To college students or recent graduates, the prospect of moving back in with the parents is not likely to be met with open arms. Once kids taste the freedom of living on their own, their return home to reside under their parents’ roof can feel limiting.
Despite the difficulty of such a decision, statistics indicate that more and more young adults are returning to live with mom and dad. A 2011 report from the United States Census Bureau revealed that the number of men between the ages of 25 and 34 living with their parents had increased dramatically over the previous six years. By 2011, nearly 20 percent of men in that category lived with their parents, a 6 percent increase from just six years earlier. That increase was far less significant among women of the same age, but 10 percent of women between the ages of 25 and 34 lived at home.
The end of this trend is seemingly nowhere in sight. Statistics from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that as many as 50 percent of college graduates under the age of 25 are underutilized. This means they are unemployed, working only part time or working jobs considered to be outside the college labor market and don’t require a degree. Without an opportunity to gain valuable experience and advance in their fields, these young adults are essentially stuck in limbo and might be forced to live with the parents for even longer than they initially anticipated.
While it’s easy to imagine this transition has been hard on young adults, it’s likely no easy task for their parents, either. A struggling economy that has produced a stagnant job marketplace has made it difficult to pinpoint just when, or if, young adults will move out for good, which can put a crimp in their parents’ retirement plans. For example, the 2011 TD Canada Trust Boomer Buyers Report revealed that 17 percent of baby boomer parents who planned to downsize their homes, and save money as a result, are delaying those plans because they have adult children still living at home. The survey also revealed that a significant portion of those parents who don’t plan to downsize admit that their decision to stay put was made with the expectation that their adult children will still be living with them when they retire.
To some parents, having the kids back at home is a great experience that breathes new life into their empty nest. For others, relationships can quickly grow strained, creating a tense living situation that no one enjoys. To make the most of living with young adults who have returned home, consider the following tips.
Encourage children so they can get where they want to be
No matter how accommodating their parents may be, no young adult wants to live at home, especially if they have recently earned a degree they thought would springboard them into a life of independence. But parents can help their kids in ways that go beyond just giving them a place to live. For instance, encourage kids to pursue internships even if they have already graduated and those internships are unpaid. Such opportunities, even if they don’t pay, can be a great chance for young adults to gain entry into their chosen fields. Since most parents don’t charge their kids rent, the lack of pay shouldn’t be much of a problem, and parents should explain to their children that they will support them so long as they are actively pursuing opportunities within their field.
Emphasize that your home isn’t a dorm or college apartment
Just like kids don’t necessarily want to move back home after college, parents don’t want their homes to resemble a dorm or college apartment should their kids move back in after graduation. When young adults move back in, parents must make it known that their sons or daughters are no longer kids and they will not be allowed to live in messy bedrooms or leave dirty dishes and laundry for mom and dad to clean. Be firm and forward when letting young adults know that, while you’re happy to give them a place to live, your days tidying up after them are over.
Eventually, consider charging rent
Most parents don’t want to charge their children rent. After all, young adults are moving home to save money, not spend it. But it can be very easy for young adults with no rent to pay to grow lazy in their job pursuit or to develop an attitude that rent-free living is for them, even if they do find a job that enables them to support themselves. This can complicate matters down the road, so if young adults have been living at home a long time without paying a dime in rent, it’s time to start asking for money. Do this more to motivate young adults than to meet your own financial needs. In fact, when you start collecting rent, and if you don’t need the money, simply put it aside and give it back when young adults decide they do want to move out of the house.