With the new school year starting young adults are moving out on their own all across America. If done incorrectly the process of teaching your young adult how to be self-sufficient can be difficult. In this post we’ll cover three of the best ways to wean your young adult or adult children into independence.
Many adult children are still extremely reliant upon their parents for financial needs. Even into their mid-twenties, mom and dad are still paying for absolutely everything. And although this can be helpful to get through college, it isn’t always the healthiest approach.
Many students don’t take their education seriously when they’re not paying for it themselves, and others find it difficult to adjust to independent life after they graduate.
If you’re one of these parents but want to help your kids become independent, the following are three great ways to help wean them off of your bank account.
First, the joke, “he probably lives in his mother’s basement” is truer than a joke these days. Considering how cheap it is to live at home, many adult children default to a parent’s basement rather than pay for an apartment. It’s easy to do because mom loves to have her kids around, and it saves them a lot of money. The crazy thing is that it’s not just single children who are doing this either.
Many children move in with their spouses. It’s true that they first years of marriage can be difficult, especially where finances are concerned. These children will sometimes nest in for years to come. They have children and stay at home. Their children head off to elementary school, from their grandparent’s home. These families should be sheltering their kids under their own roofs, especially when they have a job that could be paying for their lives.
If you’re housing a single guy, a girl’s not going to want to find out that he’s still living with his mom. He has a much better chance at a social life outside of the home than he does where he’s at. He may even get married.
If this has happened to you, and you’re ready to have your kids get a move on with their lives, be up front with them. Reaffirm your love, but make it clear that they should be working on finding a place for themselves. It is your house. These are your rules, and you can still lovingly talk to them about how much better it is for them to seek their own life style.
After they move out, a great way to show love for them is to invite them over for dinners once a week. Show them that your home can still be a safe haven from the worries of the world with a free meal and familiar company, and that can give them encouragement during their time of adjustment.
Second, if they still rely on you to pay for their lifestyle, adjust that. You don’t have to drop every financial responsibility in the book on them all at once. That kind of adjustment would be extremely hard. It can be extremely good for them, but they might resent you for it and you might even hate the idea.
Wean them off instead. Set up a plan. Tell them that in three months from today, you no longer intend to pay for an expense: tuition, books, car, food, title loan payments or cell phone bills for example. In six months you will no longer pay something else. In a year, you won’t pay for something else, etc., etc. until they are finally financially independent.
You can help them find ways to support themselves though. If they’re not working, they will need to learn to find a job. If they have a job that isn’t making enough, encourage them to find a better one. If they are going to school and aren’t sure how they’re going to pay for tuition, encourage them to get a scholarship or grant. Student loans are always another option. You can guide them on a path to financial independence, helping them to grow up and helping you to gain financial independence as well.
Three, sit down to discuss their long-term goals. Have a good chat with your son(s) or daughter(s) about what their future goals are for independence. Ask them questions. When do they see themselves becoming independent? How long do they intend to live with you? What do they want out of life? See what goals for independence they’re trying to achieve and offer your help to get them there. Sometimes just talking about the issue can help them meet future goals much sooner than you expected. They might just need a bit of support from an interested parent.
Take these three ideas to heart and give them a shot. Your kids will have the best chance of success in this world when they’re introduced to financial independence, not sheltered indefinitely. Although you don’t need to kick them out and cut them off, you can go a long way to help your adult children seek complete financial independence starting today.