I’ve just read an article that has got me absolutely fuming. It’s not new — in fact, it’s from 2007 (which means it was written *before* the current economic crisis).
The article is entitled “Twentysomething: Be responsible, go back home after college,” and its entire point is that college grads should move home after college to save money, give themselves time to adjust to the real world and avoid having to take a job that doesn’t jive with their life goals.
Sure, moving home with parents after college can be a great help, and can provide much needed support for emerging adults — both emotional and financial. I moved back home myself after graduating, and stayed for 8 months. At the time, I never thought about what my stay was costing my parents, though I did contribute to the household as much as I could by doing chores, cooking, and so on. Ryan, likewise, seems to miss entirely that the decision to move home impacts anyone other than the adult child. Here are a couple of choice quotes:
By moving home after graduation, you have little or no rent which allows for more freedom when searching for a job. There is no need to sell out to an investment bank if your real goal is to work with underprivileged children. Depending on where your parents are located, you are probably missing out on the big city night life and social scene, but you have lots of opportunities to find the perfect job, regardless of pay. If ditching the social scene for career sake doesn’t demonstrate responsibility and independence, I don’t know what does.
… moving home with mom and dad will immediately save you about $700 a month in housing costs. At least there is some extra cash flow. In two years, you can save up enough to move out on your own without worrying about going into credit card debt for basic necessities like fixing your car or buying groceries.
… Rather than focus on rent, bills and kids, emerging adults living at home with their parents have the ability to focus on the most important aspects of emerging adult life: figuring out who they are and what career is right for them.
The basic facts here are all true. But if this is how your adult child living at home sees the arrangement of living in your home, you’re in trouble. If there is no understanding that it is costing you real dollars to house an extra person in your home (for things like food, gas, heat, electricity, and so on), and that it may actually impact your lifestyle as well as your adult child’s, the ground is set for misunderstandings that will lead to resentment and damaged relationships. This is one of many reasons why it’s vitally important to work out both a living agreement (or contract) and a family budget before your adult child moves home.
To read Ryan’s entire article, click here. I’d be interested to know if it gets you as riled up as it did me. If you have an adult kid who views living with you as Ryan does, check out my article on how to avoid the top 5 mistakes made by parents with adult children living at home.