Sometimes as we grow older, new living arrangements become necessary. Perhaps you need to cut costs, so you’re either taking in a roommate or moving in with a family member. Maybe you’ve sold your house, and need a place to live while finding a new living situation more suited to your needs. Or maybe you need a little extra help with daily tasks, and an adult child has asked you to move in with him.

Whatever the reason, going from a completely independent lifestyle to one that will be impacted by your new housemates can be a bit scary. But one way to lessen that trepidation is to talk about the new arrangement clearly and openly, so that everyone involved knows what is expected of them. Here are a few things to put on your “to discuss” list.

Set a clear timeframe.

If your move is going to be a temporary one, make sure you’ve discussed the specific timeframe with the family or friends you’re moving in with. If you have a set amount of time in mind, like one month, be up front about it.

But if you have a less clear idea of how long you’ll need to be with family, get an idea of the longest amount of time they’ll find acceptable. For example, if you’ve sold your house and still need some time to find a new place, you can’t say exactly when you’ll be ready to move into your new home.

However, if you know how long your family or friends will be happy with you staying with them, you’ll be able to ramp up your search or begin looking for a new living situation as that time approaches.

And if this is intended to be a permanent move, make sure to clarify that with your family member. Simply assuming that they know that’s the plan could lead to seriously strained relations down the road - not to mention having to find a different place to live.

Set basic ground rules.

When you move in with a family member or friend, you’re integrating yourself into their home and family. And while you certainly don’t have to change all your habits to fit with theirs, you should realize that some adaptation on your part will be necessary.

To ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible, it’s a good idea to talk with your friends or family about ground rules.

Does someone in the house need to get up early for work? If so, suggest setting quiet hours.
Are there strict diets or routines a family member has to follow? Be respectful of those needs.
Entertaining guests is another topic that might warrant discussion, if you’re used to having friends over on a regular basis.

If you’ll be contributing to the household, discuss the specifics - and put them in writing.

If you’re able to contribute in some way to the running of the home you’ll be living in, ask your soon-to-be housemates what they expect. Then be honest about what you’re able to offer. Can you help with bills, like utilities, rent, or the mortgage? Can you provide babysitting for the children after school? Assist with house cleaning or lawn care?

While it may feel unfriendly or cold to do so, it’s a good idea to put your agreement in writing. You want to get specific, too: “Grandma will pay $400 per month toward the mortgage and utility bills. On Tuesdays and Thursdays she will babysit the children from 3-6 p.m.”

All this does is help you avoid misunderstandings about what you are or are not expected to do when you become a part of your new household.

Exchanging a formerly independent lifestyle for one that includes multiple friends or family members can be a daunting challenge. However, if approached with honesty and openness, the situation can also become a wonderful opportunity to strengthen the ties between you and the ones you love.

Are you contemplating a change in living situation? If you have an unneeded life insurance policy that you’re interested in liquidating in a life settlement, ask your financial advisor to contact Ashar today.