Mississippi Money: Multigenerational Care
It will come as no surprise to readers of this magazine that childcare costs have been increasing faster than almost everything else except education. Recent research from the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, otherwise known as Freddie Mac, goes further to say that the cost of childcare is making home ownership less affordable to young families.
Parents want to provide their children with a stable household. The location of our home is key for accessing good schools, health care, fresh food and other opportunities. If the cost of childcare is preventing people from accessing the housing that they want and need, there is a real stumbling block to starting and growing a healthy family.
A common solution to the cost of childcare is to have one of the parents stay at home to raise the children. About one in every five parents is a stay-at-home parent (and it isn’t just moms – the percentage of dads staying at home is increasing rapidly as the percentage of moms doing so declines). With a high cost to professional care, it often makes sense for a family to forgo a lower salary in order to save on childcare.
Not every family wants or can afford to lose one salary. A common approach in this case is to rely on family connections. A grandparent nearby means significant savings on childcare while still allowing both parents to work.
Not every family can have a grandparent around the corner, and not every grandparent can live close to all of their grandchildren. Multigenerational housing is on the rise, and money is a big driving factor. Having an additional living space within a home (or on the same property) is cheaper than an entire house for them. Additionally, it allows for grandparents with children in different locations to spend extended amounts of time without needing to establish a permanent house.
If you are considering building additional space for a stay at home grandparents, consider their age as well. As they are caring for your children now, you may be caring for them later. Making sure the space remains accessible as they age is important.
Life costs money. Raising children costs money. In order to get the best of everything, we may have to think creatively or compromise on large, rising costs, like housing and childcare.