Boomerang Kids: Multigenerational Living on the Rise

Posted by Theo Kyprianides Copywriter, Marketing Team

In a growing trend, a number of young Americans, aged 25-34, are now spending part of their post-college years back home living with mom and dad. These “boomerang kids,” as they’re called, are living at home due to a variety of reasons, including student loan debts, high rents, and other economic factors.

Data from the Pew Research Center reports that the number of boomerang kids living at home has been increasing for some time. Roughly one in four young adults (23.6 percent) lived in multigenerational households in 2012, up from 11 percent in 1980.

Boomerang Kids and Housing Decisions


A new report released last month by the National Association of Realtors suggests that all these boomerang kids are influencing home buying trends, as well. In 2014, 13 percent of homebuyers surveyed reported being part of a multigenerational household and 23 percent cited “children over the age of 18 moving back home” as a primary reason for their home purchase.

When broken down further by the age of the homebuyer, it was the younger baby boomers, aged 50-59, who most often cited boomerang kids as the reason for their purchase — at a rate of 37 percent. Older boomers cited boomerang kids 30 percent of the time as a reason for their home purchase. These percentages are significantly higher than some other reasons given for maintaining a multigenerational household, including taking care of or spending time with aging parents.

For current homebuyers, it’s far more likely a boomerang kid will be the one living in the mother-in-law suite, an additional living quarters on the property usually intended for guests or elderly family members. Furthermore, research from Pew confirms that the number of multigenerational households is on the rise. The Pew study says the number has doubled since 1980 to a record 57 million Americans. That’s more than 18 percent of the U.S. population.

Boomerang Kids and Retirement

 

Out of the 47 million baby boomer households, eight million are supporting adult children according to Hearts and Wallets, a research organization monitoring retirement trends who spoke to the Huffington Post. A recent story by CNBC even claimed that boomerang kids were ruining their parents’ retirement.

There’s a stark contrast between the financial situation of baby boomers who are providing support to their children and those who aren’t. According to the Huffington Post, 52 percent of baby boomers whose adult children are self-sufficient are now retired. For boomers who are supporting adult children, that number is 21 percent. Having boomerang kids to support also causes many parents to feel more anxiety about money matters and less secure in their retirement plans. Chris Brown, co-founder of Hearts and Wallets, told CNBC these boomers are “more concerned about saving for retirement than outliving their assets.”

multigenerational living

How to Survive Boomerang Kids Moving Back Home

If you have an adult child at home, sitting down to hash out a plan and set some goals can reduce anxiety and make for a better outcome. For nearly all families, it’s a temporary situation. Families can make the most of it by focusing on how to help propel the boomerang kid back out into the world as a self-sufficient adult. Bankrate offers a series of practical tips for living with a boomerang kid, including:
●    Have a talk, make a plan. Discuss ground rules for living together. Make a plan as a family for how your boomerang kid will use this time to learn new marketable skills, save for the future, or get hired at a job that pays a living wage.
●    Share household expenses and chores. Most millennials aren’t unemployed or unemployable, their problem is repeated underemployment. Collect a modest rent from your new tenant. Use it to reduce your overall housing costs, put it towards your retirement fund or set it aside to lend back to your child, if the need arises. If your boomerang kid is out of work, they can take a more active role in day-to-day chores.
●    Set time limits. Without a timeframe for getting a plan off the ground, your boomerang kid could lose direction. Whether the plan is learning skills, job hunting or saving up, a time limit for how long you’ll help out can push your child to work harder for results.
●    Make loans, not handouts. For some parents, lending money now could pay off in the future. Most adult children don’t want to be a burden to their families. Having a loan to pay back can add a sense of purpose. A loan can also be an investment in your family. Help your boomerang kid start a successful business or land a high paying job, and they may be in a stronger position to return the favor in your later years.

In a photo essay and story last summer, the New York Times painted a picture of ambitious young adults who remain optimistic about the future despite challenges and setbacks, so baby boomers may not have their kids living at home for long.

For parents with adult children living at home, it’s about striking a healthy balance. The key is to provide some support and coaching to boomerang kids without damaging your own prospects for a rewarding and financially healthy retirement.