to (gently) toss your boomerang kid |
Call them slackers. Call them lazy. Call them a trend
-- one that Hollywood is noticing. The recent release of "Failure
to Launch," a movie about a 35-year-old yacht salesman who,
despite working, dating and owning a nice car, still lives in his
parents' home, echoes a shift in American living arrangements.
More and more adult children are returning to -- or never leaving
-- their parents' nest.
When financial educator Ruth Hayden counsels couples on how to
cope with "boomerang kids" who suddenly return to the
nest, she speaks from experience. Three of her four kids returned
to roost for varying periods, including her 30-year-old daughter
who just packed up after a two-year stay.
"It was hard to have her
here, because she was used to an independent life, and we were, too, but it was
the right thing to do," says Hayden, author of "For Richer, Not Poorer:
The Money Book for Couples." "I was the one that said 'Come home, get
stable and let's figure this out.'"
It's no secret
that twentysomething postgrads are returning home in increasing numbers to recharge,
regroup and pay down their college loans.
No, they're not
slackers happily sponging off the folks. Instead, they're caught in a supply-and-demand
job undertow created by the aging of the baby boom generation and the increasingly
mobile labor force.
They're no happier about the situation
than you are.
But there's a difference: They have their whole
lives to save for retirement, while you may only have a few short years left before
the buzzer sounds. Their temporary money squeeze could put your golden years in
jeopardy, especially if you are in the "sandwich generation" that also
shoulders the financial weight of aging parents.
it seems, knows a boomerang kid. You may even have one or two. The question is:
How do you get rid of them?
It's not as hard as you might think.
If you're up for a little tough love, you can send your fledgling winging off
into the world sooner rather than later -- and with a much greater chance of a
Crowding the nest
According to the latest Census Bureau data, 56 percent of men and 43 percent of
women ages 18 to 24 live with one or both parents. Some never left, while others
made a tactical retreat from a sluggish job market where, according to the U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment among 20-to-24-year-olds rose from 6.7
percent in 2000 to 9.4 percent in 2004.
As the great boomer
demographic exits the workforce, downsizing companies are becoming more selective
in hiring to offset the risks of a more-transient workforce.
reason that people in their early twenties aren't really entering real careers
is that the companies don't want them yet; they want people who are a little bit
more mature, more settled down," says Steven Mintz, John and Rebecca Moores
Professor of History at the University of Houston and author of "Huck's Raft:
A History of American Childhood."
want to train them just to lose them."
economic uncertainty, housing prices, particularly on the coasts of the United
States, have skyrocketed, leaving entry-level professionals with fewer acceptable
housing choices. Combine this with parents who manage their children like stock
portfolios (colleges refer to these hovering sorts as "helicopter parents")
and you have the perfect conditions for boomerang behavior.