Millennials and members of Generation Z are moving back into their old bedrooms in droves due to factors such as student debt—but the trend is also driven by the fact that there’s less stigma now placed on young adults who move back in with their folks.
A recent study from TD Ameritrade reveals that about half of newly minted grown-ups are planning to move back home after college and likely will stay put longer once they return. If you have children who have recently graduated to adulthood, you might want to brace for a fuller house in the near future, and if you’re already enjoying a fuller house, this survey might help you understand the social and economic pressures that steer young adults back home so you can plan a conversation with them about the realities of that dynamic and consider what it means for your finances and your family.
More people think it’s OK to live at home for longer. The study polled three demographics…
- Generation Z (ages 15-21)
- Young millennials (22-28)
- Parents (30-60) with more than $25,000 in investable assets
Mid-20s grown-ups were rarely regarded with high esteem in years past, but the study shows that parents and both groups of young people don’t consider it “embarrassing” to live with Mom and Dad until an average age of 28.
That’s because the situation is more common. More than 80% of parents responded that they would welcome their children home after college—and millennials are taking them up on their generosity. Seven out of 10 respondents from that age group said that they planned to stay close to home for college, and half planned to move back in once they graduate—and not necessarily for the short term.
Generation Zers are optimistic, perhaps naïvely. The youngest respondents were more confident than millennials that they would move out sooner, and the study’s authors suspect that might be because they haven’t yet experienced the realities of the process. Half of Gen Zers think they’ll be on their own before they reach 20, compared with 40% of millennials, and 24% of millennials believe they’ll be living with their folks into their late 20s or 30s.
Gen Z is more likely to have faith in the Bank of Mom and Dad. Gen Zers who do plan to move back home are likely to assume it will be a rent-free venture. Nearly 80% of the youngest respondents expected a free ride, compared to 62% of millennials. Parents fall in the middle—about 66% of them expect to collect some cash for their troubles. If you’re wondering what to charge your returning child should you decide to ask for rent, the average monthly amount of rent paid to mom and dad is $500.
Student debt plays a big role. If your child racks up big debt to pay for college, he/she might end up staying home. Nearly one in three millennials report student debt as a primary reason for not moving out. And when the study asked about getting married, buying a home, having children and saving for retirement, one in five millennials cited student debt as an overall barrier for these important milestones.
So, what does this mean for you as a parent? Around half of parents involved in the study (44%) said they plan to be empty nesters by age 50, and 60% are looking forward to it as an “exciting” chapter in their lives. They expect retirement to follow soon after, with half planning to retire in their mid-to-late 60s. If an adult child moving back home interrupts those plans, look on the bright side—your kids are likely planning to pay back the favor. A full 81% of combined Gen Zers and young millennials are planning to take care of their parents in old age, even though only one-third of parents expect that to be necessary.
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