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Get junior off the couch

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Posted: 3 pm ET

If junior is living in the basement after losing his job or not being able to find one in the first place, consider yourself typical. It's an increasingly commonplace retirement planning dilemma.

According to the U.S. Census, the percentage of men age 25 to 34 living in the home of their parents rose from 14 percent in 2005 to 19 percent in 2011. Daughters did better -- 8 percent lived at home in 2005; 10 percent in 2011.

For younger offspring, the numbers are even higher with 59 percent of men age 18 to 24 and 50 percent of women that age living in their parents' homes in 2011. College students who only live part of the year in the dorm are included in these numbers.

It's hard to think about kicking your kid out when jobs are so hard to find, but if he has become a permanent fixture on the couch and he's getting in the way of enjoying retirement, here are some things to consider:

  • Working a McJob isn't the end of the world. These jobs may not pay very well, and you may have to kick in a few bucks if you want your kid to get one and move out. But everyone might be better off in the end if it leads to permanent employment. And it could -- somebody has to be the manager.
  • Push him to look hard for a job that he wants. Personally, I've found nagging to be very effective. Daily emails and other messages from you about possible job opportunities may be enough motivation that he'll get moving in a direction that he finds more appealing than any idea you could ever come up with.
  • Give him a job. If your son isn't going to go to work someplace, he can take over lots of responsibilities at home -- cooking, cleaning, washing, yard work. A couple of weeks of this and McD's will look a great opportunity.
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November 05, 2011 at 1:30 am

Adults all know that having a job at McDonalds is better than having no job. That's a big problem with today's youth. They expect to get a good paying job, great hours, etc, right out of the gate from college. Unfortnalty, few actually get it in today's job market, then feel because they have a 4 year degree they're too good for a grocery store job, restaurant, temp job, etc, and it's this attitude that keeps our unemployment over 9%. There are jobs out there, just not great ones.

November 04, 2011 at 10:15 am

If junior is just lingering at home and not even putting on the effort to help at all... then the blame falls squarely on the parents. They're simply enablers.

Sure, the economic times are hard, but that doesn't mean they can't take out the trash or help paint the house, or pick up some technical skills or deliver pizzas.

If they are allowed to just sit there and play video games or sleep in all day, then whose fault is that for not course correcting them?

Single Mom-
November 04, 2011 at 8:53 am

My son lost his job at 21, he was very depressed, played video games all night, and slept all day (mostly to avoid me). My rule is go to college, get a job, or move out. If living here without a job, he owes me two or three hours of work every day to pay his rent, then job search after that. I woke him up daily earlier than he would like, nagged until jobs I assigned were done, and sent him out to look for a job. It doesn't hurt to network with your contacts to help him find a job, I did so without telling him. He got serious about finding a job! He landed a job at the local grocery store 4 years ago and has been a different man ever since. He goes to work 5 days a week, has health insurance and a 401K, his employer loves him and says he is one of their hardest workers, smiles more than he has ever smiled, cleans the gutters and some house work, made a fence for my garden with a gate with out me asking at his own expense, has confidence in himself, and this fall signed up for two classes at the community college. He pays me about $300 a month and buys $100 to $200 in groceries every month. Right now this is a good deal for both of us. Whenever he is ready, he has my blessing to leave.

John Q Taxpayer
November 04, 2011 at 7:28 am

I can't believe I'm saying this, but there's some good advice here. Anyone can deliver pizzas, and it should be enough money to pay for a cheap apartment or renting a room from a friend. And possibly just as important, don't let your kid rack up a lot of debt while living at home, keep them on a budget.