A survival guide for living with your adult children
Thursday, 3 May 2018
Your child is officially grown up – they’re over 18, can vote, drive a car and are studying or working towards becoming a self-sufficient member of society. In every sense of the word, they’re an adult.
Aside from one, that is. You find they are still living under your roof.
Perhaps they moved back home to save for a ‘big ticket’ item like a house, or maybe they’re studying or looking for employment and have never left.
Whatever the reason, this stage in life can be a challenge as they seek the freedoms of adulthood under your roof.
If you’re thinking you’re the only one housing your young adult child longer than you had hoped, think again. You are not alone. In fact, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics more than 50% of Australians aged between 18 and 24 years of age are still living at home.
To help get you through this time, here’s a guide to living with adult children.
1. Set some rulesIt always helps to set some ground rules. Whether it’s establishing an agreement with your children to contribute financially to the household, or a schedule of who is cooking dinner on set nights, putting some rules in writing will help resolve future conflicts. Educating them on how to be financially responsible is a key part of getting them into their own home sooner.
2. Give them a deadline and targets to work towardsBe upfront about timeframes and targets – be that how long they can stay, how long they can stay free of charge or some targets for savings. This will give them a chance to set goals, and be held accountable, particularly if they’re saving for their own home. Help them set up some key budgeting techniques, whether it be in the form of an old school ledger or a budgeting app for their smartphones, this can help keep their finances on track.
3. Help them explore the optionsIf home ownership is their goal, understanding the ins and outs of buying a first home can be pretty daunting. Helping your child navigate the process and talking through their concerns and questions is instrumental in getting the ball to home ownership rolling. Talk to them about borrowing options, different lenders and products, the deposit they will need to purchase a home, and the upfront costs associated with home ownership. You might not have all the answers, but let them know you are there to support them on their journey. Encourage them to speak to a range of lenders to see which product suits them best. One way your children can get into their own home sooner is through HomeStart Finance, where they can get started with as little as 3% deposit if they’re buying an existing home, or just 6% if they build a new one.
4. Set realistic expectationsIt’s a good idea to talk your child through the need to have realistic goals. If it’s a house, discuss their budget and what type of home they can afford. Remind them that they don’t have to buy their ultimate home in their favourite suburb on their first purchase. Instead, they should view their first home as a stepping stone into their next property purchase.
5. Enjoy it while it lasts
At the end of the day, it’s only a matter of time until your child moves out. You’ll miss the fact that you didn’t have to schedule in family dinners or think about making time to catch up with them to hear about their day. Enjoy the time you have with them as a family and respect that they are now young adults and not children anymore.