If your grownup children still live at home, should they share cost of living in the common household?
There are two possible extremes here--demanding rent as soon as they turn 18 years old, or allowing them to stay for free indefinitely regardless of their social, educational, or vocational status. I assume most of us will agree that the best answer is somewhere between these extremes, but determining exactly where isn't easy. And because family and individual situations are different, there is no "best solution" that is best in all cases.
As long as staying at home is not preventing the child from progressing socially, educationally, and/or vocationally, I see no problem with them staying for free. If they just graduated and got a new job or just started going to school, staying at home (for free) can be a great way for them to save up for future financial independence. On the other hand, if they're not taking advantage of that opportunity to save and prepare, staying at home for free is a hindrance to them.
So there is not a set age or social status that defines when a child should be required to pay rent (or even be allowed to stay at home any more). Make sure your child know what you expect of them in terms of their financial independence, and make sure you understand their expectations as well. Set some goals and guidelines and then determine how strict you will need to be with those guidelines. As others have mentioned, a lot of this comes down to communication.
I feel that all adults living in the household need to actively contribute to the maintenance of the household.
This does not necessarily need to be financial, although that is the simplest and most obvious. It could instead include things like taking on more of the cleaning, cooking, and general household maintenance. It may include driving elderly family members around and running regular errands.
The biggest key is communication, sit down with them and discuss their situation and come up with a plan that is fair to all involved.
In the cases where there is a large amount of tension between parties consider bringing in a third party to help come up with the plan.
Remember that eventually the plan would need to be revised as the family situation changes, the adult child's financial state changes, and/or things begin to break down.
As with all things, "it depends."
I think that if the child is an adult then they should be paying rent unless there's a good reason not to. (e.g. In college or home on winter/summer breaks, studying for bar exams or similar professional credentials, searching for job, destitute, separating from spouse, etc.)
I've also heard of parents doing this and saving all that money to give back to the child in the future.
My parents made it clear from a young age that when we were done with High School we were only able to stay at home if we were in college. And if we were staying at home we had to either help out with our share of chores or pay rent.
One thing I appreciated was them always being consistant and letting us know well before the time came what to expect.
With my son, if I charged rent would entirely depend on the situation, is he going to school or doing something productive to enhance his future? Then I would just ask for him to help out with chores and let him know that not paying rent is our way of supporting him and helping him to focus on his studies so he doesn't need to work as much which could distract from school.
If he is just being a bum, working a minimum wage job just to get money to hang out with his friends all the time then I would require rent, to start getting him used to the real world where we have expenses and cannot just blow all of our money on fun stuff all the time.
When I was living with my parents, I made the decision on my own to help them with the household expenses particularly with the utility bills and other expenses. My parents have done so much things for me, and I believe it is a way of lending them a hand, so they can also enjoy the fruits of their labor.
I believe that adult children need not be told that they should help or not, one should take their own decision to at least help the parent considering that they are already earning.
Where I live (Australia—Victoria, specifically), this isn't the norm—probably because of how university ("college" in America) is handled here. The government loans money to students (for basically no interest, other than indexing with inflation), which is paid back automatically as part of tax once your income exceeds a certain threshold (i.e. usually after you've got your degree).
Hence, while it's common for university students to have a part-time job, it's not necessary, and because it's not like your parents are paying for your education, the living arrangement often continues as it was in high school.
Of course, it varies wildly from family to family; in my family, I moved out once as soon as I turned 18 (which I'm sure happens commonly elsewhere), while others stayed until they were in their mid-late twenties and got married. I have a 23-year old brother still at home who's just finished his degree, and will probably move out once he has a job.
When we were in more financial difficulty (~10 years ago), the older kids (who were already working part-time) did contribute board (or "rent"), but I wouldn't be surprised if that was just of their own choice and recognition of the times we were in.
(And I'm one of five, which is why I seem to have brothers and sisters coming out my ears.)
I can think of several reasons why an adult would be living with their parents.
- Financial dependence (they can't get a good job).
- Physical dependence (such as a disability).
- Emotional dependence (they can't get their act together).
- To help out (for example, with an aged or infirm parent).
With situation 1, provided the adult is making positive steps towards financial independence, I don't see how asking them for rent is going to get them out of the house faster. If they aren't at least trying to take such steps, I don't see why you should let them live in your house. On the other hand, helping out by paying rent and doing chores is probably good for the self esteem, so it might be beneficial as an act of support.
With situation 3, bad things are going on in everyone's life. Situationally, if the adult is dealing with addiction problems or mental illness of some kind, they probably need treatment or therapy. I would not charge rent for a person in this situation, but I would not let them live with me if they were not participating in the treatment/therapy they need.
The goal is to achieve independence. I would charge rent in a situation where charging rent furthered that goal, but not otherwise.
Situations 2 and 4 are probably out of scope for this question.
As others have said, it depends very much on circumstances.
Is this right out of high school, or out of college? Did the parents offer, or were their asked by the offspring? Do the parents have the means, or is it a burden? Are they trying to teach self-sufficiency, or is there mental illness (or drugs) involved?
Only one of my kids lived with me after college. To make it more interesting, he brought along a friend! They were both experiencing the 'I'm just out of college and can't find a meaningful job' dilemma. The only requirement was that they help out at home and clean up after themselves. If they could, they were to provide food occasionally. I thought their existential dilemma was enough for them to deal with at the moment.
After a predetermined amount of time had passed, they either had to be working full time, in school full time, or a combination of both. If not, they had to find other living arrangements.
I think it was the right thing for them at that time.
I would have to say that once the child is out of full time education and has a paid job they should contribute to the household but it should be fair.
I myself lived with my Mother till I was around 21. I had a paid job from the age of 18. I paid, what we called board and it was around £80 a month which isn't much but I was only earning £400 a month myself and I did have my own expenses (car, phone, clothes etc) which I handled myself. As my wage increased so did my board. That being said, when the time came for me to move out we placed a hold on the board so I could save as much money as possible. This is what I mean by fair.
Is this something I will impose on my own children as they grow up? Definitely. Contributing to your parents household is nothing compared to doing it on your own and it gives your child an understanding of paying their way. It was one of the hardest lessons I ever learnt, moving out. Finally independence! But it came it a cost and a big one at that. I'd gone from paying £120 a month board to paying £450 a month rent...and then the rest.
The problem quite a few parents have had is that their child has no motivation to find a job. They have the easy life of parents doing everything for them. I think in this situation you have to be the motivation. Don't do everything and get them to pull their weight around the house.
I think as a child becomes older than 18 and still living at home and working and going to school should probably not have to pay rent unless there are major financial hardships in paying the mortgage.
Having said that, a lot of families went through the housing crisis and need every adult living on the home to contribute in some way or another. Adult children can pay a household bill which helps a great deal and gives them a sense of responsibility. If they pay absolutely nothing and instead just go to the mall and blow their paychecks they will never learn how to save or budget. It's better to train them early or it will be a very depressing wake up call out on their own. Teach them young! Money matters!