Million of books and movies tell us how it should be: you have children, they grow older, and they eventually become self-sustainable enough to move out of the house and pay their own bills. But, this doesn’t always happen. Many seniors are still footing the bill for children living their best adult lives at home.
There is some advantage to an adult child living at home (you probably see your child more than most other parents, for example), but you should be setting some ground rules to make sure that you aren’t sinking into a deep financial hole.
- There will be rent to pay: water, food, heating, electricity - all of those things increase when you have an extra body at home. It doesn’t have to be a ton of money, but your child should contribute to the household regularly.
- There are plenty of other things to do: laundry, cooking, dishes, etc. There’s no reason your adult child should not pick up some of the household chores.
- Set some rules: you may not be able to set a curfew anymore, but you can certainly develop some rules that make life a bit easier. Sit down with your child and figure out what rules are necessary in order to coexist peacefully.
- Give your child responsibilities: so many parents fall into the trap of taking care of an adult child just like a toddler, but this doesn’t help your child stand on their own two feet. Make sure it’s understood that returning the car without gas isn’t acceptable and leaving dishes in the sink won’t fly.
- Do not give your child a credit card, co-sign for a major loan, or provide any other financial assistance that might tap into your own security and well-being. If your child defaults on a loan or cannot make a payment, you will be responsible (and you might end up losing everything you have worked hard for).
You can’t drain your own savings account to support your child. It’s never a good idea. If your child is in need of financial help or has fallen behind on loan payments or other payments, give our offices a call today -- but please do not sink yourself into debt in order to support a child that is still living at home.