Failure to Launch: What To Do When Your Adult Children Won't Move Out

5 min. readbyVexxit StaffonJune 26, 2020
Won't he just move out...they aren't moving on with life because they just can't afford to.

You gave them roots and you tried to give them wings… but they just shrugged and went back to microwaving their cheesy nachos in your kitchen. Maybe the roots are running a little too deep. Maybe your sofa is a little too comfy and your air conditioning too cool. Most likely, it’s all just a little too, complimentary.

Whatever the reason, this much is clear: your grown-up child has no current intention of moving out of his or her parental abode. For some parents, (looking at you Italian mamas!), this is a perfectly acceptable arrangement. But for many parents, who were planning to downscale once the children reached a certain age, or were looking forward to turning an extra bedroom into an office or home gym, it can be somewhat consternating when the kids have no interest in setting up a home of their own.

You’re certainly not alone. Whether it’s down to higher costs of housing or better relationships with parents, there has been a significant generational shift toward kids staying at home well into adulthood. According to a analysis of US census data by Pew Research Center, 15 per cent of 25- to 35-year-old millennials were living in their parents’ home in 2016. That is much higher than Generation Xers (10 percent) living at home in 2000, and the Silent Generation (8 percent) in 1964.

Now in 2020, coronavirus has not provided much incentive for venturing out with one’s life. Many adult children chose to self-quarantine with their parents and the mutual care provided within these families has been a boon to all. The pandemic-hit economy is another huge factor – according to Rob Carrick in The Globe & Mail, “Job-wise, no group has been squashed like twentysomethings. In May, the unemployment rate for 20- to 24-year-olds returning to school was 42.1 per cent.”

Nevertheless, many parents might feel they are not completing their parental duty without inspiring their adult child to establish a household of their own. So where and how do you start?

The first step is a frank discussion about finances. Asking a grown-up child to make regular contributions to either rent or the household upkeep and provisions is not unreasonable, but if they are unable to find employment, that may need to be delayed.

As Mr. Carrick suggests, paying down debt is key to creating a stronger foothold in life. “One of the best investments a parent can make in helping an unemployed grad is paying down any student debt they incurred,” he writes.

Lastly, some third-party advice from a professional is often accepted more easily than yet another ‘lecture’ from the parental units. Meeting with a financial planner can be a low pressure way to help your adult child make smart long-term decisions and help them see the bright possibilities life has to offer with a solid financial strategy in place.

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