Who needs marriage? It seems to be, the pervasive trend among baby boomers is choosing to live together instead of saying the "I Dos."
It's only fitting that baby boomers are leading the way when it comes to shacking up among older Americans. It's fitting because the group born between 1946 and 1964 are the first generation to cohabitate -- as the researchers like to call it -- in large numbers.
Cohabitation, once thought to be the lifestyle of younger people aged 20-40ish, has now grown into a very real option for those 50 years and older after they divorce. Cohabitating is now viewed by many as the best long-term alternative to marriage for older Americans.
With divorces for those 50 and older doubling since 1990 and making up 25 percent of all US divorces, up from 8 percent two decades ago -- many older Americans aren't choosing to tough out the rest of their days alone. But that doesn't mean they want to get married, either.
Cohabitation has grown from 1.2 million people ages 50 and older in 2000 to 3.3 million in 2013 and rising, according to Susan Brown, co-director of the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University. Brown co-authored a study on cohabitation with Jennifer Roebuck Bulanda, a sociology professor at Miami University, Ohio and Gary R. Lee, a sociology professor at Bowling Green.
"Cohabitation is gaining ground as a family form across the life course," the researchers say.
The study says most researchers have focused their attention on young and middle-age adults and ignored older Americans. Most of the study done on them is on marriage or widowhood, but not on cohabitation.
With baby boomers aging, this trend is only going to grow because this was the first group to cohabit in large numbers in the first place, the study says. In essence, many are returning to their roots of what they did before they got married in the first place. The study states "cohabitation will be increasingly common among older Americans."
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If you’re retired and have time during the day, just take a look around. Your neighborhood may be the perfect place to earn some extra cash. Depending upon your community demographics, offering babysitting, dog walking, pet sitting or even errand-running services could not only bring in some extra income but also help you get to know your neighbors. If you live in an area that doesn’t have a need for those services, companies like Care.com – an online caregiving destination with more than 8 million members – can help you find part-time gigs for all of the above and more. All you need to do is fill out a profile online, and you’ll be able to send and receive messages to families who are looking for care.
If you have an extra bedroom or area in or outside your home – think room over the garage or carriage house – well suited for housing guests, renting out your home may also be a consideration, particularly if you live in a travel destination. Sites like AirBnB or HomeAway have become a part of the traveling zeitgeist and one-stop shopping for vacationers. All you have to do is set up an account and post photos as well as descriptions about the space and your area. You manage the bookings from start to finish, determine the lengths of stay and can even decide not to rent to someone if you don’t want to.
Do you dread cleaning your closet or hold on to things you never wear? Well, you may think twice once those forgotten frocks turn into dollar signs. Selling gently used clothes and accessories at consignment shops, like Plato’s Closet, is an easy way to quickly make some extra money. If it’s more than just clothes you’re willing to part with, Craigslist and eBay are still fairly simple ways to make a quick sale. Sellers beware, though. Depending what you’re hocking, the competition can be fierce. The keys to successfully selling your wares are often specific to what you’re selling. However, there are a few general pointers you should keep in mind: - Post pictures of the item - Write a detailed description of what you’re selling - Set a fair, competitive price - Be courteous and respond to potential buyers quickly and kindly
If you own a vehicle, selling ad space on the exterior – provided it’s well maintained – can net anywhere from $100 to $400 a month. Sure, you might get a few stares out on the open road, but the extra money in your pocket might make any lingering embarrassment disappear. Companies like Adz In Motion and AdverCar will give you price quotes based on the make, model and year of your car. If you own a vehicle but don’t use it that much, you can earn up to $1,000 a month by renting it out. RelayRides accepts passenger cars registered in the United States (except New York) that are model year 1990 or newer and have a fair market value of up to $50,000. What’s more, owners list their car on the site, set availability, pick a rental price and screen drivers. They also receive $1,000,000 in liability insurance coverage and 24-hour roadside assistance. Just remember to read the fine print and talk to an insurance agent about coverage before signing up.
Your favorite hobbies – like gardening, crafting, antiquing or even giving furniture a fresh coat of paint – can lead to extra income. People don’t always have time to pull weeds or plant flowers, so if you’re someone who enjoys putting his or her hands in the dirt, simple gardening may be a valuable service for you and your neighbors. Painting furniture is another one of those seemingly mundane tasks that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. If “upcycling” furniture – as in making over a piece with paint and new hardware, like knobs and brackets – is something you take pride in doing, you should consider turning it into a part-time job for friends, neighbors and even loved ones. Can’t pass a garage sale without stopping? Buying and selling antiques is another opportunity to make some extra money. Consider selling the antiques out of your home or setting up shop on Etsy, an online marketplace for crafters, artists and collectors.
Etsy is also a great space for letting your creativity run wild. Are you a crafter extraordinaire or a burgeoning artist? Etsy is the perfect place to sell your creations. If photography is your medium of choice, you could sell prints on Etsy or even license your pictures on photo sharing sites like Flickr, who has teamed with Getty Images – renowned purveyors of stock photography – to help users license photos.
Are you immediately glued to the television as soon as you hear the Law & Order theme song? You may want to consider signing up to be an online mock juror. Sites like eJury and OnlineVerdict give prosecutors the opportunity to “pre-try” cases before they take them to court for an actual jury to hear. Payment, qualifications and time spent on each case vary per site, so it’s worth reading the fine print before you sign up.
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