Thursday, January 12, 2017

Financial Responsibility of My Adult Kids Living at Home

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?

28 comments:

  1. Very, well reasoned post. Totally agree with you in theory, but I have been weak in practice. Our children are in their late thirties and early forties, so not young adults anymore, but are entering middle age. They do not live at home with us, but there were occasions they lived with us briefly, between houses. We did not charge them a single penny. I think it is because my parents never asked me, and the help has always gone from parent to child no matter how old we are.

    Today, we live with my dad, and I forsee we will care for him as long as we can without being paid (I calculate a reimbursement of his food and personal expenses, and a third of other expenses like utilities and home/car maintenance). His money is being saved for his long term care in a hospital when we no longer can do the job. I guess I hope our children will oversee our care one day without being paid in this manner. At least I hope. But I've noticed it gets complicated when there are many children who need to share that responsibility, unlike one child like me who has to do it all for my aging parent. It is actually easier, since I don't need to negotiate responsibilities with anyone.

    That said, we have received a lot from my parents, and my parents from their parents, so I have a difficult time breaking with tradition and suddenly charging our children for what they receive as adults. But I can see that it makes good sense to charge rent and other expenses, as it fosters responsibility. However, I also see the economy getting tougher to survive each coming generation, so it also makes sense for the help to flow in that direction. Technology is hugely deflationary in a world that depends on inflation and growth to continue. This is why each successive generation is getting it tougher and there is the need to ramp up debt to keep inflation going, or we face a big collapse. I don't think we will escape a collapse, it's bound to happen. Next time, more cheap debt will not be enough to save us. So I tell myself, from the nineties, that we have to have our own private welfare system or family dynasty to insulate ourselves from outside economic pressures.

    Have a wonderful day!!

    YHF

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    1. Hi YHF,
      I agree, totally, about us needing to have a substantial savings for our own retired years. Already, SS isn't enough for many retirees. And with pension plans disappearing for the middle class, more and more folks working several jobs in their lifetime, often as contract employees and not being eligible for benefits like matching contributions to 401Ks, many people of retirement age will find their nest egg has much less purchasing power than they had planned. On top of this, so many middle age people were laid off in 2008-2009, and used large chunks of their retirement accounts to pay bills. This could happen in a large scale financial event, again in our lifetime. Not to sound doom and gloom, but we do need to take care of ourselves. Another benefit to having our kids live at home, longer, is that with any monies they do pay in rent in these years, that rent is staying in the family, so to speak. It comes back to them, eventually.

      I was one of the YA who moved back in with parents, after having been independent for a couple of years. My mother was ill with cancer, and I was one of her caregivers, after hours. She had a nurse during the day, and my role was to take care of her needs, and things like grocery shopping, after the nurse left. I had a full time job while the nurse was there. But this worked well for my mom and me. And I treasure the many hours I was able to sit and talk with her. I hope that if I have a great need like this, that one of my kids will have a flexible enough life to help me out.

      It's wise for you to do all you can for your dad, right now. Long-term care is very expensive and can drain any savings, quickly. He'll be able to afford his own care, when that time comes. And the bonus is you get to spend all of this time with him, now. Yes, it;s a mixed burden for you. While you have the full responsibility for his care, you also don't have to deal with family situations, when one grown child does much more than the rest, or squabbles over who did what arise.

      Have a great day, YHF!

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  2. We have one YA living with us now. After three years on his own, he is back because we have the space for a good workshop as he is trying to launch his horology career. Part of his agreed upon "rent" is cooking dinner every night. He's doing a good job with this, cooking both frugal and nutritious meals. He doesn't have much money for rent, so this is one way we have chosen for him to "pay" us. Of course, he is responsible for all of his expenses and living things like laundry, etc.

    Our other son lived with us a while until he could get a job good enough to support himself. This is a very high rent area also. The job he had didn't pay much, so we charged him 1/4 of his salary for rent. We came up with that figure because they say that housing should cost about 1/4 of what you make. With what he had left, he was able to save up for a deposit on an apartment. When he got his "real" job, we gave him three months to find a place and move. Not because we wanted him gone, but because it was the next step in "growing up" that he needed to take. Three years later, he is very responsible with his money and is doing great.

    When my kids were in college, they lived away from home. We helped with both tuition and room and board for them. They had good scholarships and summer jobs that greatly supplemented that. However, when they were out of school, we expected some financial responsibility from them. Not because we needed it, but because of the lesson it taught them. However, I have friends that don't charge rent because they want their kids to save their money faster, so they can move out faster. And others that put the rent money aside to help their kids with their first place. There's no right answer. It's whatever works for your family.

    Our generation would have never thought of living with our parents as long as our kids' generation does. So unless you're in the situation, it's hard for some to understand why they're still at home.

    I consider it my job as a parent to have my kids live an independent adult life. However, as a mother, I wouldn't mind if they lived with me indefinitely. They have grown into adults who are easy to live with and I like a lot. Oh, well. What I want is not always the best thing.

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    1. Hi live and learn,
      That sounds like a very good situation for you and Ward, plus for your son. I think any "rent" should be scaled to what the YA can actually afford, and that is what we will do with our daughters. And as I mentioned, I do know a young man trying to get his music career off the ground. His situation is similar to your son's.

      My son can afford more than what I anticipate my daughters will have the ability for. I would be happy to have my kids live with me forever, too. I love being with them and having them around.

      How has it been not having to cook dinners? I imagine that this "rent" is more valuable to you than the $$ would have been! And it's a very valuable skill that your son is tweaking, too.

      Have a great day, live and learn!

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    2. You know that cooking is not something I enjoy. This is definitely worth more than the money he could afford right now. Sometimes I spend time with him in the kitchen helping out, but he's in charge of the menu and the cooking.

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  3. All good comments so far.

    Our goal is that when the kids graduate from college they may live with us for one year, rent free, in order to pay down college loans. After that, they should find their own place to live or they may stay a while longer but then we charge rent. Our oldest did that and paid her student loans in about 16 months. She then moved to Honduras and is self-sustaining. Our next child graduates this coming May and he gets the same offer which I'm sure he will accept. I know that first jobs don't always work out and I'm ok with that. Our oldest cannot buy a place so when she comes "home" that is to our house to visit.

    We'll just see if this will work or not but I wouldn't want my kids out on the streets either. But I do know is that they will share in the responsibilities of our home if they live with us. That includes lawn care, snow shoveling, meals, laundry, house cleaning.

    Alice

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    1. Hi Alice,
      That sounds like a good situation for you and your kids, as well. You are giving them a hand-up by allowing them to pay off their debt, mostly, before moving out. Then they don't have the burden of affording rent and loan debt, together.

      My two daughters may have some student loans by the time they are done. It won't be a lot, but enough that living at home, while paying it off with the first year's salary, could really give them a jump-start financially. The cost of tuition has risen so much, since my husband and I were on college. My husband had a student loan that we were able to pay off within months.

      I suspect that your other kids will do great with what you offer them. It sounds like you have raised them all to be very responsible young adults.

      Have a great day, Alice!

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  4. Interesting post, Lili! I have all of this ahead of me yet, so it's good to think of how different scenarios would work out. I agree, when I graduated from college, it was a rare thing for young people to move back home. However, "norms" shift and I think that's ok. The Amish have a tradition of having a strong family network with housing for everyone in every age group and I think there are a lot of plusses to their approach of launching young people into adulthood.

    What I find interesting in the comments is a theme of having the YA somehow contribute to the running of the household, whether financially or with chores. I think the contribution aspect is vital--not just to "teach" adult skills, but to show the YA's that you have confidence they can handle adult responsibilities. As a young adult, I was eager to show that I could behave in a responsible manner and contribute as an adult--not having this experience would have left me feeling that the meaningful adults in my life didn't think I could handle being a grown-up. So, well done, all you parents! I hope I do as well when it's my turn!

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    1. Hi Kris,
      You're right about requiring the YA's to do something that gives back to the household. Hopefully they already have some basic skills to help in the household. But at this point in their lives, they need to see themselves as fully adult and responsible. In addition to "rent" from my son and daughters, everyone also has weekly cleaning chores for the public areas of the house, in addition to maintaining their own private spaces.

      I'm sure it will all go well, when your kids reach that stage, Kris. not too far for you, with your oldest. The time will fly so quickly!

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  6. You know, as a person who is child-free I find these conversations fascinating. From my "Martian's" perspective, I can't help but think that the whole idea of young adults living at home is an outgrowth of a much more fundamental societal shift, one that's really hard for me to put my finger on.

    People talk about Millennials as being "coddled" but I don't like the pejorative connotation of that word, plus I don't think it's an accurate description. I just think that society is adopting new norms when it comes to the parent-child relationship. In some ways parents have MUCH more involvement in and control over the day to day lives of their children - things like not allowing children to walk to school or play outside unsupervised. But at the same time, these days it's commonplace for people to put their infants into full time child care... something that would have been looked at as bordering on child abandonment when I was a kid.

    So I think the thing that surprises me most about the sorts of living arrangements that you describe is not the financial support that parents give to their kids, because I certainly received some financial help from my folks. What surprises me is the involvement that parents have in the day to day lives of their adult children... and the fact that the kids seem to welcome it rather than rebelling against it. I mean in my day it was not a question of how long you were allowed to live at home, it was more like how long until you could get the heck outta there and enjoy your freedom!

    Anyhow, I'm not really sure where I'm going with this, and I don't really have an opinion one way or another about when or how children should eventually take on the mantle of adulthood. But I do find the changing norms to be quite interesting, and I can't help but wonder what effect the changing role of the family unit will have on society at large.

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    1. EcoCatLady - Very perceptive comment, thanks for sharing.

      I wonder how much of this (greater involvement of parents in adult children's lives) is truly new versus a cycling back to the past? Or in the past was it more children supporting the parent(s) (e.g. a widowed mother supported by her adult children, as was the case for in the 1920s-1930s for some relatives of mine)?

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    2. That's an interesting observation. There's no question that in the past it was much more common for the extended family to live together under one roof, but I do think it was more likely to be parents living with married adult children rather than the other way around.

      It would be interesting to do a study looking at the concept of "adulthood" throughout history. I think I've heard that the whole idea of the "teenager" is a 20th century creation, and certainly if you look at the history of child labor laws it seems that in the past people entered the workforce at a much earlier age than they do today. Even when I was a kid, almost everyone I knew had a part-time job by high school and was responsible for their own spending money. And in my grandmother's day I think many, if not most people left school after the 8th grade and entered the workforce.

      So I don't really know what it all means. On the surface it looks like there's a general trend of delaying the onset of "adulthood" - but the reasons elude me... economic factors? more education required to enter the workforce? longer lifespans? the changing role/nature of marriage? I have no conclusions, but it does fascinate me.

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    3. My four children are considered "Generation X." They graduated university from 1993-2000. I think that I have seen a kind of cultural swing in societal and familial norms in that time. I look at younger nieces and nephews and feel their upbringing has been more shielded and somewhat less independent. My kids were probably at the tail end of the generations who rode bikes all day and went to parks, libraries etc. unaccompanied by parents (when old enough.) They all had their first jobs (not babysitting) by the time they were 14.

      In conclusion, I cannot put my finger on it all in today's world. I know that it IS going to be tough sometimes, and our children cannot be protected from all the darts and arrows life throws at them. They need to often find out the hard way that we, as parents, cannot always rescue them. But this makes them independent, hard workers and resourceful!

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    4. In other times and cultures, adult kids have lived with their parents, in the family home. An unmarried woman often lived with her parents, or a sibling as the spinster aunt. And I read about a region of Italy where it was common for grown men to live with their parents until he was married. There are different expectations of when a child will be completely independent from their parents, depending on family and culture.

      Part of this trend for YAs to live at home still could have something to do with increasing geographical mobility within our society. There is less of a sense of connection with others, as people leave jobs, leave their hometowns, don't marry or find significant others until later in life. YAs may be feeling more of an emotional need to stay connected to their family, as a social support.

      For whatever reason, families who choose to allow their YAs to live at home all seem to negotiate just how their YA will live as an adult.

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    5. Part of what I'm seeing happen (my kids are 11 and 13) in terms of summer/after-school jobs is that kids are so scheduled with activities, there isn't time for jobs. In our district, marching band practices start in May and take up 3-4 days of every week in the summer--and several nights per week in the autumn when school starts again. We don't currently have kids involved in organized sports, but that is also a huge time suck, especially for those kids on traveling teams. Academically, the big push is for kids to avoid the "summer set-back" so many districts are going to a year-round school system, which has huge implications for kids trying to get summer jobs--employers aren't super excited to hire someone for a summer job whose summer ends in July or early August. While I sympathize with school districts who are trying to get a piece of the financial pie by being academically competitive, I also fear that kids are missing out on learning life skills that come with employment. I started working summers when I was 15 (and I babysat before that) so by the time I entered college, I already had some good work skills, and I knew that I was required to help with my educational costs, so I was careful with my money. If kids are delaying work experiences until college or beyond, they are also delaying adult roles of earning an income, managing that income, and learning to work with others who may have a very different viewpoint on life.

      All to say ... personally, I see nothing wrong with YA's living at home for an extended time if they are contributing to the finances and running of the household, but I think we do them a disservice when we as parents don't help them learn to navigate living as responsible adults (which looks different for every family). I think it's helpful for kids to gradually take on the mantle of adulthood, which is why I am hoping we can avoid some of the crazy busy-ness in our world and have the kids work at summer jobs in high school. Anyway, sorry for blathering on--this is definitely an interesting topic. :)

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    6. Kris, it's also nearly impossible to get a part time job, if you're under 18, in many places. My daughters had a tough time landing a summer job at age 18. Then we discovered a connection with someone from our church who also is in the position to hire students on campus for summer employment. My girls put in so many applications, and each had 1 interview, with no offers. Many of the jobs that used to go to teens now are going to adults who are working extra jobs to boost income, or have been laid off and are taking low level jobs just to pay the bills. The plentitude of typical teen jobs is gone, it would seem. And with schools moving to the year round calendar, that makes them no longer available for day shifts in summer, as they used to be.

      I think that as circumstances change with time, we are each having to craft our own plans from scratch. What I am very thankful for, though, is that my kids are all very mature and conduct themselves in ways that make them a joy to live with. If they were troublesome YAs, I might be feeling differently about allowing them to continue living here.

      I know, it is an interesting topic.

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    7. These are all really interesting points, some of which I never would have considered. I think it all does point to something much bigger and more complicated than the stereotypical "kids are just lazy these days" answer that we so often hear.

      Anyhow, Lili - I think that your kids are sooo lucky to have such a supportive family, but also a place where these sorts of issues can be openly discussed, and where all of these decisions are so carefully considered and thought through. So much of the family communication in my youth was done through the "it's just understood" method - which was... well, let's just say less than ideal. I think you're providing them with such a solid foundation, and I know they'll be grateful as the years pass.

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    8. Thanks, Cat. The frustrating thing about being a parent is that there's no training for it. We all start out as newbies in parenting. And by the time we get the hang of it, our kids are fully grown. There are no expert parents, out there, still actively parenting children.

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    9. Interesting about the lack of jobs for teens in your area. We live in an area known both for tourism as well as for agriculture. Seasonal ice cream shops, park facilities, and a large amusement park are popular options for teen jobs, although, as you say, when the economy is tight, those jobs are taken over by adults looking for income. A lot of the manual labor jobs for agriculture (picking cherries, asparagus, etc.) are staffed by Mexican immigrants who summer here and live in housing on the grounds of the farms. These are typically low paying positions. I don't know how many local kids try to get agricultural jobs in the summer--I imagine if they can get higher pay elsewhere, that's where they choose to work. We have noticed that these also seem to be family-owned and operated positions--one of the last bastions of the "family business" where everyone pitches in.

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    10. Oops, not immigrants, seasonal workers.

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  7. I think this is a touchy subject and one my husband & I spent years talking about before we even got to the point of having an adult child at home.

    Because we made the choice early on to homeschool, it has been our intention to disciple our children in ways that might not work for other families. That's not to say that our way is the "right" way. We are certainly far from perfect parents and are still figuring all of this out. Our end goal is to shoot out all of our arrows. We want them to be critical thinkers, independent learners and hard workers. We've seen too many "free-loading" children that are a drain on their parents well into their adult years and we don't want to repeat that mistake.

    We are just getting started on this journey with an adult living at home. Our 21 yr. old daughter is currently living with us. She stayed with us through cosmetology school & through her apprenticeship. This was a self-imposed apprenticeship. She agreed to work with a couple of experts in her field as their assistant so that she could learn what they don't teach in beauty school. She was able to take this opportunity to work for reduced pay because she is living at home.

    She bought her own used car with cash this past fall. She buys all of her own gas, car repairs, clothes & most all of her own personal hygiene products. She has paid for all of her own business licenses, her accountant fees (associated with setting up a business) and the advertising she has chosen to pursue in the marketing of her business. She has also paid for several continuing ed classes. She bought her own cell phone (on which she books nearly all of her clients), but she is on our family cell plan. She will also have to start paying her own car insurance soon, as we have another driver coming up in the family (a male, at that). She is going on a trip to Israel this spring and will pay for that herself.

    In return for her living here, she helps quite a lot around the house. Her weekly chores include cleaning all 3 of the bathrooms, cleaning the kitchen sink and folding all of the laundry. She also helps with cooking and with her younger siblings when she is home.

    Our daughter is doing very well in her chosen field because her training has been so good. Right now, she's saving as much money as she can (with the exception of the Israel trip), so that she can buy a house at some point.

    As far as our other kids go, we plan to take each on a case-by-case basis. We've learned that we have to be flexible :) Each kid is so very different. Cookie cutter parenting doesn't work very well. Melissa

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    1. Hi Melissa,
      You're right, this is different for each child and each family. As a touchy subject, I feel that there are many families whose adult children do still live at home, but we don't talk about it as much, as we feel some pressure from other opinions against our choices. (did that make sense?)

      Getting established in a career is seeming to take much more time and more than just the schooling. As with your daughter, there's an apprenticeship, which fell out of favor in history, but is seeing a resurgence. And that takes some time. One of my daughters is an at major. She will work however she can, commercially, in her field, but she also may want to use some of her time apprenticing with an illustrator. There are some careers which don't transition as well directly out of college.

      There is something our YAs who still live at home are continuing to gain, that they wouldn't, as much if they were living in an apartment by themselves. These YAs, are still functioning in a household of several people and contributing to the care of others and the home. It does take a certain amount of responsibility and flexibility to continue caring for others, daily, as your daughter does with helping with the children at home and getting meals for others. It's a further lesson in time management, if you are expected to help with meals and upkeep of a large house, while also getting your career underway. It really isn't all coddling, as it may look like from the outside.

      I suspect that your daughter will do well in life, because she has two very loving and responsible parents to follow by example.

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    2. Yeah. I don't talk about it a whole lot :) It was an intentional decision made between my husband, myself & our daughter.

      In the case of our daughter, she just finished that apprenticeship & tried to find a somebody to replace her. The girl she had lined up decided she couldn't afford to work for reduced pay. That's the reality for lots of people.

      Our daughter had a distinct advantage in that she got top-notch training & in the end, that will garner her more clients (at better pricing). She wouldn't have had that opportunity if she would have been paying for apartment rent.

      My husband & I have realized over the years how much our parents helped us in similar ways & how we are in a much better position because of it. Not that we have been free-loaders, but God has showered us with blessings & sometimes that came via our parents giving us a hand-up (via volunteering to babysit, teach homeschool science, not charge us for dental visits (my dad), etc.) That's the type of help I want to give our kids. Melissa

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    3. Melissa, I think we each give our kids "help" in different ways. There aren't a lot of families, out there, who still have family businesses that the kids enter, as it once was. So we find our own ways to offer assistance to our grown kids as they enter careers. One of the areas your family and mine has been able to give "help" has been through a stable place to live for our grown kids.
      My parents, when they were newly married, but still very, very young, had my grandmother offering to help with small children, or stay with us kids while my parents had a holiday. As a bonus, I had the opportunity to really get to know my grandmother. And now, with allowing our grown kids to live with us, I feel we are really getting a chance to know our kids as adults, to hear their opinions on matters, and to see how they handle different circumstances. I think it all comes down to attitude. There are definitely some YA's who feel entitled to everything. But then again, there are some YA's who truly get that what their parents do for them is a blessing, and not owed to them.

      Have a great weekend, Melissa!

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  8. We have four children who graduated from college in the 90's. All four lived on campus at their respective universities. Three of our children (two sons and a daughter) were Army ROTC in college and were commissioned as officers upon graduation. They immediately entered the army and never lived with us. Our older daughter moved in with us for 6 months after graduation. She found her first job, (not the best paying one!), and we did not charge her room or board for those months. She was able to secure a car then and deposits for a studio apt. in our city of Minneapolis.

    So our children really basically left home at 18! Granted, I know that costs have risen since then. Our older daughter's first studio apt. was $435/month, but she only made $8/hr. though. All four have gone on to earn a master in their chosen field. The three ROTC fulfilled their military duty, and the older son made it his career. All four are homeowners, and we are grandparents now. The best part!

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    1. Hi Isabella, (I love your name, BTW)

      I think your situation is a good example of how our children and us, as their parents, can make different choices, and still achieve high levels of responsibility and maturity, as young adults. There isn't one right way. But there are basic guidelines that help, whichever way the family decides, such as requiring responsibility for themselves and their actions.

      When I was looking into apartments in the city for my daughters, I was recalling my own living situation, when I was single in Seattle. I lived in the U-district, in a tiny studio apartment. I paid all utilities separate from rent. My rent was $215/month for a studio, and I was earning about $1000/month, in a very low level job. So, my rent in the city, back then was about 21% of my income. On the income my daughters could earn right now, in a low level job, the cheapest studio apartment would cost about 40% of their gross income, and the rent would not cover any utilities. So, in the city of Seattle, at least, the cost of rent has risen substantially, in comparison to when I was a YA.

      This has been a voter concern in Seattle for the last 10 years. It's become unaffordable for a minimum wage employee to live remotely near their place of employment. We don't have a subway system here, mostly buses, with the beginning of light rail being built. So getting into the city, from the more affordable suburbs is expensive, both time and money.

      My daughters take 3 buses (and 2 hours) each way to get to campus. That's what prompted me to check into apartments near school for them. And driving to the city isn't a great alternative for most employees, as parking is so expensive, now in the city. I don't even drive to the city when I have business in town, but take the buses.

      I'm rambling on, because this is such a frustration. I appreciate your experience in this discussion, as someone whose children moved out at age 18. I like hearing how this has played out in other families.

      Have a great weekend, Isabella!

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    2. I, too, lived in the U district during college. I recall our rent (split 3 ways) was $800/mo. We 3 female roommates each had our own bedroom.

      My total tuition cost for the U of W (one scholarship covered cost of books for 1 qtr.) was $25,000 for all 4 years. What a difference 20ish years makes! Melissa

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I'm so glad that you stopped by today. Please comment, and let me know what you're thinking.