“Theyyyy’ree BACK”…….it was once the cry of a cute little blond girl named Carol Ann in the 1980’s horror flick Poltergeist II. It has now become a cry of dismay for a growing number of parents in their 50’s and 60’s…just when these parents were starting to think that they’re on the fast track to enjoying some peace and quiet.
Unfortunately, recent trends in the US show that, more and more, “kids” are moving back in with their parents…at points in their lives when they should be permanently out the door.
This little turn of events is far from living the American Dream of retiring quietly into the sunset with your children visiting only when INVITED.
There was a time when fleeing from the house after high school or college graduation was an act of pride, independence, and passage into adulthood. Not any longer. Here are some statistics behind the alarming trend of young adults moving back into the house with mom and/or dad:
• Back in 1980, less than 30 percent of all jobs in the United States were low-income jobs. Today, more than 40 percent of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs
• Back in 1962, 95% of adult males aged 25-54 were employed. Now barely 80% are employed.
• Most research shows that approximately 22 million adults between 18-34 have moved back with their parents, which amounts to 30% of that age group.
• A study conducted by twentysomething Inc., a market and research firm, found that 85% of college graduates plan to move back home.
Many of today’s grads are unemployed, underemployed, or unable to afford living on their own.
• School debt has doubled since 1997 – now the debt out of college is teetering around $20k.
• Housing costs are higher in “adulthood”. Instead of living in a one-bedroom 600sq ft apartment (with roommates!) like in college, moving back home costs less.
• The job market is bleak and over-crowded for many recent grads.
Some may see it as a burden, but actually there are ways to make it work for both children ….errrr….”adultalescents” and the parents.
• Set expectations from the beginning – whether there is a curfew or a sharing of the costs of groceries, utilities, etc. Setting an expectation through a budget will help ease your children back into (eventually) living on their own while reinforcing the necessity of meeting financial responsibilities.
• Reinstate the chore schedule. When everyone helps out – there is more cohesiveness in the house.
• Set a timeline and even a financial goal for their move-out.
• Don’t be afraid to speak up if enough’s enough!
Many parents welcome the return of their children – especially when there is an understanding of what’s expected under their roof. The path to self-sufficiency sometimes takes longer for some to assimilate to – especially in this day and age. So, be ready for the possibilities. You may think twice before transforming that 3rd bedroom with the Buzz Lightyear wallpaper into a library – because your kids may just be coming back for more than a weekend visit next time!
Cathy DeWitt Dunn, President of DeWitt & Dunn, LLC, is the driving force behind Women Money & Power. With decades of experience in the financial services industry, Cathy specializes in helping individuals and families strengthen their retirement outlook with lifetime income solutions not available from traditional brokerage houses. She has helped countless investors start their personal journeys towards a stronger retirement with strategies designed to protect principal, generate retirement income that can’t be outlived, and eliminate market loss.