows them to rediscover and embrace the institutional knowledge and wisdom of this unique way of life.
Of course, those living on a family farm canrelate all too well to these dynamics. They've been living this way since theirancestors carved out a livelihood from the land after receiving deeds from theDepartment of the Interior in the 1800s. It's just another day on the farm.
The technological changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution initiated a shift towards the 'new normal' characterized by the formation of nuclear families. Interestingly, it seems that the technological changes driven by live streaming video may be reversing this trend, at least within a segment of our society.
In closing, as a wealth advisor and coach specializing in multi-generational living, I bring first-hand experience to help families navigate these changes and ensure their financial well-being. Beyond finances, these family compounds symbolize the enduring strength of family bonds, blending the wisdom of the past with the opportunities of the digital age. Cheers to embracing the past and future under one roof.
All information is from sources deemed reliable, but no warranty is made to its accuracy or completeness. This material is being provided for informational or educational purposes only, and does not take into account the investment objectives or financial situation of any client or prospective client. The information is not intended as investment advice, and is not a recommendation to buy, sell, or invest in any particular investment or market segment. Those seeking information regarding their particular investment needs should contact a financial professional. Coyle, our employees, or our clients, may or may not be invested in any individual securities or market segments discussed in this material. The opinions expressed were current as of the date of posting but are subject to change without notice due to market, political, or economic conditions. All investments involve risk, including loss of principal. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.
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