The parent trap: boomerang kids
When 20-somethings come home, families need some frank talk about finances to stay within budget
Caught in the squeeze is Alicia Bertoni, 24, who moved back in with her parents in Braintree, Mass., this year while pursuing a doctorate in physical therapy. Facing grad-school loans with only a part-time job, Bertoni found living in high-rent Boston prohibitive. Rent for a shared two-bedroom, parking, and utilities came to $1,000 a month. "Financially, it's not very feasible," says Bertoni, who now lives rent free at home.
For many parents, finding the right balance between being supportive and being indulgent can be tricky. "You have to make sure that you are not a lifestyle subsidizer," says Linda Perlman Gordon, a family therapist and author of Mom, Can I Move Back in With You? Gordon suggests that parents assess their own finances and their child's needs, and commit to a strategy. Paying for a fancy gym may be out, but chipping in for rent in a safer neighborhood may be worth it for a worried parent. Those who plan to let their kids move back home may want to ask for a detailed plan, including length of stay and long-term goals. Gordon plans to give her son a four-week window after he graduates from college in January to polish his resume and start job hunting. In the end, the best support may just be a dose of tough love.