If your recent college grad has moved back home, you’re not alone. A poll of 2,000 new grads, conducted by CollegeGrad.com and reported on ThirdAge.com, indicates that more than 80 percent of 2010 grads expect to move back home after graduation: 11.5 percent say it’s just for the summer, but a whopping 68.9 percent say it’s until they find a job.
Not having a job lined up (and 70 percent of college grads are in that category) is just one of many financial reasons for joining these growing numbers of “boomerang kids.” Other reasons? Many new grads have crushing educational debts, the job market is challenging, starting salaries are lower than in years-gone-by, and San Francisco is the second most expensive rental market in the nation.
There are emotional reasons for moving home as well. Today’s college grads belong to the Millennial generation, “the most adult-supervised generation in American history,” according to Chuck Underwood of the Generational Imperative. As a result, they have closer ties to their parents than Gen X. Since many grads are so at ease in their parents’ home, there’s not a real sense of urgency to fly the nest and be independent.
What do you do when your adult kid eats your food, drinks your beer, sleeps all day and stays up all night paying video games? Behavioral experts have plenty of advice, but most agree that a few clearly defined rules will help everyone set expectations.
Here are some tips:
Establish a timetable. Even if the schedule changes, time limits for living with Mom and Dad will motivate your child in the job search process.
Define the house rules. College kids are used to doing what they want, but this is your house. Talk about what you expect in regard to household chores, overnight guests, curfews, etc.
It’s OK to charge rent. If your adult-child is able to contribute to household costs, it’s fine to ask monthly rent. Should you not really need reimbursement, consider collecting “rent”, investing it toward a starter nest egg for the day your grad is ready to move on.
Make your grad work. While your grad is searching for the perfect job, they find a “survival” job. This is another important “reality of life” lesson that will benefit grad and parents alike.
Avoid slipping into old roles. Both parties should create an atmosphere of mutual respect: kids need to take responsibility for their own well-being (including laundry!) and parents should encourage independence. Relax and enjoy getting to know your child as an adult.