6 Topics to Discuss Before Your New Grad Moves Back In
Spring is a beautiful time of year. The flowers blooming, the fresh air, the recent college grads moving back home… wait, what?
Many young adults are moving back in with parents after graduating. This is mostly for economic reasons; low entry-level salaries and high student loans can make moving back home a necessity while recent graduates gain their financial footing. And thanks to the pandemic and shortage of affordable housing, there are more fledgling adults living with parents than ever.
No matter the reason your new grad is returning to their childhood home, it’s important to set boundaries and communicate them clearly to make the transition as smooth as possible for everyone involved. A little common courtesy will go a long way toward making cohabitating a pleasant experience for you and your new grad. These tips can help parents and their “boomerang” kids adjust to their new normal.
1. Curfews & Schedules
Although your new roomie probably hasn’t had a curfew in several years, it’s easy for parents to fall back into old habits of treating their recent graduate like a high-schooler. Instead of telling your adult child when they need to be home, respect their independence and just ask them to let you know if they have plans to sleep elsewhere, so you don’t stay up late worrying about their whereabouts.
Similarly, they’ll need to be mindful of your schedule and your established routines. So, if you have a book club meeting at your house every Friday night, make sure to let them know so they don’t invite their friends over for game night at the same time.
Posting a family calendar in a central location like the kitchen can be helpful, too. That way everyone will easily be able to see who’s doing what and when.
Deciding whether or not to charge your recently returned young adult rent is a personal matter. If your household budget can’t support another person, they’ll have to contribute financially in order to help make ends meet. On the other hand, if you don’t actually need the money to help cover expenses, you can always charge them “rent” and save the money for their future use instead – say, to help with a security deposit on their first apartment.
Even if it’s a nominal amount, charging your new graduate rent is also a great way to help them learn how to budget. American Heritage's Online Teller includes free money management tools to help your son or daughter track expenses and set savings goals. For example, if they’re saving for a down payment for their first home, the My Money Manager tool can help them figure out how much they’ll need to save from each paycheck and how long it will take to reach their goal.
Consider how meals will be handled once your grad moves back home – will you still do all the grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning up like you did when they were younger? Or will they be treated more like a roommate, responsible for buying and preparing their own meals and snacks? If the latter, make sure your boomeranger is aware so they can budget for food expenses.
4. Laundry & Cleaning
This is another area where it helps to determine in advance whether you’ll resort to your previous parent-child dynamics, or if your young adult will be expected to do their own laundry and clean up after themselves. Setting clear expectations upfront will help you avoid nagging them to pick up their dirty socks like you used to.
5. Guest Policy
Make sure everyone is on the same page about your household’s guest policy, especially for overnight visitors. It’s better to discuss this before their return home to avoid any awkward surprises, like running into an unexpected guest while grabbing a glass of water in the middle of the night.
6. Mental Health Matters
Although some adult children intentionally move back in with their parents temporarily – until they start their dream job or move for grad school – others may do so out of necessity. If they don’t earn sufficient income to live on their own and support themselves, their move back home may turn into an extended stay.
The failure to launch phenomenon may result in negative mental health effects for your adult child, such as depression or anxiety about the future. Regular check-ins can help you keep an eye on your grad’s mental state, and family meetings can help motivate them to set (and reach) attainable goals.
Personalized Financial Education
As a not-for-profit credit union, American Heritage is here to support our members throughout their financial journey, at every stage of life. Help your adult child gain financial independence with The Learning Center, which offers free financial wellness resources on budgeting, building credit, and other key money management topics.