Financial Literacy - Families and Finance
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6 tips for living with boomerang kids

Set ground rules and time limits

Just because your college graduate is technically an adult doesn't mean he or she will always act like one.

For example, most parents wouldn't savor returning from a weekend trip to discover that their home served as the venue for a party.

Establish from the outset what the house rules are and talk to your child about an estimated time frame in which he or she will live in your house. And let your child know how you feel about smoking, drinking and overnight guests before your child moves back home.

You could tell the child that staying at home is OK as long as he or she searches for a job or saves for a down payment on a home, for example.

"Today, it's to the benefit of younger people if their parents teach them to start handling financial responsibility as opposed to just having everything handed to them," Staszak says.

Try to get feedback from other families with adult children living home. You may find their perspectives helpful.

Avoid being an enabler

It's not just a down economy that's luring boomerang kids back home. Parents may be contributing to the trend by being too financially accommodating.

"The art of parenting is tricky," Nemzoff says. "It is difficult to know when you are enabling your child to remain irresponsible and when you are facilitating his or her launch into an adult life."

“The unemployment rate for adults age 20 to 24 was 14 percent in March 2009, compared with 9.4 percent a year earlier, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

One study seems to indicate that parents are incentivizing their child's move back home.

Nearly 70 percent of boomers said they helped an adult child with college loans, and more than 50 percent said they helped with an auto loan or allowed adult children to live at home rent-free, according to a recent survey by Ameriprise Financial.

Nemzoff says if you are going to help your children financially, they should be diligently looking for a job or volunteering somewhere to build experience for their resumes.

"If your child is just hanging around, you may want to say 'no' more often," she says.

Share household costs or chores

If your child has a job, household expenses should be shared, even if it's just buying groceries or paying a share of the utilities.

If your child does not have a job, household chores such as cooking, cleaning up after meals and yardwork should be shared, Skeels says.

"If the child has some sort of income, they should be paying some form of rent to the parents to help cover costs and to get them used to having some set bills again," he says.

This is probably a good time to re-examine your household budget or start a new one.

It will be easier to keep track of your additional expenses and find areas to save money.


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