Sunday, September 16, 2012

Graduates Moving Back Home To Retired Parents

SYRACUSE, NY - MAY 13:  A graduate's cap is se...
 (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

It should be a time of happiness and satisfaction but the graduating class of 2012 are feeling a sense of defeat. A combination of a weak labor market and economic climate many graduates are forced to move back home. But in mom and dad's house many things have change since the student was a freshman. Mom and dad are now retired and were not expecting their kids moving back in.

These boomerang graduates are facing double digit unemployment rates in some fields. Even with advanced degrees, graduates can't land jobs. To make matters worse even if they can find a job, grads are burdened with school loan debt or have extensive credit card debt putting them into a position of not being able to make it in the real world. Making moving back home the only viable option.

Moving back home is not anyone's first choice. Lots of graduates have tasted the free life from living at college and don't want to give that up. Many parents have not planed on having anyone move back in, many have already made plans to downgrade to smaller homes. They also have tasted the life of not having any children at home.

If the student does have to come home there are a few things to make the situation equitable for both parties.

Helping Around the House

Moving back home changes the dynamic for the graduate. When they were on their own they called the shots. When coming home it changes to community mode. That means pitching in on the household work. Grads should offer to help around the house with cutting the grass, cleaning the house, or cooking meals. 

Also contributing to the family financial needs should be addressed. Some amount of money should come from the grad that should go to the mortgage or rent. There is an increase in the variable expenses of the home, the grad should step up and contribute their fair share.

Retired parents still need to pursue their goals and plans. The financial impact of the student returning should be kept at a minimum and it will be with the student contributing financially. It may even benefit the parents by having the grad take care of the home, dog and other obligations when traveling on vacation.

Full and Open Communication

Good communication is the most important part of moving back home. Mom and Dad must be specific and honest about the rules and expectations. The parents must explain that this is a short term solution. They must set up rules concerning friends, activities, and time frame.

The student should thank the parents and throughout the process express appreciation and gratitude. Even though the situation is not perfect, any frustration or anger should be kept in check and not vented on people who are helping you.

The parents should make clear that they are retired and their finances must not be put out of balance. Large purchases and expenses are not allowed, the future of their retirement is at stake.

Falling Back On Old Habits

There is nothing like the benefits of living at home. I tell my kids they will only appreciate it when they are on their own.  Plenty of food, someone to cook it for you, your laundry done, and a clean place to live. Sometimes when coming home you fall into the old parent-child, mothered relationships. If parents fall back into this old style they could be hurting the student. 

At this time of their lives with hopes of starting their career and lack of money it contributes to a lack of self-esteem. They don't need to be coddled. The parents job is to point them in the right direction and offer encouragement. 

Parents also have old habits like paying for everything. It's an old habit parents must try to avoid. When you see your child working on their job search and it's tough you may want to help financially. Remember they are adults now and must figure this out themselves. 

Always be Searching for That Job

The students job when living at home is to be always searching for a job. It's not time to lie on the couch and watch Oprah. Hit the pavement a good part of the day and when home be on the computer sending resumes, emailing perspective employers, and networking.

During this process, the student must be communicating the progress or lack of progress they are making. The parents saw to it to give the grad a good education, the grad. should respect the parents sacrifice and apply themselves fully.

The Parents Main Goal

When things aren't going well a loving parent always wants to step in and make things better. But when the children are adults it is the the job of the parents to show them how to fix their own problems by being independent. Going through this process will build a better relationship between parent and child. Parents will gain a whole new respect for their child and the child will see their parents in a whole different way. 

During this process, sadly, the parents can really do some damage to their retirement nest egg. If you are not able to pay expenses because you are helping your kid out, you on the wrong track. 


  1. Moving back is not so bad. I did that last year and I stayed with my parents for a couple of months until I found a job. It was great, it was like being a kid again and my parent's loved having me around too.

  2. All parents would love the opportunity to have their kids home again. If only for a short time. In todays economy it is happening more often because of the poor job prospects.


Join 1000's of People Following 50 Plus Finance
Real Time Web Analytics