Bungee kids, boomerang kids, pogo sticks that go up and down, and out and in, and can never seem to make a decision. My generation must really frustrate our parents. Back in the day, kids just left home. They got married, started their own families, lived down the street or in the next town and everyone was happy.
These days, just when you’ve started getting comfortable with the idea of being an empty nester, when you’ve started mentally redecorating a room that looks like it housed a five year old, and when you think you’ve tearfully waved goodbye your last departing car, they turn up on your doorstep again. Bag in hand, slightly embarrassed expression on their face, there they are.
Believe me, I know, being a bungee kid myself. With a degree under my belt, I sailed confidently into this great world known as Real Life only to find a communications degree didn’t really seem to have employers begging me to come work for them. Instead, at 22, I ended up back home. Luckily my parents are the forgiving type, and don’t seem to resent another mouth to feed too much even though my mother has asked me to take my socks out of my stockings when I abuse her laundry kindness.
So what do you do when your kid wants to move home? And how can you afford it? Thanks to the MSN Money article for some great suggestions here.
Be honest about the financials costs to you
When your kid moves home, for whatever reason, make sure you are clear about what the financial expectations are. If you’re happy to field the bills until they find work, then that’s fine, but be clear about what you are and aren’t willing to pay. After all, they aren’t teenagers any more. They’ve lived in situations where they have had to pay bills, so don’t revert to the days before they were independent.
The same goes for chores. These people are adults, and they should make the same contribution they would make in any other adult house. Cooking and cleaning for them is not your responsibility, and certainly shouldn’t be something that takes away from your time. Your kids might also be able to fix things you couldn’t, or organise items you don’t know about, and save you money in that sense.
Honesty is the key in all of this. As long as everyone is on a relatively similar wavelength, you will forestall a lot of imminent problems.
Talk about money more often
Families talk about lots of things these days- sex, drugs, alcohol. Yet somehow money has retained an air of stigma about it. Do you know how much your children earn, how much they save and how much debt they are in?
Do they know these things about you? Being open about your finances reduces the potential of misunderstandings and the spectre of the pear shape in the distant future.
Don’t sabotage yourself and your own finances
Of course, we all want to save our children. We want them to be happy and safe, and offering them a roof is one of the most important aspects of this. But beyond that, make sure you think long and hard about taking money out of your savings or retirement fund.
It’s an important lesson- that you can’t bail them out each and every time and they have to solve their own financial problems. Sabotaging your retirement isn’t going to help anyone in the long run.