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My Son, the HomemakerCheryl Gottlieb Boxer
As your student enters their final year of college and plans their bright future, you may be concerned about the in-between of their graduation and career launch. For a rising number of young Americans, this transition is spent living at home with you, their parent. There’s also a trend of adults returning home in their twenties, which is why they're known as the boomerang generation.
In 2019, 17 percent of adults between the ages of 25–34 lived with their parents, while over half of those between 18–24 were living at home. This number has ballooned since COVID-19. The pandemic caused 15 percent of employers to decrease their hiring plans for recent grads, 22 percent of students had their internship offers revoked and five percent lost job offers.
If you’re considering welcoming your adult child back home after graduation, know that it won’t be the same dynamic as it was during vacation breaks and before college. Your relationship has changed, and your child is now 22+ years old — an adult. It will take some getting used to for everyone, so here are some tips to help you manage.
Financial conversations can be difficult, but it’s important that everyone be on the same page. First off, it’s totally reasonable to ask your new grad to help contribute to utilities and housing costs.
The key is including them in the conversation to determine what’s fair. Going in 50/50 probably won’t cut it, especially if you have other children at home. Additionally, it’s important to stay mindful that your grad will have other payments and savings goals. In fact, 80 percent of young adults live at home to save money.
If you decide not to charge them rent, you’ll still want to see them contributing to the home. Taking on some of the cleaning, cooking, yard and pet care, and other improvement projects will help them feel like they’re part of the household rather than a guest whose perhaps overstayed their welcome.
What worked for your family before likely won’t work now. There aren’t real curfews, chore charts or rules, but everyone has to respect each other’s expectations — which requires clear communication.
Your grad may want to go out on Wednesday nights, stay up late or host friends at the house. You respect their independence, of course, and they should respect that you have an early morning schedule on weekdays. Establish how to communicate your schedules and stay flexible.
You can’t see the future, and realistically you don’t know how long your young adult will be living at home. Discuss what you feel comfortable with and expect, but be open to the possibility that your grad may not be out in six months. Instead, try to set financial and career goals.
Work together to determine a realistic budget and savings goal your grad can comfortably move out with. Rushing them out could cause unnecessary financial stress, especially if they’ve never paid all of their expenses before.
This also means you may want to discuss spending habits while at home. It’s great to go to dinner with friends and plan a weekend away, but you’re not housing them so they can vacation. This is an opportunity for them to start their life comfortably, so communicating that you expect to see some savings from the beginning is ideal.
This time to bond with your college graduate can be invaluable. Welcome them home with honest discussions about what’s best for everyone and keep the communication flowing. Get to know each other as adults, and take advantage of this chance to set a few more life lessons from the comfort of home.
Check out the infographic below for more information on the boomerang generation and how your grad can boost their career.
Graphic from mint.com.