Pharos-Tribune

October 17, 2013

SMART MONEY: Multigenerational household benefits everyone

by Bruce Williams
Syndicated columnist

---- — DEAR BRUCE: I am writing this for my parents. They have three children and eight grandchildren. They are both in their 80s and just sold their home. The profit should be about $130,000.

My son, his wife and two children are selling their home and looking for a home with in-law quarters so my parents can move in with them. I think it's great that they want to do this. My parents were going to give them $100,000 to pay their share. My son is going to clear only about $30,000 from the sale of his home. He was pre-approved for $140,000 for a mortgage. Homes in this area with in-law quarters are about $250,000.

We just don't know if this is the right way to go about this. That $100,000 is about all my parents have besides their pensions and my mom's Social Security ($1,200 a month). If they should pass in a few years, then one grandchild gets to keep that money because it is invested in his home.

My parents could live in an apartment, but we all like the idea of them not being alone. My father has the beginnings of dementia. Do you have any suggestions? — Holly, via email

DEAR HOLLY: I don't see the downside here. Your son and his wife are willing to put their money and mortgage into a home with mother-in-law quarters. This is simply a home that has separate living spaces so your parents can have a degree of privacy, but also the comfort of having someone younger to look in on them, help them with shopping and so forth.

Whether they live a year or two is a matter that God decides. When they both pass away, your son gets to keep the money invested in his home. With someone close and willing to look after them, I think it's a hell of a deal.

Your father with the start of dementia is another problem. Much more care will be required as the dementia takes away some of his abilities. If your son is willing to go into this knowing the dementia is starting, I see no problem. Your parents are very lucky to have him.

DEAR BRUCE: I am curious: What is the highest credit score you can have? I just checked mine and it is 750. — George, via email

DEAR GEORGE: The traditional highest credit score is 850, and 750 is certainly a very good score. If you crack 800, you are golden.