How to Deal with Boomerang Kids
Mounting student loan and credit card debt, combined with a less than optimum job market for young adults, has created an increase in adult children returning home to live with their parents. Often referred to as “boomerang kids,” they are not always in a hurry to get out on their own and assume full financial responsibility for themselves. Here’s how you can help your adult children who are struggling financially, without enabling them.
Wait for the Them to Ask — If your child is struggling financially, it’s going to be tempting to rescue them by inviting them to come home. Try to fight that impulse and wait for them to ask, instead. That way, you know they’ve exhausted all other possible options and truly need your help, rather than taking what they know is an easy way out.
Establish Expectations Up Front — Experts agree, nothing is more important than establishing clear timelines and expectations for how the arrangement will proceed. Sit down with your child and review their current financial situation and how long it will realistically take to get back to the point where they can be on their own again. Reinforce that this is a temporary arrangement to help them save money and get ahead, not an indefinite free ride.
Insist on a Financial Contribution — Yes, your child is trying to save money and/or pay down debt, but that doesn’t mean they’re exempt from chipping in for food and household expenses. Even if it’s just a small weekly amount, if will help you offset the additional costs of having another person in the house. Plus, making that payment to you will help them stay accountable. If they have no money coming in, give them a list of household tasks to complete each week.
Put Your Financial Future First — It may sound harsh, but you shouldn’t put your own financial future in jeopardy to help an adult child. Do not give them access to your credit or debit cards. And by no means should you dip into your 401(k) or other retirement savings to bail them out. Allowing them a place to live while they take steps to become financially independent is contribution enough.
Encourage Them to Get Help — If your adult child is struggling with student loan payments or credit card debt, there is help available. Student Loan Counseling and Credit Counseling have helped thousands of young adults find their financial footing and regain their independence. Encourage your child to reach out and ask for the help they need.