How to Adjust to Adult Children Living at Home

Having an adult child move back in can stretch your budget; these tips can help ease the situation.

Whether they’ve lost their job, they’re transitioning to a new career, or they’ve recently graduated and are trying to land a new gig, having your adult child move back home can be a huge adjustment — not just emotionally, but financially as well.

While many parents are eager to support their children regardless of their age, it’s important to ensure you’re not doing so at the expense of your own financial wellbeing. Here are a few proactive steps to take with adult children living at home.

Create a New Budget Together

When another person moves into the household, you should expect some of your expenses — like groceries and utilities — to increase. Review your monthly bills to get a sense of what your expenses were before your child moved in.

From there, sit down with your household and revise your existing budget or create a new one as a team. Talk through all expenses, from groceries to utilities to phone or cable plans. Figure out whether there are any unnecessary expenses you can cut to help keep your spending in check.

Ask Them to Contribute

Make sure your child understands how their moving home can affect your finances and ask them to contribute, if necessary. This may be a tough conversation to initiate, but it’s crucial to protect your own financial wellness by setting boundaries for adults living at home. As adults themselves, most will understand and want to contribute.

Ask your child to contribute to any expenses that they add to your budget. For example, if there are groceries that they’d like in the house, tell them it’s their responsibility to pay for them. You may decide to ask your child to pay a rent for room and board, even if it’s a nominal amount. Alternatively, you might also ask them to cover any increases in utilities, such as water or electricity. Remember to account for any contributions your child might make in your updated budget.

Don’t Neglect Your Retirement Goals

For parents at or near retirement, this is especially important. If your adult child is struggling to make ends meet, it may be tempting to jump in and provide financial support. However, it’s crucial that you stay focused on your retirement goals first. This is even more important if you’re already retired and living on a fixed income. If needed, have an honest conversation with your child about ways you can support them that don’t affect your own financial security.

Encourage Them to Save

Finally, if your adult child is living at home paying minimal (or zero) rent, they have the opportunity to save money and take control of their personal finances. Gently encourage your child to set financial goals and work to achieve them.

Although your home may feel a bit more crowded for a few months, having your adult child move home does not have to take a toll on your financial well-being.

Check out our Financially Fit Family page for tips, worksheets, and tools to help you set your family up for financial success.