It’s more difficult than ever for young adults to afford to move out of the family home. For starters, renting a property requires significant up-front fees and sizable monthly payments in most cases. It’s unlikely that individuals just starting out in their careers would have the means to achieve this.
Furthermore, many people aged 18-25 choose to pursue an undergraduate degree or college education – meaning they’ll only have time for part time jobs which often do not pay enough to enable them to afford rent, bills, food, transport and other living expenses.
If you’re the parent or guardian of an adult who has not yet been able to find or afford their own place and therefore has to stay with you, life can be pretty stressful – whether you’d otherwise be on your own or living with a partner. It means that you’ll have to share your home and pretty much everything in it with another fully grown individual with their own tastes, preferences, priorities and schedules – and this can lead to some serious bust-ups and a strain on relationships. In this article, we’ll look at how you can keep your adult child at home for as long as is required without losing your sense of freedom or the enjoyment of your own space.
1. Share Chores Evenly
It’s a good idea to include your children on a rotation of household tasks from an early age to teach them how to care for their surroundings and take responsibility for their space. At a certain point, perhaps when they reach school-leaving age, you should consider sharing the household duties evenly.
After all, they, you and your live-in partner are all fully grown adults making equal use of the family home. Not only will this teach them a valuable lesson about pulling their weight, but you won’t have to run around after them cleaning up their mess as if they were still a young child. The arrangement is likely to make your relationship more of a balanced partnership.
2. Consider Charging Rent
It’s important for your adult child to realize that it costs money to host them and that, if they lived elsewhere, it’s likely that they would be paying rent or contributing towards a mortgage. In fact, many of their peers will indeed be doing so right now. In order to teach them about money management – and to relieve some of your own financial pressure when it comes to feeding and supporting them – it might be worth asking them to pay their way while they stay with you.
You should take into account how much they earn, however, so you don’t bankrupt them; it’s important for them to be able to start saving so that they can one day afford to move out and live comfortably. Don’t try to make a profit from your child’s rent money. It’s best to calculate how much it costs you to have them staying with you and then charge them a suitable portion of that, so you’re not too heavily out of pocket.
3. Free Up Monthly Expenses
The financial strain of supporting another adult can have a significant impact on your personal budget. After all, if you’re providing a college education for your child, those repayments may have already started, where you’re feeling the burden month over month.
It’s possible to refinance Parent PLUS loans you have taken out, with a new private lender like Earnest – which may mean a change to the interest rates and repayments for which you are responsible – helping you to save money on your monthly expenses.
In addition, whether it’s refinancing your mortgage to take advantage of low-market interest rates is a great way to save hundreds per month, depending on your current interest rate. You may even need to cut the cable cord or cancel the gym membership to continue to build in a cushion.
4. Set Schedules and Boundaries
Arguments are less likely when both parties have come to a clear agreement in advance. Is your adult child always hogging the living room when you want to spend time in there? Why not arrange a schedule that covers when they can use it, when you can use it and when is shared time? Struggling with only one bathroom? Perhaps one of you could shower in the mornings and the other in the evenings?
It might also be helpful if members of the household take it in turns to cook for one another in order to share this duty and make things easier for yourselves. Those who haven’t cooked can then wash and clear away the dishes. There should be some scope for flexibility, but try to ensure that anyone wanting to change the schedule does so with reasonable notice.
If you can, both you and your child should try to enjoy periods out of the house at different times. This means that you’ll each be able to have the entire space to yourselves occasionally. Remember, it’s not just you who needs a little space sometimes. Try to take into account their possible frustrations as well as your own.
5. Give Them Autonomy
In most cases, it’s likely that your adult child is also struggling with a lack of freedom and a sense of reduced autonomy when it comes to their life and daily activities. Try to treat them as a roommate rather than a child. We recommend avoiding the use of curfews, pocket money and any other arrangements you might have with a child once they reach school leaving age – particularly if they have a job of their own.
While it is your home, the more they contribute to the running of everything, the more freedom and flexibility they should be allowed. It’s important that they have their own key and know where everything is when it comes to cooking and cleaning. Of course, you’re still their parent or guardian. If they come to you for help or advice, hear them out sympathetically and try to assist them.
If they ask you to lend them money, you should feel free to help them out – just lay out clear rules and insist that they pay you back within a certain period. Trust them and try not to micromanage them, and you’ll find that they’ll grow in independence and confidence and won’t rely on you so much. This will help everyone involved to feel a little freer.