September Blues:
Coping With the Financial and Emotional Impact of Adult Children Living at Home After Graduation

By Christina Newberry

September is traditionally back-to-school season. But for new college grads – and their families – the first September after graduation can be a challenging one. That’s because many new grads find themselves back at home, living with their parents for the first time in several years. And many parents find themselves coping with the financial impact of adult children living at home

In fact, according to the US Census Bureau, a full 65% of college graduates return home to live after completing a degree. And many of these adult children returning home to live are completely unprepared for the new financial challenges they face as new grads.

According to the Ameriprise Financial Money Across Generations® study, two-thirds of parents step in to help their adult children living at home pay down student loans, and more than 50 percent help new grads buy a car.

What’s worse, many parents are taking a hit to their own lifestyles in order to continue financially supporting their new grads. After all, not everyone has the extra money just sitting around to pay down unanticipated expenses from adult children living at home. Of the parents surveyed, 40 percent are taking money out of savings to help support their adult children, and one in six are actually taking out a loan.

Perhaps it’s no wonder, then, that one family law expert recently suggested that adult children returning home to live after college can actually increase the likelihood that their parents will divorce.

The combined financial pressures and relationships stresses can simply be too much.

If your family’s relationships and finances are spiraling out of control, you may need help to get things back on track.

Remember that your new grad may not thrilled about having to rely on you for housing and financial support. When they left for their college adventure four years ago, this was probably not the way they pictured it working out.

All the adults in your house – no matter which generation they belong to – are still adults, and must be treated as such. The longer you treat your adult children like children, the further they will regress into relying on you, rather than building their own future. Work on establishing open lines of communication between all members of your household to maintain the peace.

Creating a contract that outlines the roles and responsibilities for everyone in the home can be an excellent way of establishing expectations and boundaries, and helping your new grad create a timeline for independence.

About the Author: Christina Newberry is author of The Hands-on Guide to Surviving Adult Children Living at Home.