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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Adults Living with Parents?

I read an article on the BBC website this morning (I like to stay in touch with UK and world events if I can) that kind of disturbed me.

It stated that 26% of young adults (which they classify as from 20 to the MID-30's!!) live at home with their folks.  In some parts of the country, like Northern Ireland, that number rises to 36%.

If this was simply because of financial reasons, like the economic downturn, I would be okay with it.  If there was some health reason, or an unforeseen tragedy, I would totally understand.  If it is a temporary stopgap, no big deal.

But it seems to be other reasons that drive a lot of these perfectly capable men and women (though it is, the study says, far more likely to be a man living with mum and dad), to stay with their parents even after being in the work force for well over 10 years.  And I think it's a problem that is already in the US and will continue to grow if we don't make some changes to our own parenting strategies.

Take the 'case study' they quote in the article.  He's on the younger end of the spectrum at only 25, but his reason for lingering at his folks house is this:  "It was meant to be short-term, but it developed from there, partly for financial reasons - I suddenly had a lot of disposable income and it became quite comfortable."

Do you see the problem?  He was expecting a lifestyle his age, experience and job could not afford, so opted to live at his parents house, basically sponging off of them for shelter, utility bills and food, etc., so he could have more money to spend on himself to be 'comfortable.'


That's the kind of mentality we are fostering in our own children when we inundate them with expensive gifts and luxuries (Iphones, Ipads, etc.) and never expect them to contribute or save up or, God forbid, wait!  If we don't connect the dots for them between hard work and reward, they will never see it themselves and expect what is not reasonable to expect.

The normal flow of life is NOT:  graduate high school, attend college, get a first 'real' job at 22 and buy the house of your dreams (all the while going on expensive vacations, having the latest technology, and driving the fanciest of cars).

And if we let our kids think that IS the natural flow, oh, how they are going to struggle.

It disturbs me how many kids leave high school, having been given a new car to drive and fancy cell phones, etc., and get totally punched in the face when they realize that even with a first 'real' job after college, they must share an apartment and forgo annual trips to Hawaii.  They don't 'get it' and often find themselves deep in credit card debt after living the life they have come to expect is their 'due.'

If our kids leave our homes and head into the world without understanding the connection between hard work and reward, or the concept of prioritizing needs over wants, or even the notion that we 'move up' the ladder as we go, we have failed at one of our primary parental responsibilities.

George Lucas (of Star Wars fame) once said something in an interview that has stuck with me.  I don't remember the exact quote, but it was something like:  'I tell my kids that I am rich, but they are poor.'  He was making the point that he has been very careful not to raise children who expect to live off of his success.  He could have showered them with every luxury known to man and ensured they never lifted a finger to work, but he wanted MORE for his children.  He wants them to pursue their own destinies, fulfill their own purposes, and to feel the pride and accomplishment that comes from doing it on their own merit.

I admire that.  And I want to give my kids that gift, too.

Don't get me wrong. . .if our kids ever need us, I hope we will be there for them. But if what they want is a free ride so they can spend whatever money they do make on themselves, while we are footing their other bills. . .well, no thanks.

I love my kids far too much for that.

(photo courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net and can be found here)


  1. My fiancé and I plan on living with my parents (rent free) for at least 12 months after we both graduate from college this year to save up for a down payment on a home. We would strictly live off of my paycheck (for gas, cell phone bill, etc.) while putting his paychecks away in savings. In return for my parents letting us live rent free, we would want them to live with us (rent free of course) when they are ready to retire, or really whenever they desire to.

    My paycheck can only stretch so far in paying for my fiancé and I, and I know my mom has mentioned helping out with the grocery bill, but maybe there are some non-monetary ways we could help out my parents?

    ~Kela (kay-luh) (:

  2. Hi Kela!

    Great question. . .there are definitely lots of ways to contribute to a household budget without opening your purse. Couponing is definitely one of the quickest ways to see a big return. I NEVER pay for things like: deodorant, toothpaste, mouthwash, dental floss, lip balm, most makeup, including removers, nail polish, razors (good ones!), razor blades, shaving cream, feminine hygiene products (and I have two daughters!), aspirin, most medications, even vitamins. You would be so surprised what you can get for free each week, or even get paid to take out of the store, at many of the major drugstores or places like Target and Walmart. So if you are willing to do some research and maybe cut some coupons, you can save the household a LOT of money without spending any. A great place to start is a website called www.thekrazycouponlady.com They have LOADS of information each day on current deals, but on Sunday they release something called "how to shop for free with coupons" which is a list of where free or better than free things are that week, and whether the matching coupon is, too (either regular coupons or printable ones). That will get you going, for sure.

    Also, since you won't fill a house with free stuff overnight, it's also great to know where you can get a great deal on stuff you need right NOW. So, go to www.couponmom.com and plug in your area and store and you can see a list of deals from highest percentage off through to lowest, which you can then compare to other stores to find the best deal.

    Other ways to help include doing the legwork to research the best phone, cable/satellite, electricity, insurance, etc., providers in your area. Sometimes, just by asking around, you can cut household bills significantly. And all it will take is a little effort on your part.

    Also, if there are services that your mom and dad currently either do or pay someone else to do (cutting grass, washing windows, shoveling snow, pet sitting, chopping wood, etc.), you can build that in as part of your 'rent.' Taking a burden off of them, or saving them the cost of hiring someone to do something, can be HUGE.

    Collecting recycling for them is also both great for the environment, taking a burden off of them, and could, potentially, bring in some 'household' funds.

    Another thing that I think is incredibly helpful is to insure you don't 'waste' their resources. If you leave lights on or food out or turn the heat up instead of getting a sweater, or such, it will quickly become frustrating for them.

    I hope that helps, Kela! And congratulations on your engagement! :)



    1. Thank you for your quick response! Those are awesome ideas and great advice I will definitely put to good use! (:

      Thanks again & love the blog!

      ~Kela (:

    2. You are so welcome, Kela! And I have to say, even your question made me smile. . .you clearly are a lovely, responsible young lady and that you even care about your parents in this way shows what kind of person you are!




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