A lot has changed since the baby boomers and older Gen X'ers were their children's age. Generally, back in their "younger years", they would not have found themselves living at home with Mum and Dad into their late 20's and possibly their early 30's. This trend to "stay home as long as possible" which is increasingly prevalent with many Gen Y'ers & Z'ers either choosing to stay at home or having to stay at home because of costs. Statistics cite that nearly 25 per cent of people aged 20 to 34 continues to live in the parental home in 2018 and that the trend is only going to increase.
So How Can You Help?
Well for many Gen X'ers and baby boomers with kids still at home (that maybe should have moved on a few years ago), it is really about helping your kids to "fly the coup" while also protecting them at the same time. So, let's look at some of the main reasons as to why children haven't left home and some tips on how you can best help them out of the nest and into their own place.
One of the biggest causes of "kids staying longer" is housing affordability – both renting or saving for a house deposit seem to be harder each year. We have seen property prices and rents escalate dramatically in some areas without the growth in wages to match. With this in mind, your goal needs to be to teach your children good savings habits from as young as possible. Living at home can create a sense in your children that they have a large disposable income, so money may be spent on non-essentials and entertainment. This is then a habit that continues through later life. Start by helping them create a budget with a savings plan included and support them to understand how to prioritise their spending and forgo (sacrifice) those items that are not necessary. It will be important for them to know that the accumulative effect that their daily coffee or weekend outing costs. If they're working, encourage them to save at least 20% of their weekly income into an account they can't easily touch.
University Fees and Living Costs:
University fees and the cost of living whilst at Uni is also another reason why children are staying in the nest longer. Hopefully, if you do have an adult child living at home they are doing a little bit of work to help supplement their living expenses. If they aren't it may be wise to give them a push in that direction. As much as it may pain you to talk about it, now is a good time to start educating your children on personal finances. We suggest that you talk to them about the monthly expenses you are paying on their behalf and the student loan that they are accruing. Talk to them about reducing any debt they've accumulated and discussed interest rates with them, pointing out they should be paying off the highest interest debts first. Whilst they may not want to pay much attention at this time in their lives, the goal is that when they finish university they will find a job and be faced with managing their own finances so by ensuring they are in the know you are going to help give them a flying start when they're off on their own.
Lastly, job security also plays a strong role in why kids are staying longer. From not being able to find a job after university to becoming unemployed through restructuring or redundancy, loss of income is not just an emotional time for those involved it also creates socio-economic limitations. The important key to helping your kids if they are out of work and struggling is to remind them that periods of unemployment happen, but they need to "bounce" quickly and get back out there. And be sure to not sacrifice too much yourself. You are also at a stage in life where you should be creating wealth for retirement, meaning your support for them must be balanced with your own goals at this time. If they are making a little money, ask them to pay some rent and then agree on some responsibilities such as cooking dinner, cleaning and washing that they can do to help out. You are not a hotel, and the responsibility will also help them to stay on track and get back to work faster. Give them a timeframe on how long they can stay back at home, make this realistic but not too long. We have all had dreams of becoming rock stars or the next Warren Buffet but sometimes career expectations need to be managed. Giving your kids a timeframe on how long they can stay will put boundaries in place and give them an understanding of what is needed right now. With work, it is generally easier to get a new job when you already have one.
Across all circumstances, it is important to share the responsibility of living with your children – financially, emotionally and practically. Be transparent and honest with them and support them to understand money so that they can make better decisions.
We hope you have found some useful tips in this week's "Money in Life" series. Remember we are only an email or phone call away if you would like to seek advice on how to help plan your family's wealth now and into the future.