Times have changed in the last fifty years and one of the most notable changes is that we have now entered the era of “helicopter parenting” which often results in “boomerang children”. A boomerang child is an adult child who leaves home for a period of time only to return to live with Mom and Dad. With factors such as college tuition, revolving debt and poor financial management, many find it easier to hole up at the ‘rents while beefing up a savings account and paying off debt or “finding themselves” until they can figure out their next move.
This living arrangement poses an awkward question for parents: “Should I require my child(ren) to pay rent?” While there are some parental figures who elect to avoid this conversation altogether, financial experts suggest that adult children should be pulling their own financial weight around the house.
Here’s the bottom line: your adult kiddos SHOULD pay rent! The reality is that Mom and Dad won’t always be around to assist and it’s time the kids learn to budget and how to adult. Don’t let the word “rent” scare you! Be realistic and work within the parameters of what you know your son or daughter can actually afford. For example, your full-time, live-at-home college student isn’t going to be able to finance a $1,200 per month rent payment. Consider charging $150 per month. Ask him or her to cover the grocery bill or cable each month. The goal is to set up a system of consistent financial accountability that you KNOW your child can reasonably attain. If they are late, charge them a fee.
Start with the basics. Compose a rental agreement stipulating your terms or expectations for those residing within your home. This particular agreement will need to be customized for each adult child living within your home as not everyone can afford the same amount of rent. Include chores and lifestyle expectations such as “no smoking”, “no pets” and “no girlfriends”.
Of course, there are two sides to every coin, and not every adult who lives with their parents is lazy or self-entitled. As parents, we do what we can to assist our children. That is what parenting is all about and there is no shame in that game. Just remember, you are still the parent and there is always a way to establish a system of accountability with your adult child in order to prepare them for the day when you cannot be there to help.
Related: “Lease Vs. Roommate Agreement”