If you’re a parent wondering if your grown-up child will ever manage to fly the nest, you’re not alone.
Last July, figures from the Central Statistics Office revealed that almost 460,000 adults over 18 still live at home. It confirms the Eurostat 2016 survey that found that almost 23% – or 1 in 4 Irish adults – over 25 are living in the family home.
And while it would be great if we were all living as one big happy family, new research sheds light on the financial pressures the ‘boomerang’ generation of young adults is putting on their parents.
7 in 10 (72%) of parents of boomerang children say their household spending has increased – although less than half (41%) charge any form of ‘rent’ for their kids to live back at home.
The research, from Skipton Building Society, found finishing university and reaching 30 were often trigger points for moving back in with parents. Some were using the family home as a base to search for jobs, and others were nursing a broken heart following a relationship breakdown.
Among parents who were taking contributions from their adult children for household running costs, the average amount was the fairly modest sum. While some parents spent the extra cash on food and groceries, others were sensibly putting the money away for a rainy day.
Jacqui Bateson, customer proposition manager at Skipton Building Society, says: "Whether you’re 21, 41 or 61, saving for the future is just as important. Having the kids return to the nest is a good opportunity to have a broader conversation about money – we actually found that many parents tend to charge their children rent primarily to help them become more familiar with money management.
"It could also be a good time to revisit your own finances and think about how you’re saving for yourself, as well as being there for your children when they need you."
To help parents consider ways to ease the strain on their wallet, Skipton has teamed up with Becky Wiggins, a parent blogger, who offers her tips for managing finances:
1. See your child’s return home as a positive. In this financial climate, it’s something that a lot of young people have to do, so there’s really no stigma attached.
2. Whether they’re job hunting or starting their first job, your boomerang kid may already be saddled with quite a large amount of debt. Be empathetic to their situation and acknowledge how they’re feeling.
3. Being completely open about money suits everyone best. If the kids are worried about money, it’s easiest to get everything written down and chat about a plan for managing the debt.
4. Agree a contribution figure that suits everyone. Regular payments are also good practice for managing bills when they finally move out into their own place.
5. Money aside, there could also be other ways you and your child could help each other. Maybe they could look after the house or pets while you’re away, or you could give them lifts to job interviews.
6. If you’re already in a great financial situation, you could consider having your child home as a great way to help them build up a cash pot, such as a deposit for a house.
7. Don’t feel bad for asking. Now you’re all adults, they understand that you have your own finances to think about and that it’s unrealistic for you to provide everything for them.
8. Don’t ignore your own finances. Having adult children is a big step for you too. It’s a great time to have a look at your own finances, and take stock of savings, pensions, the mortgage and plans for retirement. You could move to somewhere cheaper – and no longer have to worry about buying near particular schools.