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updated 12/23/2010 2:12:35 PM ET 2010-12-23T19:12:35

When the value of stocks and bonds in your portfolio has declined, tapping the bonds of your family can be a valuable asset — especially in retirement.

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Joseph Jastrzebski, a 68-year-old manager at Home Depot, wants to retire soon. When he does, he and his wife, Valerie, plan to move in with extended family.

The Sayreville, N.J., couple already live part-time with their daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. Once they sell the family home the Jastrzebskis will move in permanently.

"It will afford us an opportunity to save money and have something left for our children," says Valerie, a 63-year-old secretary. "We are doing it because this is a situation that presented itself that is ideal for everyone."

Valerie's daughter, Sarah, mother of a five-month-old boy and step-mom to two teenagers, is working as an administrative assistant while studying for a master's degree in holistic health studies. She agrees combining their households makes sense.

"A lot of times now with retirement we see someone ends up in a nursing home or other facility like that," Sarah says. "I think staying with your family is the way to go."

As retirement investments have been eroded during this economic crisis, the number of multi-generational family households has been growing — returning to a trend from half a century ago.

Since 1980, there has been a 33 percent increase in Americans living in multigenerational households. Investors may be recouping some of losses than have sunk their 401(k)s and other retirement portfolios over the past two years, but not enough to keep many soon-to-be retirees from worrying.

"What we're seeing here is they don't have confidence in what they think of as the public safety net — a pension plan," says Paul Taylor of the Pew Research Center. "So they are reverting to the age old private safety net, and that's the family.

The Pew Research Center found the number of Americans living in multigenerational households grew by 2.6 million between 2007 and 2008, the most recent data available. (Read the entire Pew study here.)

For many families, this living arrangement has significant financial benefits. The Jastrzebskis won't have to pay rent or a mortgage when they move in with their daughter's family. They'll also help defray household expenses for daughter Sarah's family and care for their grandchildren.

"We are not paying anything per-se to live here," Valerie says. "But if there is something we see in the house that is needed, we buy it. It is a whole family situation. It is not them and us."

© 2012 CNBC, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Video: Should retirees move in with their kids?

  1. Closed captioning of: Should retirees move in with their kids?

    >> all right, stephanie, thank you. this morning on "today's" family, moving in with your children after retirement. with the economy still in the mud, researchers have found many retired parents now movieing in with their adult kids. is it the right move for you?

    >> sharon epperson , cnbc's financial correspondent and sharon. you hit a nerve because you actually did a piece on this, the trend of so many adults moving in with their kids and some cases based on the economy.

    >> largely based on the economy. we have seen a trend from 1980 to 2008 , a 33% increase in mult multigenerational households. that is the most recent data we have. probably grown since then because of the economy. a lot of people concerned about their 401(k)s, concerned they're not getting the same pension they may have gotten and social security and thinking public safety might not be there, let me go to the age-old private safety net , the family.

    >> and the upside for parents and adult children, i hate to say it, now you have a live-in baby-sitter and that saves a significant amount of money.

    >> for a lot of people, childcare is the most expensive cost in their household next to rent and mortgage and this helps a great deal and so can dividing the household chores and maybe if they split some of the rent or mortgage, it helps out financially. that's a win-win for anyone.

    >> you have to look at the pros and cons of it if you want it to work. the money upside will help but the emotional roller coaster can be damaging if you don't handle this properly.

    >> it can be but as sharon said, it can be a win-win. one of the things we have to pay attention to, what people need when they retire and what the receiving family needs when they're bringing someone into their home. people when they retire need companionship, need to feel youthful, they need to feel needed, a purpose and a sense of security and supportive environment, among other things. if you have this in your family, you can contribute. your talked about baby-sitting.

    >> right.

    >> in many cases, who better than a family member to really take care of the children and offer traditions to the family and pass family lore down.

    >> there are things specifically you can do to make this work. you say do a trial run? how do you do that? come for two days and boot them out if it doesn't work?

    >> a family i talked to decided to live with their adult children part-time and weren't ability ability -- able to sell their house at first but that's why they did it.

    >> talking about your parents, if my mother moved in, i would want her to live there scott-free and that may not be possible.

    >> it may not be possible but you have to be realistic. it sounds almost callous. you need to know what of their money goes towards household expenses. are they getting a pension, what will they use and if they can't support, what will they use. if you're combining two households, you may not need four tvs, two couches and sell some things and that can help with expenses and divide the chores around the house.

    >> and you can reconsider as things change . but you have basis.

    >> and work together, one of the up sides with anything.

    >> you have to decide what it is you need and what the receiving family needs. also, to be flexible. life is in the details, as someone said. who's folding the laundry and how will you be getting along with one another. it's also being about being forgiving.

    >> focusing on the positive.

    >> contributing in a meaningful way and getting acktive. what does that mean?

    >> not only in the family but outside the family. so you're not dependent on your children to give you pleasure.

    >> have your own friends.

    >> have your own friends and social life and be aware what your plans are. be very mindful and respectful of personal space .

    >> you say communicate and maintain humor and communal and private space. i need my private time, mom.

    >> it's not to be offensive, just to recognize everyone needs their own space but we are a family. how do you really define yourself as a family with this new change. be adult about it. you are taking in your older parents. you're all adults here, realize that and don't expect mom is going to come home and do the laundry and cooking for you and childcare. maybe that's not what she's capable of doing. really understand that. you will be adult roommates, maybe even friends, hopefully friends, but really be up front about it.

    >> people's personalities don't change. it's important to remember if someone by nature is very controlling and you haven't wanted to be controlled and haven't been controlled your whole life, you have to understand what are the limits and boundaries and have to say, mom, i appreciate your help. this is something i would like to do. you can do this for me and contribute in a meaningful way.

    >> a lot to think about. you ladies have given great

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