Empty Nesting

When Adult Children Move Back Home

If you find your empty nest filling back up, follow these tips to ensure a harmonious living situation for you and your adult child.

You probably hadn’t planned for this, but your empty nest days are behind you – at least for a while. You raised your children and then adjusted to a quieter life once they left the house. When adult children decide to move back home, it may create new challenges for everyone in the household.

Millennials living with parents is not uncommon, with their earnings lagging far behind what their baby boomer moms’ and dads’ income was when they were the same age. Their stays can vary from months to years. For better or worse, it won’t last forever – even if you’re enjoying the quality time together – but it’s advisable to set some ground rules while you have those boomerang kids under your roof.

Sure, you all made it through their first 18 years or so together. But things are different now. It may be your house, but they aren’t under your supervision anymore, so it’s best to have a frank discussion about the details of this arrangement.

Parents supporting adult children may want to discuss issues like whether kids will be paying any rent, who is responsible for other bills like utilities or groceries, and if they’ll contribute by assisting with household maintenance and chores. In addition, consider whether there’s a goal in mind for when they’ll move out. Parents should review their own finances, of course, and they may even offer their kids some guidance on budgeting and how to save money.

Empty Nest, No More

Ways to ensure a happy household with parents and adult children living under one roof.


More than 1 in 3 millennials are living with their parents.1
Estimated length of stay: 3 years.2

Most Common Reasons For The Shift
Employment status
Cost of living independently
Debt obligations

Millennials’ net worth is half as much as Baby Boomers’ was when they were young adults; wages have also declined 20% for today’s boomerang generation.3


When Supporting Their Adult Children, Parents Feel:
67% Closer to their children emotionally
66% More companionship with their children4

Benefits for Parents:
Help with household responsibilities
Develop stronger intergenerational bonds
Contribution to monthly expenses

Benefits for Adult Children:
Save money for a down payment
Pay off student loan debt
Contribute higher amounts to retirement and emergency savings


Take these steps to ensure everyone is on the same page:
Discuss expectations, such as length of stay and schedules
Share household costs or chores
Spend time together while respecting boundaries
Listen to each other and openly communicate

If your children are coming back home, it’s a good idea to consider revisiting your
budget to account for their return. Use this opportunity to talk to your children
about saving and spending habits to help them achieve financial independence.

1 More Than One-Third of Young Adults Live at Home, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015.
2 It’s Becoming More Common for Young Adults to Live at Home – And for Longer Stretches, Pew Research Center, 2017.
3 Financial Health of Young America: Measuring Generational Declines Between Baby Boomers & Millennials, Young Invincibles, 2017.
4 Parents and Their Grown Kids: Harmony, Support, and (Occasional) Conflict, The Clark University Poll of Parents of Emerging Adults, 2013.

ALIC51819 (exp. 10/20)

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