Empty nests fill up again as kids make the flight back home
WHAT'S a good age for children to move out of the family home?
For Nambour's Diane and Rick Reedman, the answer is "who cares".
When their 38-year-old son Troy moved back to the Sunshine Coast and into the family home "for a few weeks", they never expected him to still be living there two-and-a-half years later. But he is, and they wouldn't have it any other way.
Troy, a coffee shop manager, has set up in their couple's double garage, with his own bed, TV, lounge suite, desk, table and chairs, and apple cider and ginger beer home brew set-up.
He pays the household's internet bill, contributes to household running costs and occasionally cooks dinner.
"We're very happy to have him here. We think it's quite a good set-up. We both get on very well with him," Mrs Reedman said.
"But we would like to put the car in the garage one day ... one day."
Troy said the arrangement gave him peace of mind.
"The main reason is they're getting older and I want to be there to help them out," he said. "For me it wasn't really a money thing; it was a family commitment."
Mrs Reedman does have one rule though: Troy must phone ahead if he's not going to be home for dinner.
Duane Potter, an AMP financial planner, said more children were delaying moving out due to the high cost of renting or buying their own place.
Their parents were often lumped with the extra costs of caring for adult children.
"For a middle-income family, having a young adult at home costs five times as much as a baby or toddler," Mr Potter said.
"New research reveals the average weekly cost of a baby is $133 per week, while those with an 18-24-year-old at home shell out a staggering $678 per week.
However, Mrs Reedman, who is living that very scenario, challenged those figures.
"It certainly doesn't cost that much to keep him. Our electricity bill is up a bit and our water use is up a bit," she said.
How to handle older kids at home
- Let kids know parents are not their personal ATM. Teach them early to earn money by doing household chores.
- Older children living at home should contribute to household expenses by paying board, and for their own car, petrol, outings and clothes.
- It costs $812,000 to raise two children from birth until they leave home, so don't feel guilt asking them to pay for their university education and utilise HECS.
- Speak to a financial planner before deciding to support your adult children.
- If older children plan to live at home for a few years, insist they have a savings plan to ultimately become independent.