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April 22, 2008


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While some of this information is pertinent, some parents invite their children to live at home after college graduation to help them, more than to support them. For instance, myself and three of my four closest friends moved home after graduation. Each of us have full time jobs as accountants, financial advisors, government work and marketing representatives.

Our parent's ideas were to help us save money. Their motivation was not to coddle or keep us hidden from the real world of rent, groceries and utility bills (because we all experienced those things in school). But because they had empty rooms and rather enjoy their kid's companies, they opened their doors.

I'm sure there are certain people who find it immature for a college grad to move back home, but at the same time, many classmates of mine who had the opportunity took it - and are saving a boatload of money while doing it.

*Sorry for the typos

I definitely agree that while some of the information is indeed interesting, you also have to look at it from the view of a recent college grad. And just as a starting point, while I've been out of school for two years now, I do not live at home. I played my financial aid options well and graduated with $4k in loans and practically broke as I paid for all of my living expenses, books, and about a third of my tuition. I took a government internship on a minimal-getting by salary in DC and found a roommate in the same position. Even with the minimal loans, once you throw in rent (a dump) and driving to work (not near any public transportation) along with the getting started expenses, you don't end up with much left over. If given the opportunity, I would have lived with my parents until I could at least save up money to get started with a slight cushion. Needless to say, I've now got the loans taken care of but it's still an entertaining struggle. The fact is, no matter how much you penny-pinch in everything, stuff happens.

So at least from my perspective, I suggest teaching your college kids how to save money from the high school jobs, college jobs, etc to have a cushion for the first bit out of college. If they need to live at home (not the moochers, the honest ones) charge them rent/grocery money whatever, but it is increasingly hard to get started from scratch especially if you take a low-paying job in a metro area.

Funny thing is, that 25% is an interesting number courtesy of Sheila Curran, and not representative of my friends (my grad class and school). I only know one person who is doing that, and after a post-grad degree. She is currently saving to buy a townhouse on her own (and will probably be successful within 1-2 years).

Oh well, do what's best for your kids as you probably know them best.

Thanks for all the advice, believe me, it comes in handy.

Of course, this assumes a (largely American) expectation that it is normal/necessary for offspring to leave the home by some preset age (18, 20, whatever). Many world cultures (if not most) do not share this expectation.

What also isn't mentioned is the flipside. Kids living at home may not be financially great for the parents (although, prove it), but it is financially smart for the kids. Even if Mom/Dad charge rent, it's a damn sight cheaper than a lease or a mortgage. Plus there exists more opportunity for ride sharing, less food waste, more people to help around the house.

Not everybody likes an empty nest, either.

And your anecdote about the boy and the cocoon actually works better against your point. The boy cut the strings too soon, and as a result, the caterpillar couldn't survive.

The longer the time in the cocoon, the more developed the butterfly becomes. Likewise, studies have suggested the same is true for children; the longer time in the womb, the more mentally developed. And the butterfly exist the cocoon when it is ready; not forced out by some outside force.

I agree with the above commenters. There is a fine line between giving financial support where it just plain makes sense, and allowing your kids to mooch off of you. As "K" mentioned above, it's not wrong per se for a child to live with his/her parents after college. In many cultures, this is the norm. Families can provide much needed emotional and intellectual support to each other. Plus, many times it's just simply cheaper to share a house instead of having a separate house from one's parents, paying separate utilities, driving a separate car, buying separate furniture, etc.

After college I moved back in with my mom for about 2 years. During this time I did not slack off. I worked hard and put every extra penny I earned towards my school loans and car loan. This was good financial sense, and by the time I moved out, I had nearly all my loans paid off. Had my mom not allowed me to live with her, I would have been paying off my debt for much longer.

On the flip side, I do know people who are 20, 22, 24, who don't work, who live at home, who expect their parents to pay for their car, their computer gaming habits, etc. This is not what you should do for your kids.

Kids are starting off *much* further behind than they did even a generation ago. With student loan debt (and rents) soaring, it's much harder to afford a place right out of college, especially since the assumption so often now is that you can afford to start off in a non- or low-paying internship. I find it very hard to argue that it is somehow promoting irresponsibility for a parent to let a kid have a room (a nominal rent, at least, is best) in their home while that kid is holding down a full-time job of the kind needed to pursue her career. Heck, I was considering living with my mom when I was contemplating taking a one-year job in her city, and I'm over 30. She has way more space than she needs, she could use the help with the rent and we like each other. Would I have suddenly become unable to look after myself after several years on my own because I rented from her instead of from some random landlord, or because we split the grocery bill?

Of course, there are always moochers. But people should be asking themselves why they are so passionately invested in whether other people are suffering "enough." It's a weird and ugly strain in personal finance, this strange need to point to others (who aren't hurting or coercing anyone) as slackers instead of tending to one's own business, especially when full information on the other people's situation isn't available. What was that thing about judging not...?

What Rick said. Living with parents is a money-saving move, and by itself, is not an indication that the parents/kids are doing anything wrong.

I personally didn't have that option; by the time I finished college, my parents had divorced, and each had moved to a one-bedroom apartment. If I had not been able to find a job in my area, I would have moved in with one of them, but sleeping on the couch with no personal space would have been an EXCELLENT motivation to find a job, ANY job.

If my parents had given me everything, I would have never stayed in Chicago when they decided to move to Laredo, TX. I did eventually move to TX but I had my hard times, I was homeless (stayed with friends)for little while. My husband loves the fact that I struggled to survive just like he did. We appreciate what we have now so much more.

my sister is 26 and lives at home. mainly because she got a degree in horticulture management (how to run a florist) and works at a florist making like $12/hour which isn't enough to live on your own. she's thinking about going back to school for nursing so she can actually make enough money to live on her own

I agree that it really depends on the person. Most of my siblings moved home for a short period of time after graduating until they got a job. I would have moved home if I wouldn't have gotten my apartment before I left for a 6-week trip to Peru. But I parents did loan me rent money for the first few months until I was able to get on my feet. I paid them back within the first year. When I lost my job, I moved back home for about 6 weeks. Which was very hard for all of us. I wouldn't do it again unless I had to.

I do believe that many people aren't taught good financial skills. My parents were very practical, once we graduate high school it was the "school of hard knocks." They would pay tuition in (whatever the max for tax rebate was) and the rest was covered by our job(s) or loans. They commonly took us grocery shopping and would occassionally buy us clothes or little practical things. Their motto was that we were now adults and they would give us advice but it was our life to live. If we were naked, hungry, or homeless they would take care of those needs. When my sister blew through all of her savings, my parents refused to give her money. Instead they drove 2 hours every Friday and Sunday to and from her college so she could work at the local cafe.

I think it helped me grow up faster and more mature to have a safety net rather than a bungee cord. But I had friends that remained home during college and/or moved home after college, and it worked great for them.

Once living with parents was the norm, especially for Asian families. Now with job and career options taking the children away, many parents are left alone.

As a father, I am not exactly sure what I would want. For certain moochers should be kicked out.

But a responsible child staying at home, until he/she forms her own family, might be a good thing.

Hate to be a basher but the excerpt comes across as really high minded. Not something I would spend my money on.

I agree that you should prepare your kids to support themselves after college, but I don’t believe it is fair to make a blanket statement that they should not live with you after they are grown. In my case, there was a 3 month period between college and grad school that I lived at home. After that, I got a job offer that required a 6-8 month process for doing a background check. Since I had a job lined up but wasn’t able to start right away, it didn’t make sense to get a part time job for that short of a time or get my own place if I was going to be moving in less than a year. Therefore, there are situations where a child can be financially responsible but still require living at home for certain periods.

By the way, $12 is plenty to support yourself. I know many people who are doing it on $10/hr.

Does the author of the book have children?

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