From a financial perspective, moving back home can provide millennials, like Becca Story, with an opportunity to start paying back loans or build up an emergency fund with a goal of getting to independence.
For parents, however, having grown children at home can be substantially more expensive at a time when their own retirement looms. From medical coverage to auto insurance, groceries and Netflix, there are hidden costs that can quickly derail even a well-padded savings account.
“There are a lot of benefits to the child but parents need to pay attention to their own budgeting and retirement plan,” said Jennifer Fox, president of Wealth Management at Bryn Mawr Trust.
“It’s really important to have a candid conversation with your child about what it means to live at home as an adult,” Fox said, including the possibility of charging rent and how shared expenses will be divvied up. “We recommend that you put these parameters in writing with a time frame.”
In fact, adult children returning home can have a substantially negative impact on parents’ wellbeing, according to a recent study from the London School of Economics published in the Journal Social Science & Medicine.
“Don’t be so quick to say yes,” said Jonice Webb, a clinical psychologist and the author of “Running on Empty No More: Transform Your Relationships.” “It’s the parent’s responsibility to make that child sufficient,” she said, “that’s the No. 1 goal.”
If you can afford it and want to help, Gina McKague, the president of McKague Financial in Livonia, Michigan, advises clients to lay down ground rules and resist giving them a rent-free ride. “If you make living at home too convenient, you may have a live in roommate for life,” she said.
“Even if you save the money you charged as rent, make that a ‘go gift’ — you’ll also teach them the power of saving and how a little bit at a time can really add up.”