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extended financial family also EFF

noun [countable] British

three generations of the same family who due to financial reasons live together in one home

'Extended financial families are set to become a familiar phenomenon, with three generations of family living under the same roof to help cope with the strain on their finances posed by falling pensions, rising levels of debt and the high cost of property.'

press release, Skipton Building Society 29th April 2004

'According to research by Skipton Building Society, the UK is about to see a new economic unit – the extended financial family (EFF) – emerge as a major social trend over the next twenty years.'

www.findaproperty.co.uk 29th April 2004

in the twenty-first century, living under the same roof in order to share mortgage payments and combine the incomes of three generations may become the norm for many families

A report in April 2004 by the Skipton Building Society brought a new socio-economic term into the spotlight: the extended financial family. An extended financial family is a group of three generations of the same family – grandparents, parents and children – who live under the same roof, simply because this makes good financial sense. The building society's report predicted that in the next twenty years, the number of extended financial families in Britain would treble, rising from 75,000 in 2004, to over 200,000 in 2024. This means that by 2024 one in every 25 British households would represent an extended financial family.

The reasons for this growing trend relate of course to the British cost of living in the twenty-first century. Besides the fundamentally high cost of housing and constantly increasing property prices, British families are under financial strain across the generations. Working parents have to contend with high childcare costs, so may need to rely on the help of grandparents and relatives. Rising property prices and student debt force many young adult first-time buyers to stay at home in order to save up a deposit for their own homes. Older generations can enjoy an increased life-expectancy, but may need to stay with younger relatives because of pension under-funding or the escalating cost of residential care.

It seems then that, in the twenty-first century, living under the same roof in order to share mortgage payments and combine the incomes of three generations may become the norm for many families. The expression extended financial family, sometimes abbreviated to EFF, could therefore be a familiar part of socio-economic terminology for some time to come. An alternative expression recently used in the same context is multigenerational household.

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

This article was first published on 2nd May 2005.

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