Happy New Year
Homebuilders put a target on X’ers
You know that “lul” that comes during the holidays just after Christmas before you go back to work? You’re “spent” in every form of the word and if you have kids that are still in school, it’s even more frustrating. Tempers are short and cabin fever starts setting in. Your “inside voice” is saying, “GET ME OUT OF HERE!…NOW!”
Well, as that phase hit our household a couple of weeks ago, we decided to get out and just drive around. There are quite a few homes being built around us and we thought it would be fun to walk through some of the models and check out the new styles. When we pulled up to the model home park, I was surprised to see that we were not the only family wanting to get out; not by a long shot. There were people everywhere.
We’re a family of four, Dad and Mom in their 40’s with one kid in high school and the other in elementary. Getting out of the Jeep, I felt like I was in a Twilight Zone episode. Almost everyone was some version of us. The ages were similar, family size the same, all kids walking around with some type of attitude because their parents made them get off their “precious” electronics. The only outlier that I noticed was there were some grandparents in the mix but, for the most part it was a plethora of Xer’s and their broods.
As we all walked into the various homes, I noticed a trend that is taking place. The home builders are paying attention to us, generationally speaking. I usually refer to us as the “sandwich generation” because we are in the middle of taking care of our kids and if not already, at some point our parents as well. These homebuilders get it and they have us in their sights.
The two things that jumped out are that there are now “2 Master Bedrooms” on at least half of the homes available and the dining room has been removed. The kitchen area is larger with an expanded area for the breakfast table while deleting the formal dining room altogether. I asked some of the reps why they were making those changes and the answers all came back the same:
I’ve got a handful of clients that have their parents living with them. Mind you, this is not the type of situation that we’ve heard endless stories about Millennials living with their parents. It is quite the opposite. For a variety of reasons, the parents move in with their children and grandchildren.
This is exactly the kind of situation we, as a generation, are starting to face and it will continue to grow each year. There is not one full proof way to plan for moments like this. You must leave a good amount of slack in the rope, so to speak, in order to allow for events that you have no control over. For some of us, moving a parent or parents into a larger home with us can be very beneficial. For others, it can be just the opposite.
We are all different and require unique solutions to our specific situations. That’s why when I council my clients on ways to take a more active role in helping their parents with the finances, its always a custom fit. I don’t know very many parents who feel 100% comfortable sharing everything about themselves “financially speaking” with their children. It doesn’t matter the age, it’s a touchy subject for everyone involved. It must be looked at with both objectivity and sensitivity when making decisions about the welfare of everyone involved.
I just wanted to draw attention to an industry that is paying attention to Generation X. The heavy lifting is on us now and will be for the foreseeable future. Companies that realize this can take great advantage of our situation and be very profitable by giving us some real solutions to problems we cannot ignore. By adapting a new home plan to allow our parents to live with us but, not “on top of us” is accepting the reality that not everyone is financially or physically capable of making it on their own. Sometimes, pooling each other’s strengths for some common goals can pay off for everyone.
It was great to start the year off seeing some focus being put on us. I’m always ranting about how we’re off the radar when it comes to companies and industries competing for our business but, this is exactly what can happen when a decision maker pays attention to an unserved market. Way to go homebuilders!
As we drove off and headed back to our own home, I asked the kids what they thought of the models? They both said they wanted the second master bedroom for themselves, if we move. Gotta love it! We really are stuck in the middle, aren’t we?
Happy New Year X’ers