Once upon a time, parenting might have meant supporting your child for 18 years before he or she promptly moved out and moved on. Now, with changing housing and job markets and an increase in the average age of marriage in Canada, your kiddo might be hanging around your house a little longer.
Whether your adult child never left (perhaps your homemade pasta sauce is a tad too delicious), or some unforeseen circumstance has them moving back into their childhood room, living with an adult child has its own set of unique challenges and adjustments to be made.
To make the transition as smooth as possible, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Although you might not really need the funds, it’s a good idea to consider charging adult children rent for living under your roof. This is less for your benefit and more for theirs—it’s important for them to understand the cost of necessities like groceries, bills, and utilities. Breaking down the utility charges each month and showing them exactly where their rent money is going—$30 for water, $20 for heat, for example—will set them up for success later in life when they rent an apartment or own their own home and have to budget for these costs. Wifi doesn’t grow on trees, after all.
If you can afford it, consider putting your child's rent money each month into a savings account and returning it when they're ready to put a down payment on a home or make a large purchase. This way, they’re still learning the value of saving and will be able to take on a smaller loan or line of credit in the future.
At the very least, charge them enough to cover any groceries and any additional expenses incurred each month. Remember: paying rent is an important life lesson for your child, not simply just for your financial gain.
As adults, you and your child each have a set of complex relationships and responsibilities to work through, so it’s important to set physical, social, and emotional boundaries while living together.
Each rooming situation is quite different, but try to give your child as much physical space as possible, whether that means renovating a temporary basement suite, giving them a separate entrance to come and go freely, or just leaving them alone in the kitchen or with the TV in the evenings.
Additionally, it’s important to respect your child’s emotional boundaries by letting them know you’re available to talk without ever pushing them to do so, and giving them the space and privacy to develop both romantic and platonic social relationships.
Teach Them Skills
As a parent, we’re often overcome with the instinct to take care of our young— by feeding, protecting, and nurturing them. But doing everything for your child will cost them later in life.
The longer they go without learning to cook, clean, or budget for themselves, the more money they’ll spend getting other people to do it for them. Ordering takeout, hiring a maid (or buying a new shirt every time they accidentally shrink one in the wash), and calling someone for basic home repairs adds up quickly.
While they’re living under your roof, take the time to teach them how to make a stir fry, mow the lawn, iron a shirt, change a lightbulb, remove a stain, hang blinds, or grow veggies in the garden. Plus, you’ll want them to be able to do all of these things for you when you’re too old to do them for yourself. Win-win!
Make a Plan and Reassess Often
Just as you would with a regular tenant, it’s a good idea to draw up a lease agreement, or even schedule a meeting with your child every few months to check in. Outline a plan: Will they be moving out in a few months or a year? Will they be buying a house, renting an apartment, or moving away?
Choose a date for the lease agreement to expire, so if the current living situation isn't working or their plan changes, you can easily and openly discuss a new agreement without it feeling so personal.
For information on budgeting, rental agreements, and the right savings plan for you and your child, connect with a trusted accountant, financial advisor or lawyer on Vexxit today.