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The Kids Are Back and They Are Staying Awhile

Baby Boomers begot Boomerang Kids who move back home and  then stay, and stay, and stay creating a “mutigenerational boarding house.”  That’s the term coined in a recent survey that found that adult children are moving back, not as a temporary arrangement, but often for a year and beyond. The general manager of that boarding  house is a baby boomer mom who often feels stressed to be back in a role that she was ready to retire to the “been there, done that” category.

Not surprisigingly, many women reported that the boomerang experience “affected their available discretionary income, their marriage, and how much they can eat out or travel,” said Stephen Reily, the CEO of Vibrant Nation, a website for women over age 50. 

In an online survey,  Vibrant Nation asked readers about their boomerang children.  The findings:

–63 percent said adult children had returned home to live

–66 percent expect those children to remain for a year or more

— 40 percent found that the experience has either strained or greatly worsened their relationship with the adult child

–77 percent were helping with their adult children’s expenses

–40 percent had dipped into their own retirement funds for the increased expenses

 While the weak job market, especially among entry level positions, has been blamed for the boomerang kids, there are other reasons including parents’ own financial needs.  The survey found about a third of the boomerang kids are paying up to $500 a month in rent.

 Mr. Reily said that in some cases an adult child may have moved back home to help out financially because a parent lost a job.  Other possible reasons include that the parents can’t sell the family home in a down market and asked the child to move home to help financially until the housing market improves.

Also some adult children find that paying rent to parents usually brings some nice perks: laundry, home cooked meals, big screen TV.  Why not pay $600 a month for those amenities rather double the amount and be crammed into an apartment with three roommates?  The time at home also gives them time to build some savings.

The survey found that the number of moms who are unhappy with the boomernage kids is balanced an eqaul percent who are pleased to have the nest refeathered.    The moms who have best managed this “innkeeper” role have  “established rules governing their adult children’s behavior while they share space, rules relating to cooking, chores, financial contributions, pets, childcare, and general respect,” said Mr. Reilly.

So here’s a tip: Remember that chore chart that used to adorn the fridge? Update it as an Excel spreadsheet with columns for everything that needs to be done for running a household and start slugging in the names of those boomerang kids, and husband  too!  Something good may actually come out of this.

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