We may moan about our twenty-somethings still cosily nesting in the family home but the truth is most of us have mixed feelings about our adult children living at home. After all, they are the best antidote to gloomy thoughts about age, ward off that final empty nest stage and defer tricky decisions about whether to downsize. Adult children living at home also connect us to their music, TV, fashion and tech which is fun.
On the flip side we worry about whether they are ever going to get a career, a home and a future sorted. Continuing to share the family home also means both sides of the generation divide get stuck in a time warp. We don’t launch off to create an exciting next new stage while we’re still (comparatively!) young and healthy and they don’t launch off to make mistakes, recover and discover both themselves and independence which is what being young is about. General lack of launching all round in other words. So how to help them make the move?
1. Pay them
If they’ve got or could get some kind of job, give them a lump sum that equates to the deposit and half their rent for six months or a quarter of the rent for a year. Sounds like yet more money after you’ve already spent a fortune? Console yourself that household bills will drop immediately. Hopefully they’ll be energised and excited and pick up responsibility for their own life.
TIP: Set the deal out very clearly. Specify the amount you’ll bankroll them for, ask them to work a budget showing how they will use the money.
2. Inspire them
If they don’t have a job yet, offer to finance a course provided it will increase their chances of landing one. It needs to add to an existing skill or count towards or be an industry or professional recognised qualification.
TIP: They need to show you evidence the qualification will increase their employability and take part-time work to fund living costs.
3. Charge them
Ask them to pay rent or at least a share of the bills. Money expert Alvin Hall very firmly advises that if we stop our kids taking responsibility we’re doing them a serious disfavour. In theory of course he’s quite right but most of us would rather our kids saved money for a deposit than take money off them. If you cant operate any kind of pay and stay policy at least allocate specific responsibilities for chores you hate.
TIP: Kids are working and not saving? Say you want a certain amount for household bills , get them to set up a standing order after their pay day and save it for them. More treating them as kids of course but better than nothing.
4. Frighten them
Start saying with increasing frequency how lovely it is having them there and that you hope they never leave because soon you’ll need looking after.
TIP: If you catch them Google-ing residential care, row back.
5. Escape from them
Instead of thinking idly one day you’ll move further out and buy a beautiful country cottage or move further in and get a cool city centre flat stop day dreaming and do it.
TIP: Show them Rightmove dream properties with the tiniest spare rooms.
6. Overwhelm them
Socialise madly with all your friends, at your house. Make your home the centre of your social life for a while. Fill it non-stop with your book club, charity supper club, friend’s birthday lunch and spread into every downstairs room and the garden. Encourage your friends to ask about what they’re doing and what their plans are.
TIP: Eavesdrop on such chats or ask friends for feedback. Yes your twentysomethings will be annoyed to be asked, but talking to adults who are not you often produces plans.
7. Boost them
Tell them they will get a job, a place and … if that’s an issue too .. meet the right partner. Hearing positive affirmations really does raise confidence.
TIP: Do it as well as asking for their plans, not instead of.