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How to Help Your Kids Move Out — For Good This Time

By Melissa Green | Citizens Bank Staff

In today’s economy, growing up doesn’t always mean moving out of your parents’ house. More parents will soon face questions about what it means when their adult kids move back home, including how everyone will handle money.

This “boomerang kid generation” includes about one in three Americans between the ages of 18 and 34, according to the most recent U.S. Census data. The good news is, with a little strategy and good communication, both parties can come together to make the new living arrangement work.

Learn about important considerations to help your boomerang kid gain financial independence.

Set clear expectations

It’s important to establish clear timelines and expectations for how different aspects of the living arrangement will work. Sit down with your child and review their current financial situation. How long will it realistically take them to get back on their feet? Reinforce that this is a temporary arrangement to help them save money and get ahead, not an indefinite free ride.  

Additionally, as a parent this is a great opportunity to reinforce good financial habits with your boomerang kid. Set aside some time to help them plan to pay back debt, provide feedback on their resume — or help create a resume. The role you play will be an instrumental part of your child’s financial maturity.

Consider charging rent

Although your child is trying to save money and pay down debt, they shouldn’t be exempt from chipping in for food and household expenses. Even a small weekly payment will help you offset the additional costs of having another person in the house. Plus, making that payment to you will help them stay accountable. If they have no money coming in, give them a list of household tasks to complete each week.  

Even if you don’t “need” your new house guest to contribute financially, consider collecting rent anyway and putting it in a savings account for their future use. Once they’re ready to move out again, they’ll have a strong savings for a down payment on a home or apartment.

Protect your retirement

It may sound harsh, but you shouldn’t put your own financial future in jeopardy to help your adult child. It’s not a great idea to dip into your 401(k) or other retirement savings to bail them out. Providing them with a place to live while they take steps to become financially independent is extremely helpful, so you shouldn’t feel like you’re not doing enough. If your boomerang kids are struggling with student loan payments or credit card debt, it’s perfectly acceptable to help educate them on smart financial habits. Showing your young adult how to budget and manage debt will serve them well and help them move out— maybe even for good this time.

What to remember

Don’t make a plan and just assume that it’s working. Schedule regular sit downs with your child. If they haven’t found a job, what roadblocks have they encountered? See where you can help. There’s no shame in asking for help, so if your kid needs to come back home you’re doing your part by providing them with tools that will help set them up for success.

More information

Saving and budgeting is a key part of any financial strategy. Whether you're teaching children to save or planning for your retirement, small steps can make a big difference. Learn more ways to help you and your boomerang kid stay on the right path.

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