It’s graduation season. The young, wide-eyed son or daughter you sent off to high school, college, or even graduate school is back ... in your home. You’re very proud of the accomplishment. However, your child may seem uncertain regarding next steps. Here are some thoughts about creating a positive living arrangement with an adult child as part of your household.
- You’re not alone. For the first time in the modern era, more young adults are living with their parents as compared to some other living arrangement (alone, roommates, partner/spouse) according to the Pew Research Center. More than 30% of 18 to 34 year-olds are living at home with Mom and/or Dad. The percentage hasn’t been this high since 1940. And just a note: men are more likely to live at home; women are more likely to live with their partner/spouse.
- Why? There are any number of reasons. The economy is just getting back in shape; the recession took a mighty toll on millennials, both financially and psychologically. Even with a modest recovery, good paying jobs are just beginning to reappear. Additionally, for this generation, there is a psychological uncertainty that another recession is just around the corner. And some children just aren’t ready to move on — home is comfortable.
- Talk to your child. Your child needs to know she is assuming a different role in your household. She is no longer a child; she is an adult and should have adult responsibilities. Although there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for every family, a conversation is a good place to start. This is your opportunity as a parent to share basic expectations regarding financial and living situations with your child.
- Everything is negotiable. Know what is important to you and how you’d like your home to function. Of course, there are the basics such as rent or mortgage, food, and utilities. Additionally, there are other items that need to be discussed: cell phone, Netflix, cable, family dinners. And what about the rules of the house? Have a discussion about curfews, friends, chores, and employment. Everything is negotiable — and, of course, there can be trade-offs. For example, it’s not uncommon for parents to not ask for a financial contribution, with the expectation that the child will attend school and help out periodically. But then the child may have to agree to a curfew and other restrictions. Don’t hesitate to write a contract with all terms and conditions clearly articulated. Here’s a good place to start: Contract for Adult Child Living at Home
- Don’t break your bank. Now is the time for you to review your own budget (actual or virtual). Even though you may be inclined to continue to help, don’t forget that your child is now an adult and should be assuming adult responsibilities. You should continue to make contributions to your savings and retirement accounts. And don’t forget to share this life-changing event with your Financial Advisor!
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