We are living in a generation of young adults still living with their parents. For many of these YA's, it's a matter of necessity, either familial/social structure or financial.
Sometimes, a young person has a schedule that is adaptable enough to help an aging or ill parent, by living at home. Other times, the social structure of a family is welcome to a YA, as marriage is increasingly delayed in this generation.
Mostly, though, the need is financial. A young person might be trying to launch a non-traditional career. (I know a young man who is trying to get his music career off the ground, and lives at home with his parents.)
Or, a young person might be paying off hefty student loans, while still in the early years of a career. (I know a married couple that had to move back in with her parents, to help them pay off combined student loan debt.)
And if your young adult is living in a large metropolitan area, rents can exceed a young person's ability to earn.
I looked into rents for my 2 daughters, near their campus in the city of Seattle. These are not fancy-schmancy apartments. I first checked 2-bedroom units, knowing they might want a private and quiet spot for studying, each. At $1300 and up per month, that was out of the question for us. I checked the 1-bedroom apartments. This would be moderately doable. Not ideal, but okay. The 1-bedroom units that I found began at $1100 per month. So, I was curious. What about studio apartments, in someone's basement, or above their garage? I found a studio apartment, attached to someone's home, for $1000 per month.
We're not talking luxury, here. These are bare bones, just starting out apartments. Many are in sketchy neighborhoods. Heat and electricity is extra. A lot of young adults, just starting out can't afford rent in the city.
Young adults still living in their childhood homes, aren't all lazy bums, sitting on their parents' couch all day, eating Cheetos and playing video games. There are some real reasons for these YA's to need to bunk in with Mom and Dad, well past the age when we would have felt that was acceptable for us, at their age.
So, how is a parent suppose to financially treat their 20-something kids living under their roof? This is what we've chosen with our own grown kids.
To Pay Rent or Not Pay Rent
My son has a stable career, now. He lives at home with us. He benefits from both financial and social/familial support in our house. He is saving to buy his own place, in the area. I would imagine he will be ready for that step, soon. In the meantime, he's been paying us rent since he landed his first career position after university. This is expected of him, not for us, his parents, but as part of being a responsible adult. He pays all of his own bills, otherwise, such as his car and insurance, any incidentals he may need, etc. He even goes on his own vacations, now.
Our daughters are still in college, full time. They work, full time in summers and part time during the academic year, depending on their course load for each quarter. They don't pay "rent" per se. However, they each give us the majority of their summer's earnings, every year, which is put into their university fund.
We, their parents, provide room and board, all school-related expenses, including bus to/from campus, family vacations, and many incidentals, such as laundry soap, shampoo, school supplies, admission to academic-related events and shows.
But they pick up the tab for clothing, cosmetics, hair cuts, movies out, gifts for others, transportation to non-school events, and food other than what I provide at home or family dinner's out. They haven't received an allowance since they turned 18.
Yeah, it's a hard reality. You celebrate your 18th birthday, and suddenly you have to foot the bill for all of the fun stuff in a young person's life.
After they graduate, they will be welcome to continue living with us, here, as they embark upon their career journeys. But they will be charged rent, as their brother has been, scaled to whatever they can earn in their chosen fields.
I think it's acceptable for a parent to financially help out their young adult children, by allowing them to live at home. But I also feel it's beneficial for the young person's emotional development, to charge rent and have their YA's paying their way, so to speak. There's a way to help our kids, without stunting them, emotionally. Requiring some financial responsibility from them, scaled to their abilities, is the route that we have chosen for our own YA's.
What do you think? Would you (or do you) allow your young adult children to live with you? Would you charge rent? How long are you comfortable allowing YA's to live at home?