Rules for Adult Kids Returning Home

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the country, parents saw a wave of adult children move back home. Pew Research recently found that 52 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds now live in a parent’s house.

Some children may have moved back simply due to safety during the virus response or because universities switched to e-learning. Others may have returned because of financial reasons.

As parents, it’s important to help your children find their footing, but you also don’t want to put your own financial security at risk. You can achieve this by setting boundaries and providing clear expectations for how you expect your child to contribute while they live under your roof.

Discuss Whether They Will Pay Rent

Will you expect them to pay rent while they are living with you? It’s important to have this discussion before they move in. Your child might assume he or she can live in your house rent-free for as long as they want. You want to ensure that everyone has the same expectations for the arrangement — before they move in.

Before they move in, have a conversation regarding what they can afford to pay and what you require from a financial standpoint, so each of you remains on the same page.

Find Other Ways They Can Contribute

It’s possible that your child needs to move back because they’ve lost his or her job. If they’re under financial hardship, then it’s understandable if you don’t want to charge them rent. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to let them sit on the couch all day watching TV, using your kitchen as their own free grocery store.

Instead, set ground rules for their stay. Are they  looking for a job? Do you want free rent to be contingent on them following through with job searches? Do you want them to pitch in for food costs? Will you allow them to borrow cash?

If your adult child is not paying rent, give him or her tasks that will help save you money. Ask them to mow the lawn or paint the house in between their job searches. It will give them something to do beyond worrying about their next interview.

Set a Timeframe

While you may love having your child back at home — and they may enjoy it as well — set expectations regarding the length of his or her stay. Talk with your child about when they hope to move out. If it’s until they can afford a place to live by themselves, then also ask them what they need in order to feel comfortable enough to live on their own. Do they need a few months’ worth of paychecks first? Will they move as soon as they have a job? Are they saving for a down payment on a house?

By agreeing to a plan, you’re protecting yourself in case they are thinking about an extended stay. Plus, it will help you enjoy this time you have with your child at home.

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Michael W. K. Yee, CFP,® CFS,® CLTC, CRPC,® is a Private Wealth Advisor, Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner with Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. He specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies, and has been in practice for 36 years. Investment products are not federally or FDIC-insured, are not deposits or obligations of, or guaranteed by any financial institution, and involve investment risks including possible loss of principal and fluctuation in value. Investment advisory products and services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services LLC., a registered investment advisor.
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