The Dreaded Return of the Post-grad

Susan Haigney

Physician's Money Digest, August 2007, Volume 14, Issue 8

Physicians, like other parents, know that having a child turn 21 and graduate college does not necessarily mean that child has left the nest. With a growing number of young adults choosing to return home after graduation, parents are finding themselves walking that tightrope between providing shelter and promoting financial independence.

Because the transition between college and career can be so financially challenging, many parents welcome the chance to help by providing room and board for their adult children. There are a few things parents should take care of, however, before junior moves back in. Parents should check their insurance policies to determine when their child is no longer covered, then shop around for new coverage and be prepared to pay the premiums until the child can afford to do it themselves. Parents should establish which bills the child will be responsible for, what level of privacy the child should expect, general household rules, and a departure timeline. Children should be required to chip in for utilities and groceries in addition to their personal expenses and should obtain a part-time job while searching for a full-time position. Parents should use this transition time to teach their children some financial lessons like how to balance a checkbook and how to invest in 401(k) plans.