11/19/2012 7:15 PM ET|
Is it time to cut off your kids?
As more young adults live with Mom and Dad, parents may wonder how to prepare kids for financial independence.
You or someone you know probably has an adult child living at home, according to a "60 Minutes" and Vanity Fair poll. More than half, 54%, of today's parents say there's no set time when kids should stop living at home -- not when they graduate from college or get a full-time job, or even when they get married. More and more college-age and post-college-age children are taking advantage of this and living at home.
Forty percent of American adults ages 18 to 39 either live at home or have done so recently, according to a poll for the National Endowment for Financial Education. That's alarming, as the findings exclude students and include "kids" up to the age of 39. The same survey found that these adult children are having a financial impact on their parents, too. Of the surveyed parents with adult children living at home, 26% have taken on debt to support their kids, and 7% have delayed retirement.
This begs the question for the 46% of parents who think kids should live their own lives at some point: When should you cut the financial cord?
Children should begin earning for themselves at an early age by contributing to household chores and taking on extra tasks to earn cash, says family finance expert Ellie Kay. Make sure children understand their responsibilities, and have their contributions increase as they get older.
"If you set a precedent that you will just hand over cash every time kids ask, the problem can exacerbate as adult financial responsibilities and mistakes take over," she says.
David Bakke, a personal finance reporter, says his parents had a rule: If he wanted to buy something, he had to earn the money to pay for it. Today, he says it's "one of the best things my parents did for me."
This rule also applied to Andrew Schrage, one of Bakke's reporting colleagues. Schrage's parents made him save up for a car as a teen, "although they did sell me one of their old cars at a significantly reduced rate and (paid) for my auto insurance into my late teens," he says.
Kay agrees that if a teen wants to drive, the child should pay for his or her own car. She also thinks teens should be required to pay for a portion of their auto insurance so they appreciate what it costs.
The entitlement generation
An attitude of entitlement is especially prevalent in kids who are not used to earning their own way and have no idea what items cost, Kay says.
"As parents, we owe our children food, clothing, health care and shelter, not fun with friends, designer clothing, cellphones with data plans, a car or a party-school college experience," Kay says. "If kids want those things, they need to earn it for themselves. Otherwise, they feel entitled instead of appreciative."
She emphasizes that when kids work for things, they value them more. And that includes a college education.
Students who choose to work to contribute a moderate amount toward their college expenses often do better academically, according to the College Board. Two-thirds of full-time undergraduate college students receive some type of financial aid. About 61% of that aid is in the form of grants, scholarships, federal work-study, tax credits and deductions that do not have to be repaid. The remaining 39% of financial aid dollars consists of loans.
Start cutting the cord on college financing early. Kay says teenagers should know a portion of their time must be spent working toward money for college. This includes attaining a high grade-point average and excelling in extracurricular activities. In addition, researching local, affordable schools; applying for state scholarships, grants and work-study programs; or joining the military are all ways to reduce college costs and earn money for tuition and living expenses, Kay says.
She adds that the goal is to raise adults who take responsibility, because the period between ages 18 and 22 is when a parent should start ending most forms of financial support.
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I totally get the idea of the sit on the couch, video game playing do nothing 25 year old who can't manage to finish college or do anything worthwhile. I get it. But to blankly say that kids should be basically on their own is preposterous in this day and age, and was in generations past, I might add. My grandparents, who hit their twenties during the depression both lived with their parents until they were married. They were forced to put off marriage until the job market improved. Meanwhile, they lived with their FAMILY and contributed to their FAMILY until they were able to support themselves. That's what families do.
Today's reality is that most (responsible) parents do not have the expectations that their 17 or 18 year old high school grad is going to be able to miraculously support themselves the instant they graduate from high school. Most either need to go to college or begin a career where the pay is initially so low that it is virtually impossible to support yourself. I am assuming the high school grad has not managed to bring a child into the world, become addicted to drugs or alcohol, or other such problem. So, is it right for a parent to throw a kid into a society that is no longer designed for high school grads to get jobs and support familes? Why bother to have kids? What's the point? Mulitigenerational families used to be the norm. It's only in recent generations that the generations have developed the attitude that everyone is on their own.
If you can help your child through college either through financial assistance or a place to live while they do so, you should as long as they keep up their side of the bargain. If they won't follow the rules, than they are on their own
But there a many young adults out there going to school, working part time jobs who still rely on financial support from their parents. I remember my parents constantly telling me while I was paying for law school and living on my own that I could live with them if I wanted to save money. But I thought I should do grad school on my own. We (my parents and I) paid for undergrad with scholarships earned by me, my summer jobs, and my parents financial support. They also gave me a car my sophomore year in college and paid my car insurance. They did similar things for all of my siblings, and we are all contributing members of society now many years later saving for our own kids to go to college. You can give kids appropriate support and have it turn out well. But it's up to you as the parent to make sure it's being used wisely.
I think more parents should kick their adult children out, really, if their children are working. If no one is forcing these children to leave, they will stay in their parent's house permanently. You can't beat free rent and free meals.
I know adults who don't work who live in their parents house. Some people just do not feel the need to be responsible. They don't feel societal pressure than an adult should be working and responsible. They don't feel that, not even if all their friends are working or that they're already 30 years old and still jobless.
Well, why should they feel the need to work when they have a place to live for free? I don't know where they get money to buy clothes or video games or whatever, but for some reason, they have money to buy those things despite not having a job.
But if their parents pressured them to leave their house, that will give them a reason to get off their butt and find a job, like the rest of society. These types of people will not work until they are forced to.
The reality for new workers is that, unless you are in a high demand occupation, your services are worth less than they were in the last generation. Our country is moving away from production to service jobs.
However, it is easier to produce high value goods using low skill services (workers / assemblers) than producing high value services (i.e. doctors, lawyers, dentists) using low skill workers.
The majority of the service workers have skill sets that are easily replaceable and so the marketplace for their services at minimum wage is creating an economic subclass which drags in more and more of these minimally skilled workers.
Their presence adds a burden to the government to provide basic needs since the marketplace will not compensate them sufficiently to have a living wage.
They become the taxpayers' burden so the private sector can have more profits.
I consider my mom probably the best of the parents in my circle of family and friends. They (Family and friends that are my age) will tell you that I was spoiled because my mom gave me "everything". I constantly along with older family members (aunts and uncles alike) who really KNOW my mom, have to let them know my mother was a MILITANT. Yes she bought me new school clothes and my first car etc...but the caveat was that I excelled in school and didnt misbehave. I brought home a 99 on a math test once and her answer was "where is the other point?" If I missed an assignment she rose HELL on me..and I mean hell!!! I rode the bus to and from school by myself and as a latchkey kid went home and did my homework by myself. She never checked it because it would always reflect in my report card and knew I feared her second to god. She never just handed things over to me. She made me work for them. I got a job at 16 and worked two jobs until I was about 19 and maintained one job.
She didnt allow me to stay home after High School. She packed my bags for me and told me I had to go away to school and that I had to learn independence. She saw that I was taking my time choosing a school and she gave me hell. So I got into a school, she dropped me off and headed home. I didnt have the option to come home. AT ALL. I had to finish. Once I finished I decided on Grad school (because she said I couldnt come home). I finished grad school and moved back to the city. She gave me a month to get a job and 6 months to move out. I ended up getting a job overseas immediately within 2 weeks of graduation and never came back home to live.
All in all I received spoils but I was far from spoiled. She cut me off financially at graduation (Undergrad) and even beforehand she would help me here and there because she saw that I was not only excelling in school but had a job all the time. Im 33 now and because of her I have accomplished way more than my counterparts. I never went back home. I never borrowed money from her. I didnt screw up financially (she caught me before I did that too- boy that was a scream session I will never forget as I opened up a major credit card then ran it up faster than I could pay it off) and my credit is stellar. I am doing well and all because she had an iron fist!
It doesnt work for everyone but it sure worked for me! BS in Economics, MS in Accounting, 6 figure paycheck, nice home, nice bank account, no shiny toys and always saving for the future.
Thanks Mom!! (and yes she was a single parent)
This will continue because we voted for Obama. We had a chance to try something different and we chose not to. Obama hates capitalism and loves bigger government, and more and more people are agreeing with him. The takers get enough to get by on and the producers keep getting beat down. Business owners large and small are wondering if it is even worth the struggle anymore, so please shut up about kids who can't find work because we will have 4 more years and beyond because of who we elected.
If a kid's going to continue living at their parents' place after high school, they should play rent!
Most of the people who fail in life do so because of poor choices they have made.
Drop out of school, have children too early, etc.
Not everything is under our control in life, but a lot of things are.
When certain family members say we are lucky to have what we have, I reply: "When you dropped out of school and spent every waking minute partying and popping out kids, we were sending ourselves to college and working to better ourselves."
That usually shuts them up.
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