If this caught your eye, maybe it is because you are one of the millions of parents out there who are still supporting your adult child who move back home. They may have graduated from college and gotten a position with a fairly good company. Maybe it’s not their dream career they wanted, but it is a start. And the expectations of the salary they thought would be guaranteed; well it’s not the greatest.
Almost right away, they purchase a new car, cell phone and cable TV. For young adults these are real necessities, maybe more than food. The rent at their apartment continues to increase. Many other expenses keep popping up. The student loan still needs to be paid. Life is still fun and games, not to mention the temptation of all the easy credit lines that are just waiting for the next victim. Maybe your son or daughter?
You think to yourself, how could this happen to them. Thousands of dollars of credit card debt. You thought you taught them to be more responsible than that.
Now, their new job is not so great. Possible layoffs, downsizing or other reasons companies let people go. Now, your adult kid is in a financial dilemma. In order to fix this problem, they need to move back to your house, because now they can’t afford rent, electricity or even food anymore. This is a reality that is increasing more and more with adult children between the ages of twenty-four to thirty.
Is there anything you can do to help?
If they move back home, you need to set certain guidelines and boundaries to really help. This does not mean that you should be helping them with their payments from your savings or money you still earn. This will not help them learn. If you pay their bills, then you have put them on a plan to pay you back instead of the creditors they owe. This could turn against you and them, because their credit score will look outstanding in the eyes of even more creditors. Basically, it will be enabling them to live a big financial lie.
The truth is young adults are particularly vulnerable to falling into credit card debt, no matter how they were raised. It’s not your fault as a parent and you should not take responsibility.
This is not to say you should turn your back on them either. You can help them through their problem the right way and hope they will never get back into credit card debt again. Teaching will allow them to gain the wisdom you know they need. There are healthy ways to help and it starts with you as the parent. Of course you care and would do anything to help them through their debt situation, but you also need to be cautious. Help them to create a real plan of paying it all off themselves. If they had no other choice and moved back into your home, give them some flexibility, but you should put together a plan for their contribution towards things like food, utilities and luxury services in your home.
Living in your home again for a temporary amount of time is ok, but they should be expected to keep at least one or even two jobs, whatever it takes to be responsible for their debt payments and other cost of living expenses. It may be a long road, but they will learn some well needed and valuable lessons or it may revitalize the lessons you tried to instill in their earlier youth. Realize for your own health and well being that you are not being harsh or mean, but you are helping to make them into a more responsible adult by letting them face their own debt mistake. An adult who can earn their own way through life and gain wisdom through personal experiences will truly be happier for it.