Discussing Finances with Grown Kids Who Live at Home

Discussing Finances

With the economy as it is, it is more and more common for young people to stay at home with the parents longer or to return home after being out on their own for a while. In addition to the negotiations that need to take place over privacy, responsibility, chores, etc. discussing finances can be a huge challenge. Here are some tips for talking about finances and discussing money and work with adult children who are living at home:

Your personal values will dictate whether you want to charge grown children rent, or ask them to contribute to the groceries, utilities or other household expenses while they are living at home. Some parents feel it is important for kids living at home to contribute while others see their role as supporter and do not make any requests. Once you decide how you feel and what your belief system is, it is important to also consider what is best for the grown children. Is it better for them to contribute? Could they be asked to pay for any additional expenses above and beyond the normal household expenses? Whatever you decide, the first step is to become clear in your thinking before sitting down with your child.

Prepare an adjusted budget that you can share as part of the discussion. Many parents would rather just pay for things than to discuss finances with their children (even if they are adults.) If you are going to have the discussion, however, be prepared and have the figures written out so you can stay focused on the finances and not speak in vagaries.

Try to keep the emotions and past out of the discussion. Just because a grown child was financially irresponsible as a youth does not mean that they will be that way forever. In fact, this might be a “second chance” for you to help an adult child develop financial management and responsibility. Stay in the present and try to talk about finances as two adults-not as parent and child. Stay focused on keeping your relationship separate from discussions about money.

Set goals and limits on the financial changes. If the ultimate goal is for the adult child to move back out on his or her own, design your financial arrangement to facilitate that and discuss the steps it is going to take. If the young person needs to save for a housing deposit or pay off debts-make this a priority and develop a plan together for how it can be accomplished. Again, keep emotions out of it and focus on the financial realities. Decide how flexible you can be and set deadlines for when payments will be made and stick to them. If you can be clear and concise from the beginning, it may make the living together run smoothly.