It's a trend that's grounded in fiscal reality. Our kids--twenty-somethings and 30s--are living with us, nearly 25 percent of them, according to several surveys. The surveys also find that they've moved into their childhood bedrooms for monetary reasons.
Although many of them are on the first rung of career jobs or are earning decent money in the gig economy, they see how much it costs to live in the world. They may be carrying sizeable student debt, buying cars on credit or face a rental market that's unfriendly. The national median for a one-bedroom apartment is currently around $1,500 a month, according to Zumper, but rents are significantly higher in cities like New York ($4,300), Boston ($2,990), San Francisco ($2,970) and Miami ($2,600), cities where young adults are drawn to live.
For many of our adult kids, living at home isn't a sign of social failure. It's a way to save for a future goal--whether it's to buy a place of their own, start a business or have a decent nest egg before plunging into marriage. Sometimes the move home is transitory. A friend of mine's 34-year-old son relocated from a city in the Midwest to his hometown where rents are high. He's living home while he searches for an affordable place. My friend would like him to speed up the search--she's finding the adjustment to his presence tricky--but he doesn't seem to be in a hurry. For him, the price is right and the refrigerator full.
Whatever their reasons for living with us, we're party to a parallel trend: 65 percent of us (the parents) are providing some form of financial support to our adult children between the ages of 22 and 40. According to a USA Today survey, housing topped the list (either paying their rent or letting them live free at home), after that came help with the cell phone bill, then car payments and more personal stuff like clothing, their takeout bill and entertainment (Netflix and the like). Dead last: health insurance or medical bills.
A good number of us--one in three--report that the support is a strain on our budgets. Nonetheless, we have not set limits. Nor have we let our kids--or ourselves-- know for how long we’re willing to put them up and help out.