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How can I get my kid off my couch? Thumbnail

How can I get my kid off my couch?

Eighteen years of excellent parenting, four years at a great college, a happy graduation party and a real, full-time job. At last, our kids are entering the real world!

That’s the dream I’ve been having for years.1

While some families are living this dream, a growing number are not. The COVID years, high costs of housing, social media and a different attitude toward work all are translating into different paths for our young people today compared to “when I was a kid”.

When I was a kid

When I graduated from college, I was fortunate to have had enough savings and part-time work to pay for my four years and make it to graduation day. But after college I spent the first year or so in a bad job, living on a friend’s sofa, and paying off credit card bills. Money was tight and not working or taking a gap year abroad was never an option for me. The pressure to earn money and pay my bills was there for many years.

Fast forward to today

Today it is not uncommon for our adult kids to take more than four years to complete a bachelor’s degree. With the high cost of housing nearly everywhere in the US, it is also not surprising that many young people are coming back home to live. Plus, this generation is starting out with bigger student loan balances than any prior generation. Those loan payments can add up to a small mortgage payment.

It has taken me a while but I am now realizing two things:

  • I, too, spent some time trying to find myself in my 20s and 30s and,
  • Things ARE different today for young people than when I graduated

This requires a different plan.

Now, I will be the first to admit that I have not mastered this transition. However, I’ve talked to many families and read a lot on this subject. Here are my thoughts:

You’ve been fired

The first step starts with realizing that your role as a parent has changed. You are no longer the boss of your kids—and they know it.2  You can no longer effectively tell your kids what to do. They want to make their own decisions, even if they are not completely sure they are making the right choice. Continuing to try to control their decisions will likely not go well.

The consultant

You have a new job—consultant. Like most consultants, you will be called in for advice when the company (e.g., your adult child) occasionally wants your help. Note, I said you will be CALLED. Not you will be TELLING THEM. Further, as consultant, your company may decide that your work is done before you believe it is finished. In other words, you may want to keep helping them, but that may not be what they want or need. As a consultant, your job is now to provide observations and advice when your adult child asks for it—not when you want to give it. This can be especially hard if they are living in your house because you see their activity (or lack there of) everyday.

Setting the ground rules

If your adult child moves back home (or never leaves after high school), you’ll need to lay down a different set of rules. This will vary by family but the objective is to have them share significant responsibility for what it takes to run and maintain the household. Household chores, grocery shopping, doing errands, home maintenance and repairs are on the menu for your adult child, including paying rent to live with you.

Ground rules are important. You kid is no longer a kid so the rules have to change. In our house we expect him to do chores every day. In addition, we have told him that he needs to have a job(s), preferably in his chosen field, to build up his experience. We have also told him that after graduation he will need to start paying rent. Why? Because someday when he is able to move out of our house he will need to pay rent—and utilities, and groceries, etc. It will be a good skill to learn and will set the right expectations.

You will likely have other ground rules, too, such as getting advance notice of when his or her eight friends are coming over for dinner and a movie or being told generally where he or she is going when out for a night or several days.

Pay attention to the money

I am asked often by my clients, “How can I teach my kids to be responsible with their money?” It is not an easy answer. You are not going to want to hear this, but kids learn the most about money from you, their parents. That includes your good and bad money habits. They can also learn about it from friends or family members, too.

During high school I was fortunate to take a job working part-time at a local bank but most kids do not get that kind of exposure to working with money or finances. One of the best ways to learn about money is by earning and spending your own money and that includes making some mistakes along the way. No one wants their kids to waste money, but sometimes a poor financial decision can be the best teacher.

If you would like to talk about your adult kids, give me a call. I’d be happy to share some stories and see if we can come up with some ideas for getting your adult child moving in the right direction. You can schedule a quick call with me by clicking HERE.

Lyman H. Jackson



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Check out our other blogs at www.PlanWithFPS.com/blog

· 5 Things to Consider Before Moving in Retirement https://planwithfps.com/blog/5-things-to-consider-before-moving-in-retirement

· Empty Nesting: Why is it taking so long for my adult child to grow up https://planwithfps.com/blog/empty-nesting-why-is-it-taking-so-long-for-my-adult-child-to-grow-up ·

Empty Nesters: When your adult kids come home https://planwithfps.com/blog/empty-nesters-when-your-adult-kids-come-home

1 With two kids having their college degrees (almost) and our youngest finishing his sophomore year in college, we are getting really close to being official empty nesters.

2How many times have you heard, “I’m adult now and can make my own decisions!”

©2024 by Financial Planning Solutions, LLC (FPS), a Registered Investment Advisor. Reprinting or redistribution only by permission. FPS provides this blog for informational and educational purposes only. Nothing in this blog should be considered investment, tax, or legal advice. FPS only renders personalized advice to each client after entering into an advisory relationship. Information herein includes opinions and forward-looking statements that may not come to pass. Information is derived from sources believed to be reliable. Information is at a point in time and subject to change without notice. Such information may not be independently verified by FPS. Please see important disclosures link at the bottom of this page.

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