7 rules for dealing with a boomerang kid


Ready for the return of the boomerang?

If you’ve got an adult children who off to college, graduated from school and made a round-trip right back home because of their job situation you know exactly what we’re talking about.

It’s become a lingering phenomenon ever since the Great Recession. So if you have a boomerang kid at home, here are seven rules you need to lay down.

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Consider having these discussions with your boomerang kids

1. Communicate and set up clear expectations

If you’re a parent, any move by a grown child back to your home has to be prefaced by a lot of open communication. Will he or she pay rent or utilities? Who will pay for groceries? How long is he or she welcome to stay? The important thing is to have conversations routinely, not when something becomes a problem. In fact, a continuing series of conversations may be necessary.

2. Consider charging rent

Paying rent should be contingent on your grown child having gainful employment. Because if he or she doesn’t have a job, it’s not realistic to start expecting rent! Set a timeline and let your child known how long they’re welcome to stay. You might consider letting them live for free with you for 12 months. But let them know that anything longer than that and you’ll start charging the going market rate for rent.

3. Have your son or daughter map out a five-year plan

Sure, they’re living with you today. But where do they want to be in five years?

Financial adviser George Gagliardi told Reuters he had his adult child sit down and plan out the next three to five years of his life once he started living under Gagliardi’s roof again. The son, 26, is now ready to move back out after working full-time and saving money while at home.

4. Know the hot spots of cohabitation

First up is food. Nobody likes a conflict over who ate what and when! One solution is to have your son or daughter get a small second refrigerator that they can stock with their own food.

Laundry is another big point of contention. If your son or daughter were living on their own, you would not be doing their laundry, right? So don’t do it when they boomerang back on you. Show them how to use the washer and the dryer and let them do it themselves.

Finally, there’s the question of whether your son or daughter can have a friend spend the night. Again, this is a highly individual choice; just know that the more you set up the rules up front, the fewer headaches you’ll have down the road.


5. Don’t co-sign a car loan for a grown child

Getting into debt over a car is a classic mistake many people make in their early 20s. With that first job comes the temptation to have a fancy ride. Not a good idea!

If your grown child needs to buy a car while living at home, you can either lend them the money yourself or help them find the best deal on a car note. Credit unions are generally the best places to get a car loan. Have your son or daughter visit ASmarterChoice.org to find credit unions near you and see which ones they qualify for.

6. Don’t be afraid to show some tough love

Piggybacking off the last tip about cars, financial adviser Brett Anderson tells Reuters he actually wanted his son to move home after graduate school and save money.

But that doesn’t mean Anderson was content with bankrolling his son, who has since moved out.

While he did pay $50 for his son’s medical insurance, he had to draw the line somewhere. That meant offering his son a bike to get around — not a car.

7. Make sure your kid gets a first apartment the right way

Shared apartments are often the first exit strategy for boomerang kids ready to leave the nest. But apartment leases can be tricky. When you sign a lease with a roommate, be sure you can foot the entire rent in case the other person skips out.

To avoid this problem entirely, your son or daughter might consider a six-month lease instead of a 12-month lease even if it’s more expensive. Let’s say the living arrangement doesn’t work out and somebody leaves. Whoever is left behind is then solely responsible for two or three months of rent, not seven or eight, if you’ve signed a six-month lease.

Of course, it could be your child who leaves to relocate for a job opportunity. That’s why it’s wise for them to negotiate a relocation clause. They should ask the landlord for full lease termination in exchange for forfeiting the security deposit should they get a job offer more than 100 miles away.

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