From “The Kids Move Back In: Secrets to Saving Your Sanity (Hint: Cash)” by Vanessa McGrady:
“The short answer is that there is no one approach that works for every family. That said, I do think it’s important for all adult children to make a regular financial contribution to the household , for a couple of reasons,” said Christina Newberry, an expert on adult children living at home. “First, it acknowledges that the parent is taking on extra costs to have them there. Second, it keeps the adult child in the mindset of having a monthly financial responsibility, which is how things will be once the adult child is out on their own. And third, it’s actually good for the adult child’s self-esteem when they feel like a contributing member of the household.”
Canadian parents are finding a way to get the adult children out of their homes — they’re willing to help adult kids with a down payment for their first homes. According to a new report from the Bank of Montreal: “On average, one third of first timers (30 per cent) expects parents or family to assist in their purchase. However, this percentage rises to 40 per cent in Montreal and Vancouver.”
Sal Guatieri, Senior Economist for BMO Capital Markets said, “High prices in a few major cities, and the fact that prices are outrunning incomes in Toronto, are turning off some first-time buyers, while forcing others to go deeper into debt, tap their parents for hefty down payments, and opt for a condo rather than a detached house.”
For context, the average first home in Canada costs $316,100. That means even a 5% down payment is almost $16,000 – a tough amount for a young person to save. So, would you help your adult kids with a down payment?
Would you help your kids with a down payment on a home?
My advice was featured today in an article by allParenting:
Christina Newberry is the author of The Hands-On Guide to Surviving Adult Children Living at Home and founder of the site Adult Children Living at Home. She says, “I paid my own college tuition through scholarships and part-time jobs and my parents took care of most of my housing expenses for the first two years. While what I did would likely not be possible with current tuition rates, I am a firm believer that it’s a good idea for kids to have a financial stake in their college education by paying at least some of their own tuition. Having some ‘skin in the game’ helps them take their years at school more seriously and feel a sense of ownership for their education. Similarly, if students are living with their parents to save money while attending school, I recommend they pay some kind of rent — even if it’s only a token amount or if the payment comes in the form of doing extra chores around the house. This all helps with the transition from childhood to adulthood and starts to create realistic expectations about what’s required to survive in the real world.”
Online lender NetCredit.com has created an interesting infographic packed with stats about the costs of post-secondary education and how those costs impact student debt.
I’m not surprised to see that 28% of the average student’s college costs are paid for out of their parents’ income and savings. (Though I do encourage all students to pay for as much of their own schooling as they can to give themselves a sense of ownership and a meaningful stake in their own success.)
I am concerned to see, though, that 9% of the average student’s college costs are paid for through parent borrowing. That means the parents, not the students, are taking on loans to pay for college. Let’s hope those parents are being paid back!
Take a look at the infographic below for some other interesting stats and some tips on paying loans back after graduation.
I’m often asked what’s the #1 most important thing parents need to do when figuring out and planning how to deal with the financial costs of adult children living at home. Here’s my answer:
The most important thing parents can do when planning for adult children to move home is sit down and work out a family budget that documents their living expenses. Then, make a best-guess estimate about how those expenses will be impacted by the adult child’s move back home. Expenses like food, electricity, gas, and insurance will likely all increase. Share this information with the adult child so that they understand their financial impact on the household — many adult children are under the mistaken impression that their stay at home is “free” for everyone. Talk about how the adult child can contribute to the additional expenses.
I recommend all adult children living at home pay some rent, partly to offset the
additional expenses, but also to maintain the routine of having a monthly financial responsibility and to help maintain their self-esteem as a contributing member of the household. If they have no income at all, they can earn their rent by contributing manual labor around the house, especially to tasks the parents would otherwise have paid for, like washing the car, painting the garage, and so on.
And one key thing: Parents should never put their own financial well-being in jeopardy to support an adult child. Adult children have many more earning years ahead of them than their parents, who may be struggling to save for retirement.
I wanted to share this excellent infographic from BillShrink.com. It provides a great look at Americans’ spending and saving habits, along with some thoughts on why it’s become so easy to spend and so hard to save. Some of these reasons (lifestyle maintenance, instant gratification, using plastic instead of real money, avoiding the truth, and keeping up with the Joneses) often combine to leave young adults in a bit of a financial mess… which is one reason why they may end up back on their parents’ doorstep. Some great food for thought here, and some potential topics to discuss with your adult kids as part of your budgeting process for their stay at home.
I tend to get asked the same questions over and over by both parents and reporters, so this week, I’m posting answers to these common questions here on the blog. I hope you find these Q&As helpful. If you have your own question you’d like to see answered on the blog, please leave it in the comments or send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s question: Should adult children living at home pay rent?
Answer: Every family will need to work out a budget to determine how much the child should pay, but I definitely encourage parents to charge rent of some sort. It will not likely be market rent, as the adult child is probably living at home to save money. But there should be some sort of financial contribution for a couple of reasons. First, it realistically costs money to have the adult child live at home in terms of added heat, electricity, food, and so on. Second, it helps the adult child get into the pattern of having a monthly bill to pay, which they will when they eventually manage to move out. And third, it’s actually helpful to the child’s self-esteem to make a financial contribution to the household. Make sure to put a budget together so the adult child can understand their financial impact on the household, or they may end up under the mistaken impression that it’s free for the parents to have them live there.
Reuters has published an excellent article with tips on how to claim your adult children on your taxes if they are your dependents. They advise that determining whether your adult children qualify as dependents can be like “threading a needle in dim light.” But each dependent can cut your taxable income by $3,700 or more. Essentially, if you are paying 50% or more of your adult child’s expenses, it is worth reading the Reuters article to get the details, even if you adult child is not living at home. You can find the Reuters article here: Tax tips for the sandwich generation
Reuters has an article that all parents with adult children living at home should read before sending off their taxes. According to the article, low-income adult children could save you up to $6000 in taxes. That’s a significant savings that will make a big dent in the extra expenses your adult child is adding to your household! You can read the article by clicking here.
Today, I provided some key tips for a story on Reuters.com about how boomerang kids moving back home can impact your budget. Here’s a quote from the article that all parents thinking about welcoming boomerang kids back home should keep in mind:
“There’s a misconception from the adult children’s side, and sometimes from the parent’s side as well, that it’s free to have the adult child come and live at home as long as the room is there and available. That’s just not true,” Newberry says.
You can read the whole article on Reuters.com here.