These days, it’s not uncommon for adult children to continue living at home after finishing school. That’s because graduates under the age of 30 are burdened by a record high average of $21,000 in student loan debt, coupled with a weak job market and meager starting salaries.
In fact, the average salary for a recent college grad is lingering right around $27,000 per year, which makes getting this debt paid off after college difficult enough. Meanwhile, there were 2.1 million unemployed 20- to 24-year-olds and 2.7 million unemployed 25- to 34-year-olds this past June. Under these circumstances, living at home with Mom and Dad might be the only option for many young adults.
Prevent Adult Children Living at Home from Becoming Permanent
Parents of college kids face a good chance that their children’s moving van will leave the college dorm and head straight for their doorstep. It’s not uncommon for adult children to continue living at home after finishing school, but at some point, they have to move on. So how can parents bring up the subject of them moving out without hurting their feelings — but before all their savings are drained?
Here’s how to make the best of the situation and help nudge your children out of the nest when the time is right.
1. Create Ground Rules
If you hope to ever get your adult children out of the house, you need a plan in place. Planning ahead with some ground rules will make the transition from home to on your own a smoother process. The plan should set a move-out date and define what needs to be accomplished while they’re still at home.
For example, establish how much money they want to save, what kind of job they want to find, where they want to live, etc. It might be worth sitting down and creating an “adult child living at home contract.”
2. “Your Job Is to Find a Job”
Make it very clear from the beginning that their job is to find a job. In this economy, job hunting can easily turn into a 40-hour work week. Help them a set a goal of applying for “x” number of jobs per day or week. Encourage them to network and going to job events, instead of just applying for jobs online. There are many work-related social networking sites that can be helpful, like Linkedin.
3. Set Limits
The last thing you want is to set your child up for failure. Letting them live at home for free is not even close to the living in the real world. Consider setting limits for what you are willing to pay for. Cable? Yes. Cell phone? No. Going too “soft” will just be enabling your adult child.
4. Charge Rent
There’s nothing more like real life than having to pay rent. The average person spends about 30 percent of their take-home pay on rent. If that seems a bit high for your underpaid adult child, reduce their rent to 10 or 20 percent.
If you just don’t feel like collecting rent from your offspring is the right move, simply put that money aside in an account which they can have access to once they move out. This teaches some real life responsibility and will help them when they are on their way out your door.
5. Tough Love
There’s certainly a strong financial incentive for grown children to live at home, but some things are just more powerful than money, like their freedom. If all else fails, it might be time to implement some tough love. Strict rules around the house like a curfew could be just what it takes to speed things up.