When Grownup Kids Move In
How to make the most of the situation and help ensure that it’s only temporary
As of last year, the number of young adult children living with their parents was the highest it had been in 75 years.1 That's a lot of parents making sacrifices to help their adult children with their living situations. If you fall into this category, these tips might be helpful:
1. Regularly discuss budgets and hold them accountable.
If your adult child is living with you, it's a good idea to openly discuss budgets on a regular basis and to hold them accountable for their end of the bargain. You can be flexible in what you expect from them, but make sure they understand what they're responsible for and when the money is due. Talk about expenses that can be reduced or eliminated and which ones are worth keeping in the budget.
2. Set boundaries.
It's also important to set clear boundaries so your adult child isn't taking advantage of the situation. While it's okay if you want to provide your kid with a place to stay, they should understand that they're living in your home and that they need to respect the boundaries you have set. That may include not eating all of your food, not hogging the television or computer, or not running up your bills without adequately contributing.
3. Avoid feeling guilty.
In cases where you have to "put your foot down," you may find yourself questioning your decisions, but try to avoid feeling guilty because you probably had good reasons for them.
Debbie Pincus at EmpoweringParents.com writes,2 "If you’ve always done everything for your child and now you’re asking him to be responsible and contribute to the household, understand that you are changing a system. You will likely get resistance and what’s called 'pushback.' Your child might get very angry and say things like, 'I can’t believe my own parents are doing this to me!' Don’t get pulled back in and start to feel guilty. As long as you’ve thought it through and considered your own needs and principles, you’ll be able to hold onto yourself through that anger as you insist that your child gets on his own feet."
4. Discuss an eventual exit and steps on how to get there.
It's not necessarily a bad thing for you to help your child, but it's likely that you'll be ready for them to leave the nest eventually, and they shouldn't be so comfortable that they have no intention of leaving. Have an exit plan, and help them figure out moves they can make to help them in that direction, including saving strategies, career moves, etc.
5. Ensure there are also non-financial commitments.
Your child may not be able to contribute an equal amount to the living situation in terms of finances. If they could, they would probably be out of the house. Find other ways they can contribute beyond money. Make sure they are pulling their weight with chores and errands. Find ways for them to help out that make your life easier and explain clearly what you expect from them.
6. Invest some of your own time into helping them with career decisions.
While your child's career path is ultimately up to them, it can help if you provide some assistance. Give them advice based on your knowledge and life experience. They can benefit from the things you've learned.
7. Help them keep an eye on other potential housing opportunities.
Just as you're helping them with career-related situations like finding jobs or educational opportunities, you can also help them look for new living opportunities. Regardless of discussions you've had, they may be comfortable living at home and not looking as hard as you'd like them to be. Keep an eye out for affordable options and present them when it makes sense.
8. Take your other children into consideration.
If you're giving assistance to one child, while you have another who is out living independently, be aware that the other child might feel as if you're playing favorites, so consider how you can make things right, whether that means providing different types of assistance or just having a frank conversation.
9. Teach them what they need to know about finances.
Your child may be living with you because they simply don't have the financial education needed to be successful. It isn't always easy out on your own, and if they don't understand the fundamentals, they're going to have a hard time making ends meet. Try to get a feel for their financial knowledge and explain how things work when they have questions. Instead of trying to appear like a financial expert, it might be more comfortable to point them to helpful resources online that they can read and apps they can use to get their finances in order.
10. Consider what you are getting out of the situation.
Is your adult child who’s living at home providing you with any benefits? If not, figure out what needs to change so that you're getting something out of the situation as well. It can be emotionally rewarding for a parent to be able to provide for their child, but at a certain point, you need to make sure your own needs are being met, and if the current living situation is making this difficult, you need to work out a way for that to change. Make sure you're openly communicating.
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Member FDIC