December 26, 2014

Four Tips for Boomerangers and the Parents Who Harbour Them

‘Boomerangers,’ ‘failed fledglings,’ ‘go-nowhere generation’— these are just three of many pejoratives hurled at the growing demographic of adults who graduate from college, only to return to the nest. But insolence does little to nip the trend, which is fast becoming the rule rather than the exception.

According to a 2012 Pew survey, 29 percent or three in ten American adults aged 25-34 reported moving back to their parent’s homes. Sixty-one percent  claimed to have friends or relatives who did the same. In the UK, the number of adults aged 20-34 living with their parents has ballooned to 3 million.

With stratospheric student loan debts, rental fees, and unemployment rates, no one is really surprised.
Are you one of these children? Or are you a parent of these ‘failed launches’? Some ways to cope:

1.    Children: Pay rent to your ‘rents.
Even during your time in the nest, you should be striving to have a place of your own. To do that, you need to prove to landlords and property managers that you deserve that mortgage or can afford to pay the rent.

So pay rent to your parents. This creates a lease history that, for instance, lenders can look at when discerning whether to approve your loan or not. For best results, you should pay in checks. In any case, rental receipts will go a long way toward those 100 points of identification landlords so often require.

Parents: Don’t feel guilty charging rent. 

Behave like a real landlord. Don’t think twice about collecting rent from your lovely dovey offspring on the appointed day every month. Do it even if it’s Christmas. If you’re guilt-tripping, arrange to invest the funds and gift it back to your child once he or she is prepared to move out.

2.    Children: Don’t let mom and pop infantilise you.
No matter what we do, we will never grow up in the eyes of our parents. Try to act like an adult and don’t you ever let mommy dearest do your laundry. Take on chores and responsibilities as any grown up would. Show off your PC repair skills. Prepare the dinner. These are the least you can do if your finances are in such disarray that paying rent, whether to your parent or a landlord, is out of the question. If you can, pick up the tab at the grocery or foot the utility bills.

Parents: They’re not babies anymore.

When faced with a boomeranger, parents tend to revert to brooding-hen mode. That’s cute—until your children get used to treat you like a Downton Abbey maid. Resist the urge to clean up after your children. The same goes with pecuniary matters; try not to throw the life raft at the smallest sign of agitation. Take this stance with communication too: Listen to your child as you would want him or her to listen to you. Nevertheless, this is your property, and you are the arbiter of everything under the roof. You at least deserve to be known of your boarder’s whereabouts after midnight.

3.    Children: Don’t overstay your welcome.
Needless to say, your stay in your parent’s home should only be temporary. Use this time to actively fulfil a goal toward independence be it finding a new job, starting a business, repaying debt, or saving for a house.

Parents: Set a deadline.

Even as a parent, you are not obliged to be stuck in this situation forever. Arrange for a feasible date when your children are due for packing.

4.    Children: Save up.
Just because you are not paying rent, or at least in the real sense, does not mean you have absolute discretion with your income. Accept that you are not financially free to splurge beyond your means at the moment. Open a current account, separate from a savings account, for your living costs.
Parents: Keep up on your retirement fund.

Your children have all the time in the world to learn their lessons about money matters; you don’t. Religiously save for your retirement egg. This is as much for you as your children since you would not want to depend on them for money when you are put to pasture. Encourage your hatchlings to do the same; have them contribute to a retirement plan
Unless you want to channel Big Edie and Little Edie, you should find amicable ways to part ways. Adult children should wean themselves off the household as soon as they can. Parents should feel comfortable sending their offspring into the wild, so to speak, to fend for themselves.
Meanwhile, enjoy this unparalleled opportunity to bond with each other. It may get insane at times, but you might miss it when it’s over.