Question of the Day: Should You Let Your Grown Kids Live with You?

I haven’t done a question of the day in a while.

Yesterday’s post got me to thinking about this. So, here’s today’s question(s) of the day:

Would you allow your grown child to live with you? Under what circumstances? Would you have rules?

Here are my thoughts…

I haven’t discussed this with my wife, but I might be willing to let a kid move back home if they went to college. They would need to get a job and they would need to live a like a pauper while they were living at home. I would require them to set up a savings account for an emergency fund and a downpayment on a house. I might also require that they give me account access to it so that I could hold them accountable. I would also require them to put the maximum amount into their 401(k). They would also need to contribute to the family food budget and handle some of the chores arount the house.

I don’t think these stipulations are unreasonable. What do you think? I hope it never comes to this, though.

34 thoughts on “Question of the Day: Should You Let Your Grown Kids Live with You?”

  1. My sister and I both lived at home with our parents at various times after college. They had a 600-sq-ft in-law suite in their basement with a private bath and kitchen, so it was more like an apartment. It also had access to the separate basement laundry room. My sister moved in for about 2 years and paid a modest rent to cover the additional utilities she used while living there. She bought all her own groceries since she had her own kitchen and did her own laundry. Once she moved out, I moved in when I couldn’t afford to pay a “real” rent. Once I was back on my feet I moved out, but then moved back in once I got engaged so that I could save as much money as I could before getting married. Years later, she moved back in for a year-long engagement to save money before getting married.

    The only rule my parents had were 1) pay the rent on time each month, 2) keep the place clean and 3) no men may stay the night. Other than that we were free to come and go as we chose and my parents definitely maintained our need for privacy, which was appreciated.

    I would let my adult child move back in – but only if they worked full-time and paid rent to be there. And it would be tacitly understood that it was a temporary situation – not permanent.

  2. I lived at home for one year after college and paid $75 rent/month (unbeknownst to me they were saving it in a “wedding dress fund”). Looking back, had I been financially smart at the time I would have stayed longer, but I was long past living by my parents’ rules and needed to have my own place to snuggle w/ “Mr. Stacey”…the rest is history.

    RE: your expectations JLP, I think maxing 401k is overreaching the expectations. Perhaps starting and contributing enough to get the employer match would be more reasonable. After all they might have student loans (and a girlfriend to keep happy.) Girlfriends don’t go for the “pauper” lifestyle usually. If they happen to find one who does, perhaps they’d be the perfect DIL for you to have!

  3. My daughter would be allowed to live at home as long as she was going to school full-time and/or working. She’d be required to pay rent, which would be determined by her share of the utilities, groceries, etc.

    There would definitely be rules of some kind…but I haven’t given too much thought to those, at least not yet. 😉

  4. CPA,

    I’m assuming that the kid moving back home has a college degree and a good job. Maxing out 401(k) contributions may be a little much.

  5. Hard question — not sure of my answer. I know my neighbors let their son stay at home for a few years after college while he got his business off the ground. I believe the son earns more than the parents now.

    That’s a huge leg-up for sure. I guess my answer would depend on a case-by-case basis. I never went back home after moving away to go to college, but some of my brothers did (temporarily) during hard times. It’s like home-base, in case everything else goes wrong.

  6. I agree that there would be rules. I’m not sure as over-reaching like JLP. Probably somewhere in between Jaynee and JLP. The key is it has be temporary with a defined path, it’s not to subsidize laziness.

    Be nice to your adult kids, they will be changing your diapers (Depends) in old age b/c I don’t think SS or Medicare will be around in 50 yrs or so when I’m “old”.

  7. I lived with my folks for about 4 months when I was 19 and in college.

    My father came up with the only rule anyone will ever need to encourage flight from the nest:

    No girls behind any closed doors.

  8. Beeg, that is the way it is supposed to be. With Medicaid and Social Security, the elderly are STILL dependent on their adult children and grandchildren, but with a middle-man taking his cut.

  9. So you would do it completely opposite of what mom and dad did? LOL

    I didn’t move out until I was 22…almost 23. I did however pay for my own car insurance and paid my college bills, I also obeyed the curfew they set for me. But I didn’t contribute to my 401k maxing it out or anything like that. Nor did I pay rent or help with food. They liked ME so much they just wanted me there.

  10. “I might also require that they give me account access to it so that I could hold them accountable.”

    I’d call that unreasonable, but: your house, your rules.

    If you want to push the 401k bit, perhaps you can incentivize it with matching contributions, or they make 401k contributions in lieu of rent (same thing really), or some other scheme where the “choice” is already made for them…

    The only access you’d need to their account is for making your deposits into their account.

  11. BG,

    I’m just looking for some accountability. I would take the same approach that I wish our government would take in handing out welfare.

  12. No way – once the boy is out the door he doesn’t come back except for a major medical injury/problem.

    That’s why they invented jobs and roommates.

    Sundays – he’s welcome to come over for a chicken dinner & do his own laundry for free. I’ll probably throw some money at him. But once dinner is over – get out – see you next week.

  13. I moved back in with my folks for a while during my divorce in my early thirties. The lawyers and Child & Family Services took most of what I earned. I love you Mom & Dad!!! You were there just when I needed it most.

  14. RE: doors off hinges, it wouldn’t matter. We did it in front of the kitchen sink, late at night. Where there’s a will there’s a way 🙂

  15. Sorry JLP,

    I think you’ll learn soon enough that just because your kids go to college doesn’t mean they won’t live at home again. The odds are heavily stacked against that.

    Unless your kids are ultra-savers or somehow wealthy, there’s probably not much chance they won’t come home for at least summers in college.

    All your advice is good in theory, but I just don’t see it all happening in the real world.
    There’s no way they’re going to let you have access to their accounts. Let alone, how many kids actually have the money or desire to save for a down payment or max out their 401k?! Slim to none I’m afraid.

    Like I said, good ideals to strive for but talk to me in 20 years and let me know how it goes! 😉

  16. Travis,

    I think you misunderstand me. I’m not talking about kids coming home during the summer. I’m talking about kids getting their college degrees and then moving back home.

    I say, it’s my house, my rules. That’s pretty simple.

  17. I have made it a policy, starting with their first allowance, that I would match what the children chose to put in the bank. Obviously, that can only go so far — just as no employer can match 50% of employees’ salaries. However, it has had the effect of making them think about how much they would spend and how much they would save.

  18. Oh gotcha JLP,

    Well, I’m 27, and based on my experience and friends, I’d say your odds are a little greater than 50% per kid that they’ll live at home sometime after graduation.

    However, your rules are more reasonable at that point in their lives… except I still disagree with having access to their accounts. Just because you give them a bedroom to live in, doesn’t automatically give you the right to everything else in their life, in my opinion.

  19. Maybe account access is too much. I don’t know. I’m hoping it won’t get to that point…lol. But, I do feel like there needs to be some accountability. Afterall, moving back home should be temporary.

  20. I think that if they are blowing it, then you can ask to see their account info…or offer to help them devise a plan/timetable for leaving. I certainly wouldn’t want any family member knowing my business, parent or child, unless I invite THEM in! As it is I have to be on my oldest’ Chase checking until he is no longer a minor. These are my final years for making a financial impression on him. Since his balance never goes down (he’s Scrooge McDuck like me!) he’s not the kid I have to worry about. Rather it’s the youngest who enjoys blowing his wad at the model store. As much as he does enjoy getting money(i.e. family gifts!) and planning/working his hot dog stand during our annual garage sale, he doesn’t prefer physical labor…or doing his chores for that matter. I predict a career in academia for him…

  21. “I predict a career in academia for him…”

    Stacey, if that is true he will be broke. Prepare for him to live with you for some time. It is hard and getting harder for people to lead a family or even a single life on a teacher’s pay and including PhD teaching.

  22. All I know is professors get a free ride for college for their kids. It wouldn’t be a bad way for him to go. Plus all the chicks in short skirts sitting in the front row. Not a bad gig…

    PS I was one of those chicks in the front row. I had to get my calculus grade up 🙂

  23. “PS I was one of those chicks in the front row. I had to get my calculus grade up.”

    Dang hotties with their short skirts — I had to bust my tail for my B’s and C’s in all the maths up to and including Diff EQ. I’m gonna have nightmares tonight just thinking about those classes.

  24. The worst grade I ever got in math — all the way up to graduate-level Functional Analysis (the infinite-dimensioned Hilbert Spaces used in Quantum Mechanics) was an undergrad proofs class taught by a short but well-built female grad student. She had to stand on her tip-toes to write at the top of the board, so the backside was jiggling in a most distracting manner.

  25. Hey, there was no touching (nor tutoring.) I pulled up my grade by finally studying. It was simply a semi-conscious act to have an “ace in the hole” so to speak. And I only got a B. For the record I did NOT do the Britney thing. That could have backfired on me…my TA was a little strange in a wild bohemian/Einstein way. I think having underarm hair would have turned HIM on.

    Besides, I’m a good Catholic girl, don’t you know!
    😉 But I do miss that Calvin Klein blue jean mini-skirt (and fitting into it!) Oh for the 80s…

  26. JLP- I think your conditions are mostly reasonable (except requiring access to their bank account seems a bit extreme and untrusting); as you said though, it’s your house and therefore your rules. I will have lived with my folks for almost a year before moving out in July. The first six months were job searching after graduation, and now it’s while I pay off my student loans and save up enough to move out. I am putting money into my 401k (although I don’t make enough to put the maximum into it) and helping out with some expenses as well. My main expense is eating out occasionally. I didn’t plan to stay with them after graduating, much less for this long, but I’m fortunate they were willing to let me stay with them during this transitional time and lousy job market. I could and would liked to have moved out when I got the job, but it was a trade-off between personal freedom now and financial freedom later, and I’m grateful my folks allowed me the opportunity to make that choice.

  27. Good for you David! You sound level-headed and are certainly on the right path. I’d even suggest staying with your folks a little longer than your current timetable…try to have a 6-month emergency fund saved…You’ll find living on your own has an array of expenses you never counted on which will make it more difficult to save.

  28. I do not think your children should give you access to their accounts. You can ask to see their statements to ensure they are saving. But account access crosses the line.

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