Are They Adults or Children? The Boomerang Generation.

Due to tough economic times, more kids are returning home after college to live with their parents. Even before the economic crunch, a larger trend of women returning home after school existed. From 1960 to 2005, the number of 18-24 year old females living at home grew from 35% to 46%. Some postulate that this is due to more young adults delaying marriage.

In a December, 2011 PEW study, 29% of all young adults age 25-34 lived with their parents. The absence of jobs and high burden of student debt is making this the only financial option for many. Even so, the risk of an indefinite houseguest should be considered. This should only be a stopgap until independence is reached, not a substitute for it.

Having an adult child living in your home provides many unique challenges. First of all, they are old enough to drink (legally) now, and they probably want a little more leeway than they got in high school. Additionally, it is important to lay out what is expected of the young tenant; paying rent, cooking, doing dishes, paying for groceries, etc. A crucial aspect, one often overlooked, is what the child is going to do for money. If they haven’t been able to get a job in their field, will they get a job waiting tables to help pay rent? It is important to keep them active and not let them settle into complacency. Sometimes it helps to set a sort of time limit, or at least an estimate. Additionally, you have a new source of free labor that you should exploit to the fullest.

An alternative to having kids move back home is to help subsidize their living. If they are working but not earning enough to pay their own way, subsidizing their rent and expenses might be an emotionally cheaper option than having them move home. This is especially attractive if they are working below their level to pay their way while they search for a career or go to grad-school. It helps them retain a sense of independence, but more than that it motivates them to keep working hard to make it on their own. Just make sure you don’t make their living arrangements too comfortable.

Additional Resources

Surviving Adult Children Living at Home:

PEW The Boomerang Generation:

The New York Times Rules for When the Chicks Return to the Nest:

The Huffington Post 2011 College Grads Moving Home:


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