It's been the subject of comedy—a man in his 30s moves back in with his parents, showing no signs of giving up his new pampered lifestyle until his parents hire a "professional motivator" to get him out of the house. While such stories may make for good movies, adult children living at home is a real trend. More and more parents who were once empty nesters are experiencing this so-called "boomerang" phenomenon and living with adult children.
Now, 52% of young adults live with their parents.1 This could be due to a competitive job market, high cost of living, the uncertainty of the economy or heavy debts like school loans or car payments.
Tips for living with adult children
Helping adult children get back on their feet can be a rewarding experience when all ends well and the child becomes established. However, it can be a challenge if ground rules for adult children living at home are not set up front. These suggestions may help:
- Ask for a written plan. Adult kids may say they’re only planning a short stay to build up their savings, but they may get comfortable and not actually save money after they move in. Ask for a written plan with goals and deadlines for how long they'll stay or for landing a job.
- Establish house rules. Be specific about what you expect, including rent or household chores. List your rules, including access to the kitchen or TV, curfews for noise and guidelines about guests. If grandchildren are also moving in, be clear about babysitting expectations.
- Don’t let boomerang kids risk your retirement. While wanting to help kids get on their feet financially is natural, dipping into retirement savings to bail them out may put your own future at risk. If you've loaned your child money, agree in writing on a repayment plan. If they’re working, insist they put aside savings each month with the goal of becoming independent. If they're not working, ask them to spend their time constructively, whether job hunting or volunteering.