Anyone who has found themselves in a tight financial spot has wondered – even if just for a moment – whether they should move back in with their parents.
It could be that you lost your job, or that you are finding it difficult to provide for your children, or that you are in-between marriages, or really, any number of reasons.
Moving back in with parents as an adult child may seem like it will fix many of the problems you’re facing. And it certainly will fix some.
However, navigating your new roles in each other’s lives will take a bit of work and understanding.
Before you and your parents jump into this new situation, let’s talk about the pros, the cons, and some overall tips for moving back home.
And, moving back to the family house isn't just for millennials or young adults; it's a money move that sometimes forces even older generations to move back in with mom and dad.
Reasons people end up moving back in with parents
How can money problems force you to live with your parents?
There are lots of reasons why more than one third of young adult children (ages 18-34) live at home with Mom and Dad.
Most are financial, and some are not.
Recent grads might be unable to find a job to support both themselves and their student loan debt payments, so they move back home.
Some young adult children find themselves divorced. Moving back home can help both emotionally and financially during this trying time.
Other reasons include:
- To take care of aging parents
- A larger economic downturn impacting job prospects
- Medical issues that drain bank accounts
- To get back on their feet after losing a job
- Transitioning out of the military and into civilian life
- To get childcare help with raising kids while working full-time
- Paying off a student loan or student debt
- Saving to meet long-term goals
No matter what the reason is, you should understand both the pros and cons to making this big decision.
Pros to moving back in with parents
Living with parents again after being on your own, and your parents being on their own, can have some really nice perks for everyone involved.
One that sticks out to me is that you get to build a new relationship that can be much more friend-like and much less managerial than the one you had when you were a child or teen. You also might get access to home-cooked meals which, in many families, is a plus.
Not only can moving back home help your own finances, but if you contribute to the rent, utilities, and other household expenses, you just might help your parents with their finances as well.
You can also get your finances into better shape and do things like paying off a loan. That can not only make your long-term goals more achievable, it can be good for your mental health too.
Depending on your situation, there could be other benefits, such as:
- Childcare help
- Letting you pause and reset, financially and emotionally, with a roof over your head
- Providing companionship to one another
- Pooling resources such as one internet account, one Netflix account, and a shared computer to decrease the cost for everyone
The pros to moving back home can be incredible. Yet, there are some cons to consider as well.
Cons to moving back in with parents
Parents of kids who have left to begin their own life – whether that’s leaving for college, to take a first job, or moving down the road to a first apartment – have had to partly create a new identity for themselves.
If you’re their last or only child, the parents have likely mentally adjusted to their new lives as empty nesters. They may have a new normal … one where their adult child is not part of their daily life anymore.
This means that not only will moving back home be a big change in schedule to you, but it will also be a big change in schedule to your parents.
Some parents change their child’s room into a space they had always hoped for, such as a guest room, an office, or a nursery for visiting grandchildren. This means that each of you might have a different living arrangement in mind when visualizing how the new setup will go.
Another possible con to moving back in with parents comes from mismatched expectations for both household responsibilities and financial responsibilities.
When you were a child living at home, you likely had most costs associated with your needs handled by your parents. Now that you’re an adult child moving back home, you and your parents will need to hash out what will be expected of you financially.
And for household responsibilities, you each will need to decide how chores and household tasks like grocery shopping, cleaning the toilets, and vacuuming are going to be handled. It's not your house and while you may be contributing money, you still have to work out new rules.
How does moving back in with your parents affect your relationship with them?
One of the bottom lines I want you to understand from this discussion is that each of these pros and cons has the possibility of affecting your relationship with your parents.
Both in good ways, and in bad ways.
For example, moving back in with your parents as an adult gives each of you a wonderful opportunity to see one another in a different light. Your parents get to see you as the adult version of yourself, and you get to see your parents as adults instead of just “Mom and Dad.”
This can do wonders for your relationship, especially over the long term.
On the other hand, your relationship could be affected negatively if expectations are not met by either side. For example, if you are repeatedly late with rent, or if your parents suddenly try to dictate your schedule, then there could be hurt feelings.
Remember, a relationship is built over time, even if they’ve known you since birth. This is a new relationship. There are going to be skirmishes (hopefully small ones). Your two best tools to work through problems are going to be communication and respect for one another.
Being family is not always easy when sharing a house. Talk about the situation so you can handle it well.
Tips on how to move back in with your parents
Have you decided you should move back home with parents?
Here are some tips that should help to protect both you and your parents, as well as your relationship.
Tip #1: Discuss requirements ahead of time
The last thing you and your parents want to do is harm your relationship due to mismatched expectations that were never discussed.
Avoid this by having several casual conversations about your parents’ requirements if you were to move back home. For example, they may require you to pay rent. Or to pay half of the grocery bill. And if you are moving back home to get back on your feet financially? Don’t be surprised if they have household tasks that they expect you to perform in lieu of payment.
Tip #2: Write up an agreement
One way to both protect you and to show your parents that you have matured is to set up a formal agreement before you move in. Outline the requirements to be met in order for you to live in their home, including financial things as well as less formal ones like how chores and other details are going to be handled.
This way, in the event of a disagreement, you can each go back to the written agreement to discuss.
You won’t necessarily hit on every possible point of contention — “I didn’t know I needed to call if I was going to stay at a friend’s house overnight, I’m an adult!” — but create a starting point and build on it.
Tip #3: Keep an end date
When you’re moving in with someone, it’s best for everyone’s sake to put a deadline on it.
When do you estimate you’ll be moving back out?
Committing to that date helps each of you when making plans to move on with your lives once the new living arrangement changes.
Tip #4: Calculate your new living expenses
After you get your parents’ requirements for moving in, you want to sit down and calculate what your new living expenses will look like if you move back home. Take into account moving expenses, too.
How long will it take for you to get back on your feet by moving back home, given your new set of expenses?
Tip #5: Set aside time to socialize as a family
Did you decide to move back in with your parents? This won’t last forever. Be sure to take advantage of this rare opportunity to get to know your parents better by setting up social time with them. You could all share a favorite show together, and each bring an appetizer to eat for the same time each week when it airs. Or, you could offer to participate in part of your parents’ social circle, like attending church with them on Sundays.
Think about ways to use this time to improve your relationships with one another. You won’t be sorry.
There’s lots to consider when thinking about moving back home with your parents – both for you, and for your parents. Take the time to really get clear about the topics above for yourself, and to get clear about your parent’s thoughts so that you each understand the best way to move forward in this season of life.
–By Amanda L. Grossman