Boomerang Kids – Adjusting Your Budget for Their Return

Just when you think your nest is empty, it fills right back up! Adults returning to live with their parents are affectionately referred to as boomerang kids, and while many parents don’t mind the temporary return of their offspring, it can certainly result in extra expenses around the house. Luckily, some small adjustments can keep your once-again-full house from breaking the bank.

First of all, don’t be afraid to set some fair guidelines. Your adult child might be more than happy to slip right back into allowing you to buy all the groceries and pay the utilities, but that could make you feel more like an ATM than a parent. It’s important to agree upon solid rules so your time living under the same roof doesn’t leave you in a bad financial state.

Set clear expectations

It may feel formal or uncomfortable to discuss finances with your child, but it’s far better to make sure you’re both on the same page now than to have misunderstandings later. Here’s what to cover:

  • Discuss a tangible timeline for how long your child can stay
  • He or she should have a plan in place for the next step, whether that’s seeking out employment or saving enough money for a down payment on a home
  • Write out a financial agreement that includes how much your child will contribute to household expenses and any repayment expectations

Without clear boundaries agreed upon by everyone involved, you may find yourself in a complicated situation. What if you expect repayment of a substantial loan to your child that he thought was a gift? What if your child assumes the basement is a long-term option for residence but you thought this was a temporary situation? Be clear on not only what you want, but also what your child expects.

Boomerang kids often just need a little help getting on their feet financially, but without some budget adjustments and clear expectations you may find your own finances begin to suffer.

Review your budget

It’s a good idea to review and adjust your budget anytime there’s a life change, and boomerang kids returning home certainly qualifies as a life change. Consider all the ways that you may have to adjust your spending. For example, you’ll likely need more groceries in the house and there’s a good chance your utility bills will increase.

Allow boomerang kids to help out with these additional expenses if they can, but still take the time to make some adjustments to your budget so your finances aren’t affected.

Guard your retirement

Parents want to help their children, so it’s only natural to feel obligated to give financial assistance when it’s needed, even if that means a sacrifice for you. The important thing to remember is you’re much closer to retirement than your child – or perhaps you’re already there – and you shouldn’t allow your own savings to dwindle substantially while helping them.

It’s vital to know your own financial situation so you can be sure that helping your child isn’t going to result in an issue for you. Be realistic about what you can offer. Can your child stay with you without helping with the bills? Do you have enough money saved that the extra expenses associated with another adult in the home won’t have a big impact? Simply put, don’t offer financial assistance to the point where your own personal finances are put at risk.

Having boomerang kids allows you one more chance to enjoy living under the same roof with them. Your children will appreciate the temporary help and you can appreciate their lively company – just be sure to stay on top of your finances during your child’s temporary occupancy.

Do you need to adjust your spending to accommodate your new houseguest? Check out our free monthly budget worksheet.