And so the old fantasy goes — junior finally turns 18 and goes off to college for a few years. When he returns, he’s ready to hit the ground running and start a promising career in a new town – hopefully close enough to home to make visiting easy. 

You can be happy in the knowledge that you’ve successfully raised your child – and done a darn good job. The nest is finally empty, and you’ve got the whole tree to yourself.

Sometimes though, it does not quite work out that way.

They call them the “Boomerang Generation”: adult children who have returned to the parental home after college, military service, or perhaps because of some bad choices.

Of course, you probably wouldn’t turn your child down if they came to you and asked you for a place to stay. It may seem like a golden opportunity to relive the good old days “just for a few weeks until they get back on their feet.” 

The problem is that it usually ends up being a year or more.

One major thing to consider in this arrangement is the financial impact of having your kids live with you again – especially after a few years of getting accustomed to a lifestyle that does not include them.

Here are a few pointers that might help navigate living with an adult child:

1.Set boundaries. From day one, what you expect of them must be made very clear.

  • What are they paying to cover their costs – rent, utilities, food?
  • What will they do to help maintain your home – chores, basic repairs, errands? 

They must contribute something – or you risk crossing the line from helpful to coddling. 

A few other points:

  • Decide how long they can stay, and what happens if they can’t move out in the agreed-upon timeframe.
  • Create house rules. I am not suggesting you should be draconian here – you’re dealing with an adult – but if you don’t want their friends gathering at all hours, make this clear. 

2.Create a realistic plan. With the rising cost of housing, it’s a smart idea to sit down with your child and create a realistic budget – and hold them accountable for sticking to it. If there’s a gap in their financial literacy, this is the time to address that. 

3.Don’t let your own finances fall behind. It happens more than you know. A parent gets so caught up in helping their child out that they end up hurting themselves in the process. Instead of jumping to pay Junior’s cell phone or credit card bill, help him figure out how to do it independently. I’m not saying don’t help your child financially at all – just make sure you can afford it. 

Done the right way, your adult child living with you again can: 

  • bring you closer together and improve your relationship as adults, not as parent-child
  • help them get a second start in life in this challenging time
  • provide extra support for you financially and with maintaining your home 

Are you in this situation? Give us a call at 513-563-PLAN (7526) or book online to set up a short chat with us to discuss the best way to navigate this new time in your lives. 

Nikki Earley, CFP®