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Your baby bird left the nest and flew away to college. Now, your child’s formal education is complete. But while your kid is surely older and wiser, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll never need your help anymore.

That brings us to a question that literally millions of U.S. parents have faced at some point in their lives: “Should I allow my adult child to temporarily move back home?”

The answer to this question depends largely on your culture and family dynamics. But broadly speaking, there are some clear advantages to moving back home for a bit, while there are also some potential downsides.

Let’s go over some of the common pros and cons of letting your child move back into your home after they graduate.


Pros of Letting Your Kids Move Back Home

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In the right environment, a college graduate moving back home can be beneficial for both the recent grad and their parents.

1. Helps Young Adults Save Money

The most obvious advantage of parents letting their kids move back home is that it can significantly reduce their child’s living expenses.

Many graduates don’t yet have a job lined up and need time to fill out applications and find work. Even those lucky enough to start work right after graduation might not be able to afford their own place in some cities with a high cost of living.

A young adult might also be saddled with student loan debt, have an upcoming wedding, or need to save money for a house down payment.

In many scenarios, the savings from living at home and paying no rent (or a discounted rent) can be extremely useful at this age.

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2. Can Improve Parents’ Financial Situation

New graduates aren’t the only ones who can monetarily benefit from the situation.

Some parents compromise by having their adult children pay rent—but below market rates. Even if parents only receive a couple hundred dollars a month, that’s more than they received from their kids before, and it can provide critical wiggle room in a household budget.

3. May Reduce Parents’ Workload

Having older children at home can be beneficial for parents for other reasons, too.

For example, not all parents of college graduates are empty nesters. For those with minors still at home, free childcare—from a trusted, beloved brother or sister—in exchange for free housing can be an excellent arrangement for both parties.

And if you’re a parent who had children later in life, it could be useful to have children around to help with physically taxing projects. Some people’s children might be able to help run errands, do chores, provide tech support, even offer up tax advice, and otherwise help with many other aspects of daily life.

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4. Familial Bonding

A graduate temporarily moving back home creates the opportunity for the family to make new memories.

You surely hope your child will find a long-term job—but that job might be in another city, state, or even country. So if, before that happens, they can live at home, you can spend a little more time together.

This isn’t to say you should treat them like a minor and control their schedules. But merely having them within your household creates more chances to spend time with them—allowing them to get to know the adult version of their children better.


5. A Better Launching Pad

Let’s consider the alternative to your kid moving back home.

The graduate doesn’t yet have a job lined up in their field. They move into an apartment with numerous roommates, and they work a job in fast food to pay the bills. Should they have to move out, they’re responsible for finding a new roommate, or maybe they’ll face a punitive penalty for breaking the lease early. Suddenly, moving—even for a good job—becomes that much harder.

Now, let’s say your child is working overtime at a job outside their chosen field so they can afford accommodations and other expenses, they’ll have little time to apply for employment within their career field. That could also make it trickier to show up for interviews, and they might have to turn down low-paying (but high-value) internships.

Some time at home can provide your child more flexibility to start off on the right foot once it’s time to actually move out for good.

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Cons of Letting Your Kids Move Back Home

teens young adults listening to music

Before you start converting your craft room back into a bedroom, it’s important to consider some of the potential drawbacks of your children moving back home.

1. Lack of Independence for Graduates

Adult children require a certain amount of independence—but parents and their offspring often disagree on just how much independence is appropriate.

Should the young adult have to tell their parents when they are going out to the bar to meet up with some old friends, or should they be able to come and go as they please? Is it appropriate to bring strangers back into the parents’ house without prior permission? What other house rules should apply?

College graduates need to maintain a social life, and that might conflict with parents’ comfort levels. Families can’t go back to the exact same dynamic they had when the children were minors. So these questions must be discussed before anyone moves back home to determine whether anything that might come up would be a dealbreaker.

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2. Potentially Increased Costs for Parents

Unless you were previously renting it out, you’re not losing out on rent or mortgage costs by letting your child stay in their old room for free.

But utilities aren’t free. Food sure isn’t free, either.

If parents are paying for hourlong showers and enough groceries to feed a football team, household expenses could actually rise significantly. And some people might not be able to foot those larger bills.

3. Possible Decline in Motivation

When their accommodations are covered and they lack responsibilities, some young adults lose the motivation to move out. Staying in their old bedroom might make them feel like a little kid again … which might result in them acting more like one.

Also, some of these young adults might experience a dip in motivation due to depression. The graduate might feel as if they’re failing or regressing. They might be discouraged as they pay down student debt and struggle to save for a home.

While parents might think their child is just being lazy, excessive sleep and seemingly less ambition might be signs of a bigger problem.

Either way, the real or perceived lack of motivation can cause immense stress on the household.

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The Final Word

aarp discounts retire senior daughter family

In most situations, letting your children move back home has more positives than negatives. So, yes, if your kid wants to, you should let them live with you again.

But you must mutually agree on ground rules beforehand.

A parent and a child might not have the same speed in mind for moving back out, so set expectations ahead of time. Will it last a few months? A few years?

Determine whether the graduate is expected to pay any rent or utilities, and if so, how much. Whether you charge your child will largely depend on your financial situation; if an increase in utilities makes your budget uncomfortably tight, or you’re already living paycheck to paycheck, it’s perfectly reasonable to ask for some level of rent, utility and/or grocery contributions. (What specific level that is boils down to your unique situation.) Parents with plenty of budget might have their child pay rent to keep them motivated to move out—but then gift back the money when their kid has found an appropriate place to live.

Both you and your child must have an honest conversation—one where you’re not shy about discussing all the logistics with your child. And ultimately, both parent and child must come to an arrangement both parties feel is fair.



About the Author

Riley Adams is the Founder and CEO of WealthUp (previously Young and the Invested). He is a licensed CPA who worked at Google as a Senior Financial Analyst overseeing advertising incentive programs for the company’s largest advertising partners and agencies. Previously, he worked as a utility regulatory strategy analyst at Entergy Corporation for six years in New Orleans.

His work has appeared in major publications like Kiplinger, MarketWatch, MSN, TurboTax, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, The Globe and Mail, and CNBC’s Acorns. Riley currently holds areas of expertise in investing, taxes, real estate, cryptocurrencies and personal finance where he has been cited as an authoritative source in outlets like CNBC, Time, NBC News, APM’s Marketplace, HuffPost, Business Insider, Slate, NerdWallet, Investopedia, The Balance and Fast Company.

Riley holds a Masters of Science in Applied Economics and Demography from Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Finance from Centenary College of Louisiana.