If you find yourself in the midst of parenting a teenager today, you might already be dreaming and even planning your new life of freedom once the chicks leave the nest. That bedroom your teen has been hogging all this time is just a few years away from becoming a den, craft room, or man cave, right?
Not so fast.
In unprecedented numbers, today’s generation of young adults are still living at home with their parents. Recently, Pew Research Center performed an analysis of Census Bereau data and found that 23.6% of young adults, ages 25-34, are living in a multigenerational household. (For most, this means living at home.) This percentage has increased from 18.7% before the recession, according to Pew. (Note: Pew did not even include young adults in the 18-24 years-old group in their analysis!)
Pew reports that the largest factors at play in young adults living with their parents are the slow economic recovery and the recent trend in delaying adult independence.
What Should Parents Do?
• Start thinking now about what you want your life to look like in future years. Does it include having an adult child living at home with you? If so, what will this look like? What will it mean to your household financially? How will it affect your plans for retirement? And if you are looking for the more traditional empty nest experience, how are you preparing your teenager now to move toward adult independence?
• Start having discussions with your teenager about what she or he wants their life to look like in the future. Would he or she be happy living at home with you? If you would welcome having an adult child living at home with you, what are your expectations about responsibilities and financial contributions? How will you help them become as independent as possible despite living with you?
• Give some forethought to how you might handle unplanned circumstances that might affect both you and your adult child, such as another recession, poor job availability and wages, burdensome college student loans, and extended seasons in post-graduate studies.