Cut the Cord-How to Get Your Kids Out of the House

Physician's Money Digest, November 2007, Volume 14, Issue 11

"We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future." —Franklin D. Roosevelt

17.8 million—Number of adult children (aged 18-34) living at home, according to the 2000 US Census Bureau. This number has jumped from 12.5 million in 1970. (Boomerang Nation, 2005)

Strategies for Independence

What works? "I think there's several strategies the parents can take," Furman says. Nagging, she adds, isn't one of them. Here are her recommendations:

  • Set a timeline. If the goal is financial, the potential move-out date may be a matter of math. Other goals may take longer, but should have a timeline in mind. "It signals to both parties that the child is accountable," Furman says. Equally, it helps the boomeranger "stay motivated," she asserts. Of course, parents always have the option of offering a grace period if things don’t go as planned. "You can slowly wean them off," Furman says.
  • Ask for rent, even if it’s only $25. "Then attach chores to that," Furman says. Also discuss who will pay what bills. Defining responsibilities early on will avoid resentments later. "It's very important to work preemptively," comments Furman.