Stigma Around Moving Back Home Decreasing

Student loans, rising housing costs lead parents to lend more help to adult children
A mother and daughter sit on a couch

While moving back home with parents as a young adult may spark feelings of frustration for some, a new survey suggests that the practice is becoming so common that the level of shame around it is dropping.

Boomerang kids are adults who move back in with their parents after having lived on their own. While setbacks such as divorce or job loss could prompt an adult child to move back home to lean more heavily on mom and dad, current economic pressures like student loans and rising home prices can also play a role.

Financial services provider TD Ameritrade sought to gain more insight into what some call “the boomerang generation” by commissioning research firm Harris Poll to survey more than 3,000 adults and teens aged 15 and up. The study focused on young millennials (ages 22 to 28), members of Generation Z (ages 15 to 21) and parents with more than $25,000 in investable assets (ages 30 to 60).

For the most part, survey respondents weren’t too bothered by the idea of adult children moving back home — as long as it was during their early to mid 20s. Among each generation surveyed, the age at which moving at home became an embarrassment was, on average, 28.

For some, moving back home is seemingly a rite of passage. In fact, half of the young millennials surveyed who currently attend college or plan to go to college say they expect to move back home when they finish school.

While the amount of time an adult child stays in his or her parent’s home will vary based on that child’s personal circumstances, the stint is unlikely to be short. In fact, 25% of young millennials reported moving back in with their parents for a year or two, while another 31% expect their time back home to be more than two years.

A large majority of parents were open to the idea, with 82% saying they would “welcome their children moving back home after college,” the survey found.

Parents also seem willing to help their kids save as much money as possible, with only 38% of young millennials expecting to pay rent while they’re living at home. Of those that do plan to pay rent, the average amount respondents anticipated paying was $486, well below Apartment List’s national median rent of $955 for a one-bedroom unit.

Survey findings also suggest that young adults expect to reciprocate by helping their parents financially at a later time. In fact, 81% of Gen Z and young millennial respondents said they expect to provide financial support and possibly housing to their parents later on in life.

One reason why the embarrassment surrounding moving back home is fading could be because multigenerational homes are becoming more common. Many families are finding that it’s financially advantageous for the different generations to share living expenses. But if you do move back home with your parents after college, it’s a good idea to live frugally so you can pay off any student loans more quickly or save up for other financial goals, such as home ownership.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.

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