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It’s more common now than ever for adult children to choose to move back home after college graduation. This can be a great thing for both parent and child—or it can be a source of stress. Here are a few things to consider when deciding whether to let your adult children move back home.
They get time to pay off debt and save
Today’s economic climate isn’t like those of better times. It’s not so easy to just go out, get a job, and lead an adult life. Most students these days graduate with around $29,200 in debt—and lenders start sending bills around six months after graduation, whether students have a job that lets them afford the payments or not. For some recent graduates, paying rent and paying off student loans at the same time is simply not feasible.
Letting your child move back home gives them time to get their financial house in order. They can save on rent and put the money they save toward their student loans. They can figure out their health insurance situation. And they can have the time they need to find a job that will pay enough to let them lead an independent life.
They get time to figure things out
Some recent graduates aren’t sure what they want to do professionally—even after four years of college. It’s not unusual for recent grads to have a crisis of confidence upon graduating, compounded by the financial demands of adult life.
Letting your child move back home gives him or her the time needed to try a few possible career paths—without the risk of missing rent or missing a student loan payment. It gives recent grads a safe, solid platform from which to volunteer and explore several different avenues of employment, and make choices free of large financial burdens.
They stay sheltered from the adult world
Letting your adult children move back home also shelters them from the consequences of adult decision-making—something new graduates have to learn eventually. Some parents are reluctant to let their kids move back home because it helps them postpone adult life—and keeps them in an independent, “exploratory” stage. While it’s not easy out there in this economy, some parents feel it’s important that adult children figure life out on their own as soon as possible.
You’re at risk of helping them out too much
It’s not unusual for parents to want to help their adult children—but some do it more than they can afford. You may be tempted to help your children financially so they can move to an independent life. However, it’s important to avoid sacrificing your own future for the sake of your adult child’s independence. Avoid tapping into your retirement savings to help your adult child make the transition to independence faster.
They add to parents’ stress
Having an adult child move back home can be stressful—both for the child and the adult. New graduates are used to independence, whereas some parents have expectations that the same rules followed in high school still apply. It’s important to sit down with adult children to discuss rules and boundaries, time limits for living at home, chore responsibilities, and rent. Open communication can make the experience less stressful for all involved.
The economy is difficult—for parents as well as recent graduates. Whether or not you should let your adult children move back home after graduation depends on your own financial and family situation. While giving your child a time of respite from adult responsibilities can give them the time they need to figure things out and get their finances in order, it can also put a financial strain on parents. Be sure to communicate openly and assure that both parents and children have the same expectations about the time spent at home—and it’s likely to be less stressful for everyone involved.