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Full House

If Your Recent Grad Has Returned Back Home, You Are Not Alone

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The proportion of young adults living in their parents' home between 2005 and 2011 has increased, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. While in both the long and short term it can be a practical decision, there are certain things you can do to live peacefully and help your young adult pave the way for financial independence.

Decide early on how the living situation will work, both financially and personally. Consider their income, their debt, and their long term goals. What do you think is fair for them to contribute to the household? Every family’s situation is different, but with each case, ask yourself: “What is best for both me and my child in the long term?” Sometimes you can’t fully satisfy both, but aim to strike a balance. Come to a decision on what their financial role will be going forward. If they uphold their end of the deal then resist the urge to micro manage their financial decisions. If they are earning their own income, paying for the share you both agreed upon, and striking a balance between saving and spending moderately, then there is no need to hover. Consider helping them create a budget that balances their income between savings, bills, and lifestyle choices. It’s important your child be allowed to have some fun as well.

Consider your child’s personality and the particular relationship you have with your child. Some sources say to put your agreements in writing and to have regular “check ins” on how things are going. Think about your particular situation and if this is necessary; otherwise, assume they will respect your agreement. 

Conflicting schedules. There’s no need to know their coordinates on a daily basis, but it would be helpful to know when a particularly important work day is coming up, for example. If you tend to be forgetful, consider investing in a large calendar with important dates on it, for both of you. Remind them that this is not a way to track your child’s schedule, but avoid a breakdown the morning or night before a crucial presentation. 

You want to help them get on their feet, but not pull the rug out from under them. Consider easing in expenses over a period of time, and communicate this to them. If there are certain expenses your child should be responsible for but currently cannot afford, gradually add in such expenses as they their income base grows. There are also other ways to contribute to the household aside from finances, consider some of those.

Lastly, don’t overthink this transition. For some families a fuller house may be easy, to others, a ticking bomb. Regardless of the situation, remember your child is going through one of the biggest transitions of his or her life, and you want to support it, not smother it. Give advice especially when it’s asked for, and give space when it’s not.

Westport ResourcesSamantha Druks of Weston will be a senior this fall at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, majoring in economics and minoring in psychology and interned this summer with Westport Resources, Westport, CT.