Surprised? I’m not. Anecdotally, I’ve heard of many boomerang kids who couldn’t make it on their own in today’s difficult economy.
The recently released report by the Pew Research Center says that early this year, 67 percent of millennials (those 18 to 34) lived independently, down from 71 percent in 2007.
This trend is bad, right? We don’t want our kids, once they’ve left the roost, to return. We want them to thrive on their own. We want them to start a career and build a family.
Well, most parent might agree with those statements. But on the same day I read about the Pew report, I saw column in the Washington Post that argued it’s OK — and maybe even preferable — for millennials to live at home.
Michelle Singletary, a financial writer, said this:
Imagine how many more young adults could become homeowners a lot sooner and with greater financial stability if they spent their 20s or even early 30s living at home, using that financial breathing room to save rather than paying rent. If we’re living well into our 80s and 90s, that means millennials have decades of independent living. Give them time at home saving money or paying off debt or both, and you’ll release an adult ready for her financial responsibilities.
Wow, that’s a different take. I would expect a financial columnist to argue just the opposite: that young adults need to learn financial responsibility by living on their own. But I think Singletary has a point.
She writes that she and her husband advised their daughter to live at home while attending graduate school. Her reaction: “She shuddered,” Singletary writes. “I understand her reservation. But for her greater good, my recommendation makes more financial sense.”
If nothing else, Singletary’s column should make us think as parents. Maybe it’s not always best to expect a child, fresh out of college, to forge his or her own financial path. Economic times change. Perhaps it would be a wise investment — for the entire family — if millennials stayed at home longer.
Consider this if you have a young adult who is trying to live independently. Family circumstances vary. Just because some millennials are ready to cut the parental ties early doesn’t mean all should be expected to.