Freedom comes at a price and over one-third of millennial women are not quite ready to pay the bill.
Over 36% of young women, ages 18 to 34, are choosing to live at home. That’s the highest number since 1940.
I can identify. Perhaps you can too.
My daughter moved away for college then came back this summer after graduation, looking for a cheap place to stay until she landed her first job in engineering.
It’s probably temporary. Her goal is to save money by living at home, and then look for a long-term position in environmental engineering and sustainability out-of-state next year.
What’s the attraction of living at home? “I can pay down my student loans and save money in my Roth IRA, while planning my future,” she says. “My friends and I are using this time to get a handle on adult responsibilities like health insurance, budgeting, and balancing full-time work with other activities.”
There are many reasons young women are choosing to stay at home longer, according to the Pew Research Center.
Many are attending college and putting off marriage longer. The typical millennial has trouble affording today’s higher rents while juggling student loans and other debt. The U.S. population is now more ethnically diverse, and some cultures have a tradition of encouraging adult children (and aging parents) to live at home.
“Young women are staying home now because they are half as likely to be married as they were in 1940 and much more likely to be college-educated,” says Richard Fry, a senior economist at Pew, in a Los Angeles Times interview. Economic uncertainty also plays a role.
By the way, young men are not immune from the trend. While a record 36% of women now live at home, the number for young men is even higher at 42%.
There’s nothing wrong with extending the offer of free rent to your millennial, but we all need a few house rules to help keep the peace:
They need to stand on their own two feet financially. Let them live at home rent-free, if you want, but make them pay all or almost all of their other expenses. The purpose of this exercise is to let them try out their adult financial skills, albeit on training wheels.
You’re not the maid. Your kids are now adults, and they need to clean up after themselves and respect your home.
Give them their autonomy. As a parent, it’s hard, but you need to step back and let your kids live their own lives. Insist on safety rules (like letting you know if they’re coming home late or not at all), but otherwise try to respect their space.
Encourage them to stash their rent savings in a Roth or workplace retirement account. Even if they don’t save much, what they save now will multiply exponentially over the years.