It’s a sad but true fact that many of today’s young people – especially college grads with a lot of student loan debt – have a hard time getting out of their parents’ homes and launching their new lives. If one of your children falls into this category, what can you do to help get him or her out of your house?
You may have some confusing emotions about asking your adult child to move out. You may not want to feel that you’re kicking your kid out and you may actually enjoy having him or her around the house. Or you might feel that he or she isn’t really trying to become independent or maybe you’re just tired of seeing your child lounging around the house. In any case, it’s important to sort through your feelings before you broach the subject.
Consider the real reasons
Before you do anything else consider what might be the real reasons why your child might not be able to live on his or her own. It’s one thing if you believe your child simply doesn’t have what it takes to live independently at this time but it’s quite another if he or she simply doesn’t want to downgrade from your nice house to a small apartment and possibly need to find a roommate.
This may seem simple but it’s a good idea to ask your child why he or she isn’t moving out. What you’ll probably get in return is a bunch of reasons why he or she prefers living at home. In this case, you need to go over those reasons one by one and evaluate them impartially. You’ll probably find that most of the reasons you are given are just excuses. In this case, you should be able to knock down each one of them.
Why no job?
Is the major reason why your child is resisting the idea of moving out is because he or she has not been able to find a job? If this is the excuse being given, you might check to see if he or she is really trying to find a job. Has he or she been making contacts with potential employers? Working the want ads? Checking out some of the online job boards? Written a resume? Maybe he or she has been looking for that “perfect” job and needs to be encouraged to take any job – even for minimum wage – until he or she finds a better one.
Tips for finding a job
If your child has been having a hard time finding a job, here are some tips you could share with your child
- Look for jobs in healthcare, education or IT as many businesses in these sectors are hiring
- Get a temp job as a way to get by until something better opens up
- Develop a job-hunting system
- Learn to sell yourself in interviews – have good features, advantages and benefits in a presentation on yourself
- Create a personal network
- Find professional association meetings or meetups where you could network
- Don’t ever stop looking
- There are no hidden jobs – the secret to getting job is finding the right employer at the right time
- Do whatever’s necessary to find work now
Saving up for something
Your child might say that he or she is saving up for something – a car, graduate school or their own house. This could be a legitimate reason to stay at home but your child needs to be accountable. You need to know exactly how much he or she has saved and what is the ultimate goal. Is your child consistently putting away money? Staying at home can be acceptable so long as she or he can prove that money is being saved on a consistent basis and that it’s a priority for him or her. But don’t take your child’s word for it. Ask to see pay stubs and bank statements.
Most experts in personal finances say when it comes to getting an adult child out of your house you need to be gentle. What this amounts to is giving what’s called fair warning. This might consist of, say, a three-month period before ejecting your child. For example, if this were September you might say you expect him or her to be out of your house by the first of December. This should give your child ample time to get his or her finances organized, find a place to live and get moved out.
But also be firm
While you’re being gentle you also need to be firm. It won’t do much good if you give your child that three-month fair warning then he or she fails to move out and you do nothing about it. You need to ensure that your child understands there will be no extra time granted. If you say three months, you need to stick to that timeframe. If after two months you see your child has made very little progress towards finding a place to live you may have to find stronger ways to motivate him or her.
One way to motivate your child to get out of the house is to promise to pay or subsidize some of his or her living expenses for a period of time. For example, you might agree to pay for his or her auto insurance and cell phone bill for maybe three months after your child moves out. This would serve to sort of cushion the blow as it would reassure your child that he or she would not be required to suddenly begin paying for everything.
If all else fails
What could you do if all else fails and your child simply fails to move out? You need to think through this possibility in advance and decide what it is you would be willing to do. The tough love answer would be to simply pack up all of your child’s possessions and put them out on the front yard. If you are unwilling to do this, you’re not left with many options. You could always change the locks though this would also be a very drastic solution. On the other hand, you could sit down with your child once again, discuss his or her objectives in life. You might require that he or she contributes to your cost of living or mandate that he or she clean your entire house each week. Beyond this, you just may have to reconsider your exit strategy.
Finally, here’s a brief video with some good advice about handling this problem or, better yet, how to keep it from happening in the first place.