Most people enjoy their kids’ company, but when it comes to adult children living at home there often comes a time when they overstay their welcome.
Family togetherness is fine, but it’s possible to get too much of a good thing. When your adult kids are old enough to live on their own, letting them remain at home can be a drain on your finances. Also, you and your significant other may be looking forward to the privacy that goes along with having an empty nest. Having your progeny live off of you beyond their high school and college years is far from the ideal living situation for most people.
If you aren’t happy being housemates with your grown children, here’s how to (gently) give them the boot.
Have a Heart-to-Heart Conversation
Convincing an adult child that it’s time to leave home begins with a frank discussion, says Bruce A. Sanders, a financial advisor in Alpharetta, GA.
“There needs to be an adult conversation concerning the child’s responsibility that should include financial and household chores,” says Sanders. “What effort is being made on the part of the child to search for a job?”
Sanders suggests having your child come up with a plan for establishing a revenue stream and finding new accommodations. Financial expert Dave Ramsey, author of “Smart Money Smart Kids,” says it’s important to help your children develop an exit strategy for becoming independent. Encourage them to set realistic financial goals that they can achieve before heading back out on their own again. One primary goal could be saving up for a down payment for a car or a security deposit for their own apartment.
Set a Deadline
Ramsey recommends setting a deadline, such as six months, for your adult child’s departure. You also can begin collecting a rental fee. You can return the money to your child when he or she becomes independent. Until then, require that your child work and actively search for another place to live.
“I know it’s hard, but in order to be successful adults, they must learn to take care of themselves,” Ramsey says.
You may be able to speed the process by teaching your children how to successfully live on their own. Show them how to create a household budget. Take them to the supermarket and teach them how to shop for bargains. Help them determine all the living expenses they will face when they leave your home, including grocery bills, rental fees, and utility costs. It might also make sense to help them get a credit card and show them how to responsibly build credit.
Another strategy is to make it more appealing to leave your home than to remain. One way to do this is to tighten the purse strings. You can provide money for your child’s basic necessities, but make your child responsible for all the extras, such as clothing, food items, the maintenance of their car, and entertainment expenses.
Recognize Economic Pressures
When children are slow to leave their parents’ home, it may not entirely be their fault. The Pew Research Center reports that in 2016 15 percent of people between age 25 and 35 were living with their parents’ home, compared to 10 percent of the same age group in 2000 and 8 percent in 1964.
One reason for the trend is ongoing problems with the economy. Living independently has become more difficult. In a survey of American workers released in June 2018 by Transamerica, 56 percent of those questioned said they had not yet fully recovered financially from the Great Recession, which lasted from late 2007 to mid-2009. Thirty-seven percent said they had somewhat recovered and 12 percent said they had not yet begun to bounce back. Seven percent said a full recovery might never happen.
Stick to the Plan
Once you set a timeline for your adult child’s departure, you shouldn’t waiver, says Sanders. Your kids need to know that you mean what you say.
“Parents love their children and want them to be successful and to help them in every way that they can, but an open-ended timeline with no accountability and no family responsibilities with regard to shared work duties and finances is not a benefit to any child,” he says.
Telling your grown-up kids that its time to move out doesn’t have to be bad news. Helping your adult children live independent lives can be a positive experience for them and yourself, Sanders says. Rather than throwing your kids out of your house before they’re ready, you’ll be helping them learn how to take care of themselves. If they know that you have their best interests at heart, the process may strengthen your relationship.
“This can be a very constructive, informative time for parents and children to get to know each other and work together to accomplish a common goal,” he says.