Atlas Insights Blog

After College: Your Adult Kids At Home

December 20, 2017 View all posts by Atlas Wealth Advisors Atlas Wealth Advisors Guiding, Sandwich Generation, Steward

I remember begging my parents to take me to get my driver’s license when I turned 16. At my high school, pretty much everyone had their license by the time they graduated. It represented freedom for teenagers across the country.

Today, millennials express their freedom in completely different ways, which explains why only about 60 percent of 18-year-olds have a license.

It may also explain why research shows that adults of the millennial generation are more likely to live with their parents for longer periods of time than previous generations.

The study also found that even though millennials are living at home at a greater rate than previous generations, those who attend college are less likely to live with their parents than those who don’t. In fact, millennials with only a high school education are twice as likely to live with their parents than those with a bachelor’s degree.

Of course, every case is unique, but these figures represent broader cultural trends that your affect your children in some way. Whether college is a given or not, some kind of preparation for their future, outside of high school, will help make them more likely to find their wings and live independently at an earlier age.

Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the primary considerations you’ll want to address with your adult children living at home after college (or if they forego college and stay in your home while they explore their options for the future).

Establishing Expectations

Regardless of which educational or vocational path your kids decide to take, if they’re going to stay at home, you’ll want to establish some clear expectations.

What are the conditions for staying?

  • Do they have to start paying rent?
  • Do they need to buy their own groceries?
  • Do quiet hours apply?
  • If they’re paying rent, will you still set behavior expectations?

When is it simply time to move out?

  • Do you set a timeline for them to live with you?
  • Can they stay as long as they want?
  • What happens if you decide to move?

While some kids still can’t wait to get out on their own, others see no reason to give up free room and board as long as you’ll let them stay. Even inside of your own family, some children will respect your home and expectations better than others. Some will be more appreciative than others.

These factors all go into setting reasonable expectations for your family. The point is to determine the guidelines early on and communicate the conditions of staying at home very clearly.

And Who Is Paying for This?

You’ve been covering most of your children’s living costs since the day they were born. Insurance, healthcare, utilities, cell phone, groceries – chances are your graduate doesn’t appreciate the full weight of these expenses.

Parents often expect their children to pay their share of such bills after they graduate, and that is often a great idea.

Keep in mind, that this is about your children’s independence, not about the actual cost. Of course, you can afford to continue paying your children’s bills. But our clients often ask us how they can keep their wealth from negatively affecting their children. We believe having your children pay for their own living costs helps them gain the independence they need and perspective on their life choices.

You might not want to drop the whole load on your kids all at once. Consider continuing to take care of some of their peripheral bills as they adjust to their newfound financial responsibilities.

Whatever you do, it’s important to communicate your expectations clearly. If no stopping date is placed on particular bills, they may naturally accept your free support as long as you offer it.

At Home for How Long?

One of the biggest ongoing expenses everyone faces is room and board. Some parents will charge their children rent to live at home after a certain age and then gift their children with the lump sum when they move out, while others allow them to stay rent-free as long as other expenses are addressed. Either way, most parents don’t intend to have their kids live with them indefinitely and are looking for ways to help them find independence.

If you fall into this category, you’ll want to make your expectations known to your adult children, preferably before they finish school. Every family is different, and some parents welcome the opportunity to have their children living at home as long as they’ll stay.

Still, for their own good, it will be important to pass on the tools of financial independence in a careful and timely manner. Your children will thank you for it later.

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