Boomerang Kids: Sometimes Both Sides Benefit

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Our extended family has seen more than its share of boomerang kids flock back to the nest. According to CNN Money, "In a survey of 2,000 Americans by Coldwell Banker, young adults ages 18 through 34 said they think it's perfectly acceptable to live with their folks for up to 5 years after college."

My own family can be included in that mix, though our return was related to the sale of our home and being able to market it more simply without our living there at the time. Through our experiences in the realm of boomeranging though, we've noted how both sides -- children and parents -- can benefit.

Cost savings for the kids

The cost savings for the kids returning home can be huge. By reducing or even eliminating rent or a mortgage, utility expenses, food costs, and the upkeep upon a property, the savings from returning home to live can easily jump into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars per month. And even if an adult child is chipping in for these costs, the expense may still only be a fraction of what it might be if he or she were on their own.

Poor housing decisions

Moving back home as a boomerang kid might not be the worst decision in the world. I still remember when my wife and I bought our first home in the same area near where she grew up. She later told me that she hadn't realized so many things about living in the suburb there since she was just a kid when she'd lived their before. And there were many things -- property taxes, transportation routes, local politics, etc. -- that she hadn't been exposed to as a youngster.

The CNN Money article I mentioned previously noted, "The problem is that all of those 20- and 30-somethings living at home has weighed on the housing market's recovery, says Jed Kolko, Trulia's chief economist. With little-to-no track record paying rent or establishing the credit they need for a mortgage, there are fewer first-time homebuyers entering the market."

It went on to say, "And that seems to be having an impact. Homeownership, at 65%, is at its lowest level since 1995, according to a recent report from the Census Bureau."

Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe these youngsters, given some time to spend living in but not necessarily owning a home as adults may gain a different perspective on what home ownership means and entails. If parents give them certain responsibilities around the house such as yard work, home repairs, and maintenance projects, these boomerang kids might think twice about rushing out to buy before they're ready.

Relationship building

I know this might sound hard to believe, but some parents actually enjoy their adult children and like having them around. And incredibly, sometimes an inverse relationship occurs in which the adult children still enjoy their parents. Maybe in a world where texting, Twittering and Facebooking often constitute some of the main forms of communication, it would seem amazing that a communicative social relationship could exist between parents and children as adults, but it can.

Exchanging knowledge and ideas between age groups can help to get a better perspective on generational shifts. And this can come at a time when those kids who never seemed to listen in their teen years are more receptive to the advice and teachings of their elders. Meanwhile those young "punks" can teach parents how to use their tablets, how to hook up their HD televisions, and maybe even how to use the GPS in their vehicle.

So while boomerang kids might get a bad rap, their return to home may actually be benefiting both parent and child.

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The author is not a licensed financial, parenting or family planning professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader's discretion.


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