How to get your kids to leave home

lazy daughterHeiko Wolfraum/DPA/Press Association Images

There was once a time when things were all very straightforward: the kids left school and either got a job or went to university. Either way, their stuff would be in boxes by the last day of term, they'd be in a sticky bedsit a few days later, and you could finally start converting their room into a study.

Now it emerges that ousting the kids is much harder. So how can you get them out, and should you be in such a rush to rid yourself of your offspring?



The natural path from studying to getting a place of your own is not as smooth as it used to be. A survey from MyVoucherCodes this week found that an astonishing 69% of kids expected to move straight back in with mum and dad after graduation. The vast majority had spent their university years living elsewhere - with only 7% staying at home. However, they were keen to get back to their home comforts.

Not only that, but when asked how long they believed they'd be living at the family home, the majority, 53%, said they would be there for the 'foreseeable future'. Mark Pearson, chairman of, said:"I think for many graduates it's probably the norm to move back home after university. With it being tough for graduates to get a job in their chosen field at the moment, it's not as though all can simply step straight into a well paid job after university and go it alone."

Good for kids

For the children it seems to make sense. After-all, according to First Direct, the average UK rental price for a one bedroom property increased to just over £1,050 per month in July 2012. If rents continue to climb at the same rate seen over the last year, they could spiral to nearly £1,260 by 2017.

Add to this the hefty weight of paying back loans and credit card debts racked up over three expensive years, and many feel they cannot afford to live elsewhere.

Then, of course, there is that fact that there are so few graduate jobs available. Many will need to work for nothing in an internship, or take a low-paying job while they wait for a vacancy to come up. With little or nothing coming in, moving out feels impossible.

Bad for parents

However, who pays for all this freedom and support for adult children? It's the parents who end up suffering.

They meet the additional costs of having someone in the household, do all the extra housework, and often end up bankrolling the kids to get them out from under their feet. Instead of being an empty nester, able to finally start channeling cash into their pension savings or to really enjoy their fifties and sixties, they go back to hands-on parenting.

A new report from Scottish Widows reveals that the financial drain doesn't stop there. Four in 10 parents have dipped into money, put by for themselves, in order to help their children out, either as a loan or gift. The average amount given by parents to their offspring is £12,300, making a total 'Savings Sap' of £55 billion.

And while it's arguable that in the first months, before their children have found work, and when they are getting on their feet, it makes sense to put them up, what happens when this goes on for years?

If you're not careful you will turn round ten years later to discover you have no pension and no freedom, while your 30 year old children continue to sponge off you and waste their disposable income on treating themselves.

So what can parents do?

The first step is to keep an eye on them at university. Pearson says: "Whilst at uni, it's important to try not to go overboard when you get your student loan. Most leave university with a huge amount of debt as it is, but you can be wise about your spending whilst studying and get a part time job to live from to help ease the financial strain." It pays to keep an eye on how well your children are doing with this balance.

Then, once they come home, the aim will be to ensure you strike a balance between looking after the children and avoiding it financially crippling you.

First Direct recommends charging them £500 as month in rent. It says: "If parents were to charge their child just £500 per month to live with them instead of renting their own place, their offspring would be free to make significant monthly savings, whilst the parents could use the money to make overpayments on their mortgage."

It adds: "For those children that decide to return home, in five years they could save nearly £40,400 on rent alone. Add to this the money saved on bills, tax and insurance and their potential savings pot could reach nearly £59,500, a more than healthy deposit for a home on the first rung of the ladder."

How hands-on?

Of course, this assumes the children will be sensible enough to save the extra cash. Most parents will need to work a bit harder in order to ensure this happens. Here they have a couple of options. The first (heavy-handed) one is to charge a bit more and then put the money aside themselves in an account for their children.

The second is to set some house rules. You cannot control their lives after they have had three years away. However, neither should you be expected to sit back and watch them squander their earnings on fashion and partying while claiming not to be able to afford rent. You need to decide how much you want in rent, and make sure it comes out of their account on day one after they are paid.

And the third is to set a deadline for them to move out. If they know the cord will be cut in three or five years it will help focus their mind on saving a bit more effectively.

But what do you think? What's the best way to get the boomerang generation out of the family home? And should we be in more of a rush to do so? Let us know in the comments.
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