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JEFF SOMERS: Tips to ease adult children out

Young adults, even those working full-time, choose to continue living with their parents for many, often financially-driven, reasons – from paying down the costs of their post-secondary education to saving for a house – but leaving the nest is an important rite of passage for both parents and their adult children.
Young adults, even those working full-time, choose to continue living with their parents for many, often financially-driven, reasons – from paying down the costs of their post-secondary education to saving for a house – but leaving the nest is an important rite of passage for both parents and their adult children. - 123RF Stock Photo

For many years, you’ve helped them out. Now it’s time to ease them out. Your adult children still living at home, that is.

According to Statistics Canada, more than one in three (34.7 per cent) young adults aged 20 to 34 were living with at least one parent in 2016, a share that has been increasing since 2001.

Young adults, even those working full-time, choose to continue living with their parents for many, often financially-driven, reasons – from paying down the costs of their post-secondary education to saving for a house – but leaving the nest is an important rite of passage for both parents and their adult children. So here are some practical tips on how to ease your kids out of the house and into a responsible adult life.

Jeff Somers
Jeff Somers

Plan for it: Help your youngster develop a realistic shorter- and longer-term life plan with achievable goals. Ensure they are contributing to a savings plan – a TFSA and/or RRSP, for example – to establish good fiscal habits before they leave home.

Set a “move out” deadline: It could be a “time” deadline – three months, six months, a year – or a “milestone” deadline – for example, six months after your child gets a job. Either way, be firm.

Shut down the parental ATM: Don’t be your adult child’s cash machine. Paying their own way is the only way to learn the “real life” costs of day-to-day living and the difference between a “want” and a “need”. If your child asks for money, offer it in the form of a loan that requires regular, specified payments.

Pay to stay: That could mean paying rent, helping to pay for the food they eat, and/or a portion of the expenses for using your vehicle(s).

Lower the comfort level: Stop cleaning their room, doing their laundry, making dental and other appointments for them.

Consider “transitional” accommodation: Have your child arrange for a brief “paid” stay with another family member or friend to help them prepare for the costs they’ll face when they’re on their own.

Know when to say “no”: Your child may ask you to co-sign for an apartment rental or car loan – think twice before you do it. If your child defaults, you’ll be held responsible and your credit may be damaged.

Being a parent is a life-long gift and it’s natural to want to help your children get a good start in life. But it’s equally true that when your children take longer to become self-sufficient, it creates financial challenges for you. That’s why you should discuss your situation with your professional advisor to make sure your financial life stays on track.

Jeff Somers, BA, RRC, CFP works at Investors Group in Charlottetown. This column, written and published by Investors Group Financial Services Inc. and Investors Group Securities Inc. presents general information only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any investments. Contact your own adviser for specific advice about your circumstances.

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