Sharing the Nest When Adult Children Fly Home

If you have adult children then you know that it’s more than just credit limits and investment accounts that have been affected by the slow economy; companies also are tightening their belts, and people of all ages are finding it harder to get (or keep) jobs. As a result, more and more adult children have been moving back in with their parents.

Of course every parent wants to do what’s best for their child, but Ruth Mantell of the Wall Street Journal writes in her article that in this case, being tough may be what’s best. This isn’t to say that you should refuse if your out-of-work child comes to your door asking for help, but that parents or grandparents need to do what’s necessary to protect themselves before they welcome their adult children back home. “With job losses continuing to mount, older Americans' wallets are being stretched by their own children,” Mantell writes, but having your adult children back in your home can actually be a good experience for all—if you know what to expect and take the right steps first.

In her article Mantell offers five useful tips to help keep the peace and keep your finances secure, including suggestions such as making sure everyone knows who is boss (you as the homeowner), asking for household contributions (even if all your children can afford is a token financial contribution or a contribution of manual labor), and especially preserving your retirement plans at all costs.

Although the practice has fallen out of style, multi-generational households used to be the norm. It may not be the ideal situation today, but with the right communication, and with everybody on the same page, temporarily sharing the house with your adult children can be an acceptable—and maybe even rewarding—experience.