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Adult children moving back home with mom and dad: Is this smart?

One in three adults ages 18 to 34 still live with their parents, while 65% of parents give their adult children some kind of financial support.
Posted at 7:18 AM, Feb 21, 2024

Remember when young people used to rent a moving truck and move into their first apartment? Most couldn't wait to get out on their own.

Nowadays, because of student debt and high housing costs, many young adults say they have no choice but to move back home because of the high cost of living. And their numbers are growing.

According to the latest U.S. Census data, 1 in 3 adults between the ages of 18 and 34 still live with their parents.

Grad student Aleya Barber is among them. She isn't showing off a new apartment in her TikTok videos, but instead says, "I live at home in my 20s. Of course, I don’t pay rent."

Moving home can save thousands of dollars

She’s back with mom and dad and is joining thousands of other young adults who are posting online about what it’s like to live at home as an adult.

"It was just a better option for me to move back home and save money," Barber told us.

Those savings add up.

"I am saving thousands and thousands of dollars, considering there are moving fees, first month's rent, last month's rent, utilities, groceries, furniture," she said.

Barber's experience isn't out of the ordinary. According to a recent USA Today survey, 65% of parents give their adult children some kind of financial support, on average worth $718 a month.

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Matt Lundquist is a psychotherapist who sees many clients living at home because their salary hasn't kept up with the soaring cost of housing.

"I think that the biggest contributing factor to that really by far is just kind of the blunt economics of it," Lundquist said.

"It's a really tricky setup," he said. "Conflict is a pretty inevitable part of it."

Lundquist says it’s important for parents to consider their own financial reality and their child’s as well, and then communicate often.

"You need to be talking about money, talking about timelines, talking about 'what ifs.' Being really transparent and maybe even bringing a level of formality," he said.

Next, he says, is to set boundaries on both sides.

"If I'm living at home," he said, "then I have to do my own laundry, and you have to not worry about when I'm coming home because I'm an adult."

Barber admits it can feel like being back in high school but says she and her parents have learned to value each other’s privacy.

"I try to be respectful of their preference and not push the bar," she said.