As Americans continue to struggle with the economic effects of the ongoing pandemic, many adult kids are moving back in with their parents to save money. This follows a similar trend during the Great Recession when so-called “boomerang kids” needed to move home after graduating from college into a sub-optimal job market. For most, the move home will be a temporary solution, with the goal of returning to financial independence as quickly as possible. Let’s take a look at how parents and adult kids can navigate living together during the pandemic.
It’s important for everyone to be on the same page about the financial aspects of the arrangement. If your child still has income, are you expecting them to pay rent or contribute to the food budget? What about utilities, internet, and other everyday expenses? If they’re not bringing home a paycheck, decide how they can chip in with household chores or home improvement projects. Whatever you decide, be sure to communicate your expectations clearly and reinforce them to minimize misunderstandings.
Don’t Neglect Your Financial Future
If you have adult children, you’re inching closer to retirement. Don’t let this new arrangement derail those plans. Continue contributing to retirement savings to keep your future plans on track. If you need to suspend retirement contributions for a few months to replenish emergency savings or make up for a cash shortfall, that’s fine. Just be sure to resume contributions as soon as possible. On a related note, you’ll only want to borrow against your retirement savings as a last resort.
Help Them Find Their Footing
Now that your kids are back under your roof for a while, you can help them plan for the future they’d like to have. If they’re open to having the conversation, talk about what they’d like for their future and the importance of saving and planning to make that happen. Keep in mind, their employment trajectory will likely be quite different from yours. It may involve a series of changes, rather than sticking with one company or career for the long haul.
Give Each Other Space
Everyone is dealing with a lot of unknowns at the moment, which can cause tensions to run high. Don’t expect your parent/child relationship to take on the old rhythms. Now is your chance for you and your adult children to really get to know each other again. Give each other the space and time you need to adjust to this new arrangement, and remember, it’s only temporary.