Did your adult children return to living at home during the pandemic?
The phenomenon of ‘boomerang kids’ is well documented and carries with it some important financial planning considerations.
New research from Barclays has found that adult children who boomeranged back home during the lockdown resulted in higher costs for parents.
The research found that these boomerang kids totted up an average bill for parents of £2,702.28 in additional household costs.
The biggest weekly costs associated with children returning to the family home during the pandemic were increased bills (£55.29), subscriptions including Netflix (£22.18) and the food shop (£25.30).
Despite facing higher expenditure due to the kids coming home, most parents are not charging their children rent.
The research found that 90% of parents are letting their children live with them rent-free, where they returned home during the Covid-19 pandemic.
A quarter of parents said they chose not to charge rent because they felt awkward asking their children for a financial contribution towards household expenses.
However, more than half of adult children made some level of financial contribution to the household bills where possible.
Children contributed an average of £29.57 a week, which more than covers the typical increase in the weekly food shop.
As well as paying their way when they can, most adult children find other ways to help out, including cooking, washing up and cleaning.
Jo Harris, Head of Barclays Money Mentors, said:
“As someone who has moved in with their parents during lockdown, I know first-hand how much of an adjustment it can be and how uncomfortable approaching the topic of money can feel.
“Like many, I’ve been very fortunate that my parents haven’t charged me rent but I think it’s really important to keep communication as open and honest as possible, so we did have a frank chat about how I would contribute during my time back at home.”
Despite the higher costs associated with children moving home, nearly a third of parents admitted that it was worth the money to have their adult children stay.
More than half of parents surveyed said they felt relieved knowing their child was safe during the pandemic, and 55% said they were grateful for getting to spend the time together.
Barclays Head of Behavioural Science, Dr Peter Brooks, shared his top tips for talking to your children about money:
Be open about your desire to talk about money.
Trying to slip it into conversation will be tricky. Rather than skirt around the subject or ambush your children, proactively raise the fact you’d like to talk about money and agree a time where you can all sit down and talk through a plan that works for everyone. Depending on yours and your child’s circumstances, bear in mind that they might feel nervous to discuss their finances. Talking about money is important, and broaching the subject in a reassuring and understanding way will help put them at ease.
Make sure any conversations about money are held in a relaxed environment – maybe even outside of the home - where both you and your children feel calm and at ease and therefore you will all be more open to having a productive discussion.
Mind your language.
When having conversations about money, explain how you feel through open and honest language. It is less likely to be interpreted as confrontational or challenging and will help encourage honest conversations on both sides. As well as communicating your own agenda, remember that it’s also important to listen to your child’s thoughts. This is about working together to get to a solution that works for everyone.
It’s not all about the money.
Keep in mind that a monetary contribution might not be the only answer. If they are unable to make a financial contribution or you’d prefer they didn’t, suggest they could help out with a regular household task such as preparing family meals, or ask them to give you a hand with your latest DIY home improvement project. Not only will you get the benefit of their help, it will also help them to know they are contributing.
Be aware of the changing family dynamic.
For many, their children were in their late teens when they last lived with them full time. Be mindful not to revert back to the same parenting role, being respectful of the fact that you’re both in a different phase of your lives. Be understanding that they have grown up and have led their own independent life, and might approach things differently to you.