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Help Boomerangs flee the nest again

During our teen years, many of us dream about turning 18 and fleeing the nest as soon as possible.

If you were like me, this fantasy often followed ear-shattering scream matches with the ‘rents and slammed doors, and angry tears and frantic journal writing.

What ever you dreamt for your future, it likely did not include returning back to your parents’ home not-so-many years later.

Following the 2007 recession, though, moving back in with your parents has become a reality for many young adults who struggle to make financial ends meet.

The movement — especially among recent college students — is so far-reaching that we are now known as the (ugh) Boomerang generation.

According to 2011 figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, about 5.9 million adults from 25 to 34 years old live with their parents, up 26 percent from 2007.

Many young adults pitch in with rent and help with chores, but financial experts say there are ways to help motivate young people get back on their feet and out on their own.

“Just having [your children] move in with no (exit) agreement and kind of a hush-hush idea about money because you don’t want to pressure them is not a good idea,” Hilary Martin, a certified financial planner at San Jose’s Family Wealth Consulting Group, told the Merc. “Be supportive, but also have expectations.”

According to branch manager of Charles Schwab in San Ramon, Colleen O’Brien, some tips for families to follow when adult children move back home include:

  • Set expectations. Sit down and discuss feelings about curfews, meals and parties. In addition, establish expectations for family chores like cooking, cleaning and laundry.
  • Consider finances. Determine if your adult child will pay rent or contribute to household finances in another way, such as paying for certain utilities. Or consider helping your son or daughter get back on their feet by requiring the start of an emergency fund or even a “move out” fund that can be used toward a rental deposit or other moving expenses.
  • Set a realistic move-out date. Six to 12 months is often plenty of time for young adult to regain their footing.
  • Tread with caution on major expenses. Paying off a child’s debt will not help foster a sense of financial responsibility, but if you choose to help support your young adult, don’t jeopardize your own financial future. Decide how much is appropriate and stop there.
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