Why You Should Not Charge Adult Children Rent

Smart Money Debate Red

Welcome to the 8th Smart Money Debate at ReadyForZero! To see the other side of this debate, read Jana’s post: Why You Should Charge Adult Children Rent. And then let us know which argument was more convincing!

This post was written by Melissa, a freelance writer who writes about both personal finance and organic living. She blogs at Mom’s Plans, where she shares her financial adventures and love of food despite many food intolerances.

Why You Should Not Charge Adult Children RentWith today’s economy, more and more kids are returning to the nest after college, or, in some cases, never leaving. They are called boomerang kids, and their numbers are growing.  According to the Pew Research Center, “Among 18- to 24-year olds more than half (53%) live at home or moved in for a time during the past few years.”

Even more surprising, adult children moving in with their parents seem to transcend socio-economic boundaries. “Parents with annual household incomes of $100,000 or more are just as likely as those with incomes under $30,000 to say their adult child has moved back home because of economic conditions.”

The knotty issues that may come up include what responsibilities these grown kids should have at home as well as if they should have a curfew or call if they are going to be out late. Another potentially difficult issue is if these grown children should pay rent.

Why People Argue You Should Charge Rent

Opponents argue that grown children who move back in should pay some form of rent. These parents often don’t charge their kids as much as they would pay in rent if they lived on their own, but they do make them pay something. My own mom was like this when I moved in for two years between undergraduate and graduate school, and I didn’t mind paying the $200 in rent she charged because I knew her money was tight, and I knew I couldn’t live somewhere else that cheaply.

However, in many cases, not charging grown kids rent may be the better decision.

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Why It Is Better Not to Charge Rent

…unless you are being take advantage of (obviously). I can hear opponents argue that by not charging your children rent you are spoiling them and teaching them that they are entitled to a free ride – that you are not teaching them responsibility.

Well, if it so happens that your son or daughter is going out every night and wasting his or her money on dinners out and outings with friends, then yes, I would agree that he or she can afford to pay rent.

However, most adult children are forced to live at home because of challenging financial circumstances. By now everyone should realize that the U.S. economy has not been particularly kind to recent college and high school graduates who are looking for work, and many of these young adults are living at home to avoid going into debt (or adding to their existing debt).

These are the people I’m referring to – the ones who move back home because of a legitimate financial need. CNNMoney states that people between the ages of 20 and 24 currently face an unemployment rate of 15%.

And even those who are employed are often underemployed.

I moved back home 15 years ago after the only job I could find with my English degree was a secretarial job at a janitorial supply company making $16,000 a year. Meanwhile, I had $20,000 in student loans to pay off. While I don’t fault my mom for having me pay $200 for rent, my money was extremely tight.

Had I instead been able to use that money to pay down my student loans or save for graduate school, I would have been in a much better financial position when I did go on to graduate school two years later. Instead, I just scraped by the entire time I was home, and when I went to graduate school, I had to take out another $10,000 in student loan debt.

Set Boundaries for the Perfect Situation

If you still want to charge your adult child rent if he has a legitimate financial need to move back home, consider a kinder way to do so. I see two good solutions.

First, don’t charge him rent when he first moves in. Perhaps give him 6 to 12 months rent free so he can get on his feet and find a good job. After 12 months, he will need to pay rent.  Set the amount before he even moves in. After 24 months, maybe he will have a significant rent increase. Rather than limiting his progress by charging him rent in the beginning when he is struggling the most, you set clear expectations, and he can ideally pay some money to you after a year when his finances are better.

Another alternative is to charge rent from the beginning and set it aside without your child knowing. I lived with my mom for 2.5 years. At $200 a month, that is $6,000 I paid her. If she had set that money aside and given it to me before I went to grad school, I could have saved myself an additional $6,000 in student loans. Some parents like to set the money aside so when their children move, they have the money for their rental deposit.

Choosing to charge your adult child rent is a personal decision, and you have to do what is best for your family. However, if my kids move back home after college and need financial help because of underemployment or unemployment, I am certain that I will not charge them rent.

What about you? Share your opinion in the comments below.

To see the other side of this debate, read Jana’s post: Why You Should Charge Adult Children Rent. And then let us know which argument was more convincing!

Image credit: andreypopov

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  • http://twitter.com/TacklingOurDebt TacklingOurDebt

    I understand your point. If an adult moves in with their parents because they are struggling financially and the parents are in a position to help them out, then why not. In many cultures, adult children live with their parents and grandparents forever anyways.

    But on the flipside I know a young CDN man that is 29, making a very nice income, and lives at home with mommy, rent free because he is too lazy to move out on his own. His brothers have their own lives, but he doesn’t.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      Good point! It really depends on the circumstances, doesn’t it.

      • sally

        Charge the little brats rent and have them pay for their own groceries, toothpaste, etc. When are we as enablers ever going to learn we are not helping them by enabling them. They can get part time jobs if they really want to. I am experienced in this adult child entitlement thing.

  • Melissa

    TacklingOurDebt–In that case, I definitely say charge rent. No sense in the parents being taken advantage of.

  • http://www.uniquegifter.com/ Anne @ Unique Gifter

    Thanks for asking for a balanced perspective. I know a friend who lived at home rent free and saved like a fiend. He was working 60-80 hour weeks, leaving him basically no time to breathe! After a year and a half he had 100K in the bank to put down on a house. That definitely wouldn’t have been possible without the support from his parents. Another friend was living at home and struck a deal with his parents that the rent money he was paying would be set aside for post-secondary for his younger brother.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      It sounds like both of them made sure that their plan would help themselves (or their loved ones) in the long run. Pretty smart! Particularly the first one – he made a very good financial investment and the fact that he lived at home was what made it possible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ettie.gyles Ettie Gyles

    I’ve written a book on this subject where I recommend setting clear timelines early on for eventually moving out. A plan of action, with specific milestones, should be followed to keep the effort on course.

    How To Help Your Grown Children Move Out: Ettie’s Guide To De-Nesting

    http://www.amazon.com/Help-Your-Grown-Children-ebook/dp/B00AERA964/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354136443&sr=1-1&keywords=ettie+gyles

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      Sounds like an interesting book, Ettie. Thanks for letting us know.

  • Max

    I still live at home, but it’s a 2 way street. I pay into the mortgage since my mom lost her job, and cover cell and cable bills, and in return my mom watches my dog during my daily 16 hour shifts. If they charged me nothing, I could pay off my debt so much quicker, but at the same time, I’m always at work anyway, and it’s still cheaper than living away at some place I’d never get to see. Plus it’s helping them out too. It’s not fun to live at home, but they’re family, so we help each other out.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      That sounds like a very good compromise – and you and your parents seem to navigate the shared living arrangement quite well. Meanwhile, you also are saving money which is great.

    • Melinda Lloyd

      That is a positive way to work things out! I think that it’s great of you to take responsibility and accept that these things should be appreciated and reciprocated in whatever way possible.

  • brey

    I am making mine pay a bill…. pick one and pay it every month

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      That’s a good way to get them involved in the responsibilities of the household… like keeping the lights on, literally!

  • Wisedom

    Everyone seems to blame something for their misfortune. I’ve got a brother in-law (44yrs of age) and still living @ home with mom. He once took the chance of moving out with unemployed girlfriend and 4 months later returning with huge debt that lead him to try to file for bankrupcy (he was unsuccessful because he quit his job prior to filing) and his mom stated that she was proud that instead of BK he’s now repaying. Well he had no choice. I believe if you don’t charge rent your not teaching the ADULT the reality of being alive. It costs money everyday and that they need to understand this once they turn of age, at any age. Even the toilet that their using is costing someone $$. From the water, sewer to the toilet paper.

    With boomeranging a common living standard. How are they to have any respect for reality. If the ADULT keeps living a life style of not being responsible (able to use all of the $$ for disposable income). Yes, disposable income, you choose to goto college! This type of attitude is also effecting the workforce and I believe some Corp. are TIRED of this layed back work force AND that their going across the pond to where labor is cheap, no unions to fight with, and the job gets done without any fuss from the workers. We’ve all brought this upon ourselves….. keep demanding higher pay (Unions), demanding better work hours, working from where ever,…… This country was built upon “hard work” and we’ve lost this.

    This the outcome of reality when everyone is in it for themselves.

  • mars

    my daughter had a baby and he boyfriend moved in with us. I charge him rent because he needs some kind of motivation. If I saw he was working a full time job and planning for their future it would be a different story, but he doesn’t want to go to college. I see him sleep in, play basketball and video games while we are all searching for jobs. My daughter wants to go back and finish her degree this fall. So YES I am charging him some rent. But he HATES me for it.

    • hank

      your daughters boyfriend is a dead beat dad, and you are spoiling him. If he “hates you” for this, than he is a moron and should be kicked out of your life.

  • Melanie

    My daughter and her husband moved in 6 months ago. Neither of them were working. We completely supported them for almost 3 months. Now they are working (about $3000/month) but haven’t saved a penny. They blow every bit they make and have nothing to show for it. When they moved in, it was with the agreement that we wouldn’t charge rent, but when they got jobs, half their money had to go into savings. I also assigned her the chore of unloading the dishwasher and he had to take out the trash. They don’t do those either. We sat them down today and gave them all of their options (my favorite was move out). I told them if they want to stay here, the free ride just came to a screeching halt. I am not trusting them to save on their own. They have to actually give me the money to save for them. That still leaves them $1500 just to do whatever with. I think I am being more than fair, but they act like I am the worst person ever.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      Wow, yeah, it does sound like you are being more than fair to them. It’s a shame they don’t realize it.

    • Melinda Lloyd

      feel no guilt! Tough love is appropriate in your situation.

    • norain norainbows

      In the past, when my children would tell me I am mean, unfair or horrible, I learned to agree with them. Saves me time and energy instead of having some crazy argument trying to make a point — with someone who does not pay bills. Adults pay their own way. You are far more than fair. Let them know the rent is $1,500. Not their savings, but your money. Let them try to find what you are offering (room, board, cable, utilities) at twice the amount and I bet they could not.

    • Ed

      You did the right thing. They are completely taking advantage of you and milking the free ride for all it’s worth. They need to grow up and be responsible. I think that many kids today are so weak willed and just love to mooch if you will let them. There were many financial challenges years ago when I was growing up (46 now) but I had to sacrifice and find a way. Kids today expect to have what took their parents 20-30 years to build day 1 of being on their own. They need to grow up and deal with real life. Enough is enough, they need to be out of the nest already.

    • sara

      No guilt! You deserve this, in fact I think you gave them to much to ‘play with’. Realistically, they will not have 1500 to do whatever with after leaving you.
      Make sure you have a little fun for you with the 1500 dollars, show them how you can be wild with their hard earn money and how it feels to be taken advantage of.

    • Joshi

      They are taking advantage of you! They need to move out and start their own lives or they will forever rely on you, which, in the long run, is very bad for them!

  • Chuck

    We are helping two children and a grandchild. They do not help out around the house, they do pay $100 per month to help out. But that does not even cover the extra food costs, let alone their shampoos, toothpastes, etc which they require the top brands. Same with food, coming home and wants dinner ready for them. We are taking out between $600 to $1,000 a month from our retirement account to pay for the extra costs. So I see a big issue of you and other adult children that want more from your parents. Most like us will give until we lose the house. Then they will be out on the street shaking their heads of what happened. We have talked until blue, but they just do not get it.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      Hi Chuck, thanks for the comment. I don’t think Melissa, the author of the post, or anyone else would advise you to keep spending $600-$1,000 per month that you cannot afford. I think it’s clear that you need to talk with your two adult children and tell them that while you can continue letting them stay with you, those extra costs will need to be paid by them from now on. Hopefully that will give them the motivation they need to get start helping you out.

    • norain norainbows

      Have a sit down with the children who are using you. They must do what they can to “earn their keep” or leave. You probably sacrificed vacations, expensive clothes and cars, etc. to have a savings and a home. If they don’t get it, give them a 30 day period to move out. Mean it, don’t be wimpy. Next month, spend $100 on some moving boxes and plastic bags, maybe another $200 on a Uhaul Truck. Pack them up and send them on their way. They will stay as long as you let them.

    • Kylie

      I agree with the above. I am 20 years old and living at home, and while I don’t pay rent, I do pay for my own car insurance, car repairs, phone bill, gym membership, and toiletries (including shampoo, toothpaste, tampons, etc.). I would never dream of making my parents take money from their retirement account to pay for me — that is not okay!! Definitely talk with your children. In my opinion, they should definitely be picking up basic costs like shampoo and toothpaste. No one here is going to advise you to spend money you don’t have in order to accommodate your children.

      • Mikismom

        Your car, your phone, your gym….. you couldn’t afford if you didn’t take rent & utilities from your parents. Living room & board free when you should be contributing IS taking advantage of your parents when you’re 20. Do the right thing & pay them for the roof over YOUR head..

      • rjo

        I totally agree! “adult children” who cant even pay for their own toothpaste will never become thriving responsible adults if their parents continue to treat them like they are actual children by providing everything for them

    • Ed

      You are sadly misguided if you are taking money from your retirement account to help them. Who will help you when you are an impoverished elderly citizen? I am sure they will have moved on with their lives and will have a million excuses as to why they can’t lift a finger to help you.

    • Joshi

      You are being an enabler and your kids will not become independent. The time to kick them out is now, even if you have to sell your house and move into a smaller house so they can’t follow you! Do what you have to do to get them out. Once they are out, they will get jobs or whatever they have to do to survive. Do not enable their bad behavior. A loving parent will always do what’s best for their kids even if it’s hard!

  • mj6837

    While I agree it’s necessary to provide some support to our children graduating from school, IMO what needs to be attached to any arrangement is a defined beginning and end date. For example, stay for free for 6 months, following that $xx rent will be charged. I’ve personally seen way too many kids give up on pursuing a job because it’s tough work and there’s little to no pressure…
    While (for you) it would have been great to have lived rent free to pay down your loans…they’re your loans – no offense, but I find your point of view somewhat selfish. What about the burdens on your Mom providing you food, the extra utilities? I think you may have missed the point of being charged rent.

  • zDCdoc

    My son has two college degrees in a competitive but well paying field. He had a 3.8 GPA for one degree and a 4.0 for the other. He wanted to study a year in Asia and I gave him the $35,000 with the agreement that I was done. He has only had one work study job and just for one year of college. No summer work, no temp jobs no nothing. I am sick of paying for him to sit around my house saying he wants the year off. He is now going for the third degree and it is only two days of week in class. That gives him five to work. He still buys video games and overspent his money while in Asia. Sorry but this is called being an enabler. He needs to pay rent as he is a well educated adult. He has the skills needed but why bother? If not rent then the best solution is being put out and let him have a taste of real life. Went to school with too many rich kids and it will not fly with me. Both his father and I worked for years and are retired. I still work for FREE. I thought I had taught him to give back but it is not happening. Not a great economy for my 65 plus age bracket either!

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      Very interesting, thanks for sharing your experience! Sounds like you are ready to make a change. I hope it all works out well for both of you!

      • zDCdoc

        He may not be ready for a change but we are. It may not work out well for him but he is an adult and must take responsibility. Even in my golden years as they are called it might not work out for my husband and I either. Retirement funds tanked and who knows how long SS will be around. Investments are no security these days either. No individual is going to take care of us. We are adults. My son is too and needs to step up to the plate and take his knocks. This economy is fair to very few. That is a reality and these kids need to learn to cope. It might not be the life their patents provided but we had to work from the ground up. Medical school was expensive for both hubby and I a hundred years ago. We sacrificed and sorry but that is part of growing up.

        • too old to runaway

          Here here!!!!

          • zDCdoc

            I tossed him out. Letting him back was stupid on my part. He is doing just fine w/o me!

        • Melinda Lloyd

          I completely agree that your son has overstayed his welcome. He needs to take some responsibility for his life.

          • zDCdoc

            It has been two months since he has left. He has landed a job paying six figures within two weeks after I said enough was enough. He would stay in school the rest of his life if I had let him. With me allowing him to stay all I was doing was enabling his behavior. If he wants a year off he can finance it. My biggest mistake was not doing it sooner. While the economy is not great I remember hubby and I struggling and a very high interest rate on our mortgage that was considered great at the time but still very expensive. We had student debts from medical school. Very few individuals did not start off struggling. Allowing him back home was the biggest parenting mistake I made. He had an education, brains but no motivation. That was not going to come from a vaca at my house!

          • Melinda Lloyd

            Glad to hear it worked out!! I do think that there is a big difference between a helping hand and an enabling shoulder!! When they stop helping themselves the burden falls entirely on you, and that is not ok. I am sure you are very proud of his accomplishments so far. Remind him of all the help you provided him when you start needing help yourself!!!

          • zDCdoc

            He knows-:) he has three older brothers and they have done a beautiful job at reinforcing my strategy. I am proud BUT I knew he could do it and I expected nothing less. All of our kids are in different fields with different abilities. All we ever asked is that they live up to their potential and set the bar to push themselves. I don’t advocate burning yourself out or getting so OCD you can’t function but we will never reach our full potential unless we try. Even at my age I am still a work in progress. I am now heading back for more training even though I will be the oldest “kid” in the group. It is also in a foreign country and a very rough environment but I will grow. Beats sitting in my comfort zone aging. I need to practice what I preach!

    • norain norainbows

      Son, you can take the year off if you like. Just not in my house.

  • zDCdoc

    Planning for graduation and the job market need to start in college! It might not be your dream job and odds you are underemployed high BUT this is not unique to your generation. We all had to start out at the bottom. After college if you planned correctly and lived frugally you should be independent. School debt is a fact of life for most. Yes it would be great to be debt free so you can continue on to grad school but that does not prepare you for adulthood with house/rent, utilities, food, medical, car etc. and learning to balance that yourself teaches those skills. I taught college, med school to be exact and higher level science undergrad classes. Those that they site as being unemployed are underemployed for a reason. Most did not show up to class or were too hungover to study. I see this from both sides. Many wanted it given. Trust me if you work for it you will appreciate it more when you get it. We struggled for years with incredible med school debt and working 36 hour shifts with lousy pay. The world owes you nothing! You have to make your own way. Harsh perhaps but that is reality. You will survive even if not to your initial liking.

    • Melinda Lloyd

      I don’t agree with this. While, yes, we note that current applicants are not as professional or ready for the job market as previous generations, this is not the main reason for un/underemployment. The job market is much harder on the current graduates than on previous generations as there are many very experienced professionals who are older, having lost their jobs, willing to step in for the low salaries often reserved for these new incoming young adults. To say current unemployments are always the fault of the young adult is ignorance to the situation. Yes, there will be a few that fit your description, but there are many cases that do not. Parents should be able to tell which category their child fits into.

      • zDCdoc

        I get 50 year olds saying they were replaced by young kids because they cost them less in salary and medical claims experience which determines rates. You can argue both ways. If you don’t think kids have changed come spend a day with me at school or a night with me in ER. The change is dramatic from our generation to this one. If your child is too drunk to go to class or even get a GED you have a problem. It is a huge problem in society that these kids are way beyond the maturity curve. College is the new high school as far as behavior and grad school the new college. I live in DC obviously and we gave very low unemployment yet kids get jobs if they go after them. If they don’t sell themselves and push you are right. Parents should be able to tell but if your high school student has yet to see his career/college office at his school and has no plans when he has his cap and gown that is the child’s fault as well as the parent’s

        • Melinda Lloyd

          completely agreed in those cases. I am merely stating that there are many kids not fitting that scheme. It is not a one size fits all. I have a lot of friends struggling and taking any low paying job that will accept them at the moment. They have good degrees that should be useful to them, and are hard workers, but the opportunities promised when starting those college programs just are not there.

          • zDCdoc

            If you get a history major or art major yes you are going to have a harder time. Right now we are importing STEM majors, (science, technology, engineer and math) from Asia to fill the openings. I guess my point when one decides a college major they need to explore options. College is no longer about being trained for a job but getting a skill set and being able to take skills like the ability to extrapolate and apply it to any field. Again, it might not be the dream job but there are high demands in certain fields. If you land in one with little or no demand consider grad school If you can afford it OR just take a few classes at your community college in computer science or IT. The starting pay is tolerable and it will pay the bills. The days if going to college, getting an English major and landing a job as a writer are long gone. Department of Labor Statistics has great info on where the job needs are.

          • Melinda Lloyd

            hahaha no. None are history or art… While my husband is an engineer, a lot of jobs were recently cut from the DOE in that field and he knows how lucky he is to have anything let alone something stable like he does. My friends were in biology or other science related fields which when we started college were promoted as growing fields that would never decline. Personally I went with Education only to find that I wouldn’t be able to get a job anyhow, so changed to “liberal studies” A major that typically has a harder time finding work. However I have the better job out of my friends who are much more qualified in their fields which still are promoted as “growing”. It’s all luck out there right now.

          • zDCdoc

            I think we are just going to have to agree to disagree. I have given you a site but if you are not interested there is little I can do. The jobs are there. They are given by geographic location. You can call it luck but I think it is hitting the ground hard and fast, networking, volunteering to gain experience, intern while still IN college. I do think one very interesting point is here. Are you willing to relocate or are you waiting for a job in a depressed area? Engineering is in high demand and only 4% of our last graduating class failed to secure jobs. A few had convictions ranging from drugs to assault charges so that is a no brainer. With an opening like “hahaha no” I don’t think we are going to get too far-:) have a pleasant rest of your week and

          • Melinda Lloyd

            You did not provide a site. You also said “agree to disagree” yet then continued to try to have the last word. Sorry Sir, but that was rude. Networking is, yes, the basis for everything nowadays. As I said, skill and actual hard work have little to do with success in your field, it is about who you know, and how you socialize. That has much more to do with your economic bracket than your abilities or laziness. Also many of these children who move back in (what the article was about to begin with) will not have gone to college, or will have majors you believe to be poor choices. That may be, but the fact remains that trying is the key factor to whether or not a parent should extend a helping hand. Your son wasn’t trying, so you rightfully cut him off. However many kids are trying, maybe they made poor choices, but that is completely besides the point.

            Also the reason I started with “hahaha no.” was because I found your frank assumption that either 1.) Any individual doing poorly was an art or history major; or 2.) Any friend of mine had to have made poor choices in this regard; to be quite prejudicial and rude in whichever way you meant it. While I didn’t want to blatantly point that out, you forced the issue.
            So yes, the argument is over, please feel free for one last rant back at me, even though you said you would not. I am done. Goodbye.

          • zDCdoc

            I am a woman not a Sir-:) talk about assumptions, have a wonderful holiday.

          • disqus_dgBvtTjSqi

            You do not know what you are talking about. The other poster and myself are familiar with the situation you are just using info you heard on the news or read on AOL

          • Nnb

            Actually, I didn’t. There’s no need to be petty. How do you know where I got my info?

          • 11011988

            Wow! Way to make rude assumptions. People can major in whatever they want. We can’t all be good in STEM fields. Also, we can’t all be talented in art, drama, dance, music, etc. Plus, a lot of people who major in the arts aren’t in it for the money. Maybe they don’t mind struggling. As my grandma used to say, “there are many different ways to skin a cow” and “it takes all kinds.” Now, I do agree that some people make poor choices, don’t put enough effort into their job searches, etc. But, there are many people who are very diligent in looking for jobs, internships, etc who have trouble getting a job that pays well or any job at all. I have a friend who applied to hundreds of jobs (she also did internships and worked in college) and it took her months to actually find a job. Yes, she put in a lot of effort, but jobs don’t just fall into your lap, the minute you start looking.

          • disqus_dgBvtTjSqi

            You are ill informed. There are plenty of american STEM majors to fill the jobs. Employers want people that will work for lower wages or will put in twice the hours for the same wages they pay an american. Mostly they want people that will shut up and not complain about poor working conditions, noncompliance etc. Read anywhere on the net, people that are in STEM fields are saying be careful! Go to a message board full of engineers or scientists that cannot get jobs. Some professional fields are still relatively safe but certainly not STEM fields. Its a corporate-paid scam. I hate to see all of these poor kids falling for the STEM scam

  • Too old to runaway

    Your position still sounds like entitlement. My parents were older, could have been my grandparents, but they were wonderful. One thing they didn’t do however, is give me advice on how to survive. They just made it clear, that once I was married, that coming home wasn’t an option. So, I did what I could to survive. I, on the other hand, have been taken advantage of, because of my guilt for having made a bad choice in marriage. My daughter has been living with me and her bf, and her 5 yr. daughter, now a new baby, for about four years. They do take care of their own bills, but mostly are still in debt. I’ve told them where to go for help. The bf expects to get a free ride. Today, I am going to get the nerve to tell him that I’m needing to collect rent to the tune of 600, which is just over half of my mortgage. I now make one fourth of what I used to and can’t concentrate to even try to improve my situation due to the chaos in the house.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      Good luck with the talk – I hope it goes well! That sounds like a very tough situation.

    • zDCdoc

      You need to put yourself first. Funding a retirement and taking care of yourself is your first priority. You have raised your children and all must move on. I wish you the very best! It is not easy having just tossed one out but it is the best in the end for all of us. If these kids don’t get on their own two feet what will they do when we are gone?

    • Melinda Lloyd

      I agree, you are being too kind to these kids. Rent should be expected if they are being financially irresponsible.

  • taz

    What about poor parents who cant afford another mouth to feed? im barely able to afford college and with my other sister in college now too my single mom can not afford for me (an adult)to live off of her for free anymore. Just helping out around the house is not enough. This article is for parents who have the option of not charging rent. Alot dont have that option.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      That’s a good point, taz. Thanks for your comment!

    • zDCdoc

      Even if you are financially secure now things can change and parents need to protect their future. Retirement is expensive! You do cut back on food, clothing and gas but at some point nearly all will have to face medical bills and even worse assisted living or nursing home care. Between the two it can kill your savings in no time. You simply can’t go to a bank and ask for a loan to cover assisted living. As soon as a parent can they must start looking after themselves first. It is not because we don’t love you. It is because we do! Who will be picking up the bill so we are not homeless? Most likely you be it directly or through the system. The system is already on overload as us boomers age. It will only get worse. Most of us started off dirt poor with student debt too if we went to college. My generation had parents who tossed you out at 18 for work or school. Not easy but most all of us did the work and built a life. While things are expensive now we had some terrible years if inflation in the very late 70s and early 80s. Mortgage interest was 16% if you had good credit. Payments were incredibly high even if you qualified. Our parents had the Great Depression. All generations have challenges. Hang in there, gain your independence and even if your parents do have money it can be gone very quickly. I admire you for recognizing your mom’s own struggles!

    • Melinda Lloyd

      Taz, If I were your mother I would say that while rent was free, food is not part of that deal and that they must provide for a % of the monthly food bill. There is a difference between free rent and free utilities/living costs

  • Elizabeth

    In my case, I ended up moving back home very recently because I broke my right ankle and cannot drive or climb the stairs to my third-floor apartment. Since I still have to pay the rent on that apartment I can’t get to and I’m trying to pay down student loans at the same time, I’m very grateful that my mom is nice enough not to charge me rent. I would have to decrease my loan payments if she did. So I agree that a blanket “charge your kids rent if they come back” statement is too extreme for most cases.

    That said, I wish I could say I were at least helping out around the house, but that’s not particularly viable until I can stand again or someone invents a sitting dish-washing station. It’s aggravating.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      Sorry to hear about your broken ankle! I think it’s more than reasonable for you to rely on your mom’s help as you recover from what must be a very frustrating injury. And I’m sure she is happy she can help you during a difficult time, regardless. Best of luck to you!

    • Your Mom’s AMAZING :-)

      You are/were injured… and your Mother helped you. This is so awesome of her and definitely NOT a mooching situation like Stephanie’s (above). I am sure that your Mother wanted to take care of you while you were healing. I hope you’re ankle is better. Your Mother obviously did an amazing job of raising you. :-)

    • guest

      poor baby, I broke my foot had 2 stories and no where else to go so I dealt with it get over your self

      • Solace

        Gee, I’m glad that makes you feel so superior, random internet stranger who feels the need to insult me months after the fact.

  • Zane Orlando

    I lost my job on the 28th july, spent all of my money paying off rent and bills for my shared house which the lease ended on september 1st. thankfully my parents let me come and live with them until i found a new job. i had to sleep on a mattress in the same room as my 10 year old brother. i had a -1750 overdraft and literally zero money. I was able to eat and sleep for free though, i claimed benefits and then I got a job after 2 months which earns me £1100 a month. I have already made arrangements to move in with a friend in january. I want to save my money cos i want a TEFL career, a car and enough money to be in a decent financial position and live normally with my friend. I have a civil and friendly relationship with my parents but the second i got my new job they decided i need to pay £200 a month rent before i leave. Theyre completely entitled to do it, it is their house, i just feel like theyre doing it for them and not for my best interests at all. am i being selfish or should my parents be more considerate of me trying to save after hard times and live a better life with some actual financial responsibility? i could understand if i was out drinking and blowing my money but im literally buying my own food, paying off bills and trying to save for a TEFL course and a car. they say i can still do that and pay rent, i just feel a little let down. But who know maybe im just being a brat, it is their house after all and without them i would be homeless right now. all thoughts welcome!

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      Hi Zane, that is an interesting situation. Thanks for sharing, and so sorry to hear about your job loss and subsequent challenges! I think you are right to feel a little let down about the new rent being charged by your parents, but on the other hand, they did let you stay there for free while you were trying to deal with unemployment and finding a new job. If I were you, I would focus on the fact that they helped you out and are still there to offer guidance and emotional support and that way you can enjoy the positives without letting the negatives get in your way. Just my two cents! Good luck.

    • Melinda Lloyd

      Zane, I too have been in debt quite a bit. My mother was kind enough to let me pay off the debt (literally 100% of paychecks going to that and to nothing else) before paying any rent. Saving for your course and car are luxuries, and perhaps if you put off saving anything for those and focused on just paying off the debt (perhaps giving them a timeline for that to be paid off) and agreeing to pay rent after that… they may be willing to see things your way for a little longer.

    • norain norainbows

      So you parents let you live rent free with food until you paid your bills off. Oh poor thing, you had to sleep on a mattress in your brother’s room. How did that work out for your brother, pal? Yes, your parents are doing it for themselves. Wonder why? Because they let you live for free for quite some time, paying of your own bills, while they incurred some having you live there. Extra food, water, accomodations, etc. Did you think of that for a minute. A full grown man takes up considerable space and eats quite a bit more than let’s say a 5 year old. You now have a job. You need to say to your parents “here’s something towards me, an adult, living in your house, using hot water and utilities that cost money, eating your food and taking up space.” So sorry you feel so let down that they rescued you from being homeless, insured that you are now debt free and back at work — in one piece. You are an adult. You have to pay for your living expenses, no matter where you live. You are planning your next life’s chapter as if you got where you are allllll on your own. You did not. You parents are not responsible for you getting a car, going back to school, getting a certificate or making your bed. Grow up. Be a man. Adult children: Your mom and dad are not Bill Gates, Oprah or a Trump, much less privileged jet setters or living large. They do not have legacies or trust funds. There is no guest house, tree house or summer house. The servants don’t work at your parents’ house because your parents can afford them. Unless you are 12, stop expecting your parents to take care of you.

      • 11011988

        Most parents aren’t Bill Gates, that goes without saying. Yes, parents are not required to help adult children..but remember adult children are not required to help their parents either. I think it’s funny and pathetic when parents refuse to help their adult children and then later on complain that their children never visit them or help them. It goes both ways. And about complaining, well sometimes you have to make sacrifices (sleeping on a mattress). Also, I see a lot of complaining in the comments section here, so maybe we shouldn’t complain about others complaining…

        • Kathy from CT

          30 years ago I lost my husband and then my house. While my parents were by no means wealthy, they cod certainly have afforded to help me out financially. That said, they did not and I am eternally grateful they didn’t. It forced me to grow up, get my head out of the sand, face reality, and stand on my own 2 feet.

          Was it hard? Heck yeah! Was I bitter and angry with them? Never once. The thought never crossed my mind that they could or should help me out financially or have me move back in with them. It was my problem to figure out. Yes, they were there day and night for emotional support, which was enough.

          I learned a lot during that time, most importantly that relationships are never to be taken for granted.

          AND I am damn proud of myself for what I have accomplished on my own by my own hard work.

          • Kathy from CT

            Oh, let me add I took care of my dad for 4 months after his strokes and am now caring for my elderly mom who has dementia.

          • Nnb

            I helped take care of my grandfather who had dementia, it’s a challenge, but I was glad to do it. It’s so nice of you to help your parents out!

  • Melinda Lloyd

    I agree with the “putting aside” point. I think it’s a good idea for several reasons. First, you feel better about the situation because you are in no obligation to give that money back, so it becomes a gift. Second, they won’t take advantage of the situation since they believe they are just paying you and you are using that money. Third, when they do move out and see how much money they amassed, they will realize more clearly just how fast “cheap monthly payments” can add up, a lesson much better learned this way than with credit card debt…… There are further reasons I am sure.

    I also agree that if the parent is also on hard times the rent should be to help out there.

    • Well said, Melinda!

      ABSOLUTELY!

  • zDCdoc

    One thing I noticed that has not been addressed much is independence as in psychological independence. These kids need to function on their own. I am not saying it is easy and you might have to hold two jobs to do it but move in with friends and share expenses that way. Your parents are just that, your parents and the dynamic changes little no matter how old you get. A time will come when you no longer have them. The sooner you start the path to independence the better. I learned the hard way with one of mine. You can charge rent, bill them or do nothing but the real issue is getting them independent. Financially is only part of a much bigger picture. JMHO

    • Kathy from CT

      Well said!

    • Nnb

      So true!

  • Stephanie

    My husband and our three kids moved in with my in-laws only caused they had asked us to. They told us they needed help with only being driven places. They have an adopted son who is still in middle school, so my husband’s mom gets tired from driving him places and her husband to and from work. We graciously accepted their invite. We now pay 600 a month and they have been making us buy the groceries, which averages out to about 500 a month. Our annual income is around 1600 and my husband is also going to college. I’m extremely annoyed at the situation. To me it seems like they are taking advantage of us living with them. I don’t mind helping out, but there has to be a limit.

    • Melba Von Eye

      Maybe they are trying to encourage you to get out on your own!

      • Appreciate Your In-Laws!

        Yes Melba, I agree. Where are you going to find $220/month rent per person that includes EVERYTHING? How many people would be willing or able to take in a family of 5 for only 1100/mo. plus rides… and they even include food and toiletries with that dirt-cheap rent? I paid more than that in the 80s while working and finishing my education (which I also paid for). I think her in-laws are very generous… too generous! Stephanie will eventually realize that self-pity rarely accomplishes anything productive.

    • What Makes You Feel ENTITLED ?

      Sorry Stephanie… you say that they asked you to move in to help THEM but really it seems as though they asked you to move in to help YOU while your husband finishes his education. You could always move into your own place and help out your mother-in-law by offering to drive them when you’re not working and this way you won’t feel as though they are taking advantage of your generosity. Either way, maybe it would be better to get a place of your own to avoid feeling “extremely annoyed with the situation”.

    • norain norainbows

      So say something. Where can you live with three children for $1,000 a month? By the way, no one is “making” you buy groceries. You have three children. You are responsible for them, not you in-laws. Where these financial arrangements discussed before you moved in?

  • Parent

    Your non-paying rent suggestion and giving back what was paid in at the end of the rental cycle is selfish. Based on the “what I could have had” scenario without even considering how many people barely make it by these days and assuming all parents are so well established that adding another mouth to feed and the added expenses of electric, water, etc is easily absorbed by the very people who raised you to begin with is immature and the very reason many kids today can’t make it. Maybe most kids think their parents are so well off is because they choose not to discuss their financial status with you. Maybe it’s because they want better for you than what they had for themselves even to the point that they set themselves back. Buck up, pay rent and make it work out. Your parents have nobody to fall back on and you shouldn’t take advantage of them.

  • Miranda

    I am a 23 year old person who moved into my parent’s house a few months ago after losing my apartment because of terrible roommates. And I also lost my job. I know what it’s like to live on my own and have always saved my money, I don’t go out at all, I’m more of a staying-in kind of person. With the money I had saved I buy all my food and shampoo and things. I don’t make messes and I get along fine with everyone and I sleep on a couch. I haven’t been charged rent yet because I can’t afford it, but I’m always being told that I’m a freeloader and need to get my act together, which I am trying to do, but it takes a little time. Not to mention personal criticisms about my character because I’m different than when they were my age. Anyway, I feel like my parents see articles about kids who are actually just lazing about and think that any kid who lives at home is immediately terrible. So I’m glad there’s someone else who sees it my way.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the article! I don’t think you’re a freeloader at all, and it’s too bad you’ve had to hear that word thrown about. You are understandably trying to get back on your feet, and it would be good if your parents could see that. Best of luck – hope it all works out for you!

    • norain norainbows

      Are you actually looking for another job? Maybe you do need to get your act together. Tell your parents each day updates of your job search. Do you really “get along” with everyone else. And sleeping on a couch kind of infringes on the regular household. Keep in mind that most parents with adult children when they were in their 20′s were working, had their own apartments, may have been married with children and when they look at their own 20 something children “sleeping on the couch”, they actually do see a freeloader. Hardly anyone was going to wait until they were 35 or 40 to get married and have children. An very few women lived with a man for years and years hoping he would ask them to get married. It was another time and place. Ask just about anyone over 40 and they will tell you most 20 somethings behave as if they are “entitled”, not as if they are prepared to work just about anywhere, save, and plan for what they want in their life. Re the sofa thing: your parents are not going to make you comfy since they probably don’t want you to start thinking about staying on for a few years. That is what most people do when a friend in need has no place to go. They don’t give that loved one the guest room with a queen size bed, wifi and cable and a gift debit card “until things get better”.

  • Lo

    I moved home after college and did not pay rent. I would have but then I got laid off. Then when I was 25, my parents charged me $100/month. I understood it, even though I pay for my own clothes, shampoo, food, etc. Might I add, I am also staying home, since my parents are opposed to living together with my boyfriend before marriage. So I am staying home until I marry my long time boyfriend. I stay to save money, but also to make them happy, because I could afford to move in with my boyfriend, since he has a good job and could help support me. Then at the age of 27, I decided back to grad school, and they decided to raise my rent. I understand teaching “responsibility,” but that extra money is now money I need to take out in student loans, which I pay interest on. Even so, I have come up with money saving tricks, but the tricks will just get me money to pay them, and not use for school. I understand that it is not my parents’ choice that I am still home, not married, and now going back to school for 2 years. However I am “under employed” and couldn’t live on my own, hence why I am going for my masters. So I feel I am doing right by them, and now forced to stretch my savings further for school, when my parents don’t need the money. I am not angry, but I would maybe like some parental insight as to why this makes sense to them.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      It’s hard to know exactly what their reasoning is, but my guess is you’re right that it has something to do with teaching you responsibility. Different parents have different opinions on this – some are much more relaxed than others. Explaining to them your situation and your plan might help, but it sounds like you’ve already done that. Anyway, I wish you luck in finding a resolution that leaves everyone happy.

    • norain norainbows

      I think you parents understood they would pay for you undergraduate education and then you would be on your own. As a full grown adult, you have chosen to go to grad school, while you are living at home. Do any of these adults think to themselves “if I were living anywhere else what would my living expenses be?” Why do adults think their parents are supposed to still be taking care of them, after they have grown up, gone to college, lived away from home, etc. Grow up. Be an adult Do not blame or even question your parents’ expectations for you to be responsible. You lived at home because you “want to save money”. You could have gotten a small studio or a roommate. What do you really think is going to happen to you if your long time boyfriend runs off with someone he met two weeks ago? Or consider getting married at a simple civil ceremony followed by dinner at a nice restaurant and having your husband take care of you like you said he could. Stop whining. Grow up.

  • PJ

    Both my sons live at my house. One is paying rent and going to school. The other graduated with a 4 year degree, has his girlfriend with him and pays me half of what the other does. All three work a low paying job and not full time. I lost my job, had back surgery with no insurance. I’ve depleted my savings supporting my second son and his girlfriend. Promises are made, but he never follows through. He eats out a lot, buys video games…They are taking advantage of me. Oh and Sally Mae calls me all the time!

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      Hi there, sorry to hear about this difficult situation. It might be a good idea to schedule a meeting with the son and his girlfriend to discuss what they’ll need to do in order to continue living at your house. You can make a list of what you need and present it to them politely but firmly. Hope that helps!

    • norain norainbows

      Why is a girlfriend living in your house. Are they waiting for your to croak or something. Try this: “This is the deal people. Going To School Son, your rent is what you are paying. College Grad son with girlfriend, your rent is now [at least twice if not three times what they are presently paying]. Two of you live here. So the rent is double of what you were paying. If you can’t pay that, then you will have to move. Mamasita! Why are you supporting a man who has a woman living with him. Stop complaining. Get up and buy an actual doormat. No one can take advantage of you unless you let them.

  • Jim A

    27 year old living at home rent free ,we are paying student loans for her , refuses to help around the house and gets mad when I suggest it, I get no backup from the wife , Situation really causes problems in our house for me . She pretty much gave up on looking for full time work. Gave her a choice last week and have not been spoken to ever since. Gotta love it.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      Hi Jim, that’s a tough situation. Kudos to you for being patient with your daughter, but it sounds like you need more of an effort from her. It might be worth scheduling a family discussion when you all can sit down and talk about what will be required of her if she is to continue living at your house. I know this can be tough, but if you prepare what you want to say in advance, it can go smoothly. You could also show her this blog post and comment thread to help her understand why you feel the way you do. Good luck!

    • norain norainbows

      Jim: Tell the 27 year old you can no longer pay her bills and she has to move out. Make sure the bills are in her name. Suggest that maybe she can live with a friend for a while. See how that works out for her. If necessary, place an ad in the local newspaper stating you are not responsible for “My Daughter.” Turn off her cell phone. Cancel any credit cards. Sell some of her clothes on Ebay if necessary. Tell your wife that 5 or 10 years will come and go and your bratty daughter will still be there, because no decent man would want someone like her. If your wife refuses to join in this necessary behavior, make sure you are not responsible for your wife’s bills and credit cards either. Don’t get involved in the emotional backlash. Your daughter is a user and that is what users do. “Desperate times” man. And desperate times call for desperate actions.

  • Annoymous

    Parents who charge their children rent are fools. I would never charge my children rent money. Me and my future husband has our own money. Our children need money for themselves. Me and my husband may not be able to pay everything for our children, but at least when they are working they will be able to afford the things they need. Parents who set rules for adults are fools. It is not just their house, it belongs to your children too and even, if they no longer live there. Adult children do not care about rules, especially their are busy studying school and working to save for their new home. Adult children does not have to do anything for looser parents. Our home is always my children home to too. Parents have their own money and they need to use it. They are responsible for their expenses, not children. Children are only responsible for their own financial needs when they are working and making their own money. Even I never had good parents and I hate them, but I will love my husband and children and treat them better.

    • Okayyyy……

      You really should reconsider your stance on this issue… maybe you could put that extra $ into some English classes. I disagree with you about parents being “foolish” for requiring their ADULT children to at least try and support themselves. I believe that if one wishes to be treated as an adult, they should at least do their personal best to behave as an adult. Parents who teach their child to be independent, responsible and self-reliant are NOT “loosers” or “fools”, but GREAT parents. I don’t have children of my own, but I was raised by GREAT parents.

    • Hank

      you must be very wealthy and have no clue how others suffer. My single mother could never afford to have me living at home, rent free, and I am only 22. I live on my own now, and my mom or dad wont help me out with a penny. When i lived at home with mom, I had to pay 75 a week after age 19.

    • norain norainbows

      Troll City? By the way:
      1. Parents don’t set rules for their adult children. They have rules for their homes. Example: No smoking. No shoes. No pets. That is how they live. Anyone (including their children) who wants to live there has to follow the rules.
      2. Parents who own their own homes are not losers. Parents provide for their children until they are adults.
      3. Losers are adults who expect someone to pay for their personal maintenance like they are a 10 year old.
      4. Adult children are responsible for the bills they make, whether they are working or not.
      5. Most children who hate their parents (who tried their best to care for them) are probably also losers.

  • nelop

    my mom charges me rent £300 a month plus £150 council tax so total of £450 a month my train travel into work is £400 a month so uve guessed it im barely left with anything at the end of the month we dont eat the same things so I do my own food shopping. The mortgage is paid off however there is no reasoning with her I try to save but its so hard. hoping to move out Im currently looking to see if I can rent a room near where I work which will save me 300+ a month

    • norain norainbows

      What would cost you to live in a studio apartment closer to work? Find one and move out. Your mother not having a mortgage is none of your business. She worked hard to buy and pay off her home. Now it’s your turn to do the same thing. Wherever or with whoever you live with, you will have to pay something. Why does an adult expect their parent to continue to support them?

  • Sharon Smith

    I let my daughter, son-in-law, and grandson move back home 13 years ago because they couldn’t afford rent on their own & I needed help with my ailing mother, who lived with me. My daughter had a 2nd child, divorced, and she & both grandchildren are still at home. She paid some help with food, etc. in the beginning but hasn’t paid anything since 2005 on any sort of regular basis. She can’t seem to hold down a full time job, is a slob, and has wrecked every car we own at least once. She is rude, and resents any feedback I give her. I am the only bread winner (my husband is on disability) and have full financial support of my grandsons. I would love to kick her out, but the boys have no other stability. I feel resentful and trapped, and tired. I pay for the boys health insurance, their glasses, their food and 90 % of their clothes. She moved out once 1000 miles away with a loser and it cost me 2 K to get her and the boys home. So . . . you tell me . . .should adult children pay rent?

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      Hi Sharon, I’m sorry to hear about this challenging situation! I’m sure it must be very frustrating to deal with. I know it’s easier said than done, but if you could find some way to communicate how you’re feeling (without anger) to your daughter then maybe she would begin to see how much you are doing for her. Or she needs to have the choices laid out more clearly for her (i.e. continue to live in the house but with a respectful attitude and helping around the house or finding another place to live). Best of luck to you!

    • norain norainbows

      Bye Bye Daughter. Your daughter is involved with some emotional blackmail with you. Tell her your income is reduced and you have no money to help her. Then what? What is going to happen if you get sick? become disabled? You are enabling your resentful child and she is not going to change until you make some changes of your own.

  • Rachael

    This is just one of those things that is always going to be based on the specific situation. You can’t use a blanket “You should or shouldn’t charge your kids rent” – If you have plenty of money, sure, let them stay rent free. If you don’t, charge them a discounted rent as to what they’d be getting elsewhere – you have a tenant and extra money you wouldn’t have had otherwise and they have a MUCH easier place to live – rent encompasses a lot more than simply the rental fee, you have to furnish the place, buy toiletries, pay cable, internet, water, utilities, food… all of those expenses will be much cheaper shared with an extra person, for both sides. It’s literally win win if you go about it the right way.

    The biggest issue is communication – communicate about what you expect and how it makes you feel. People posting about how “unfair” it is that their parents are making them pay rent – welcome to adulthood. It’s not often fair, but you are the one who chose to go to school, and you’re the one who signed for the debt. You’re the one with the degree to show for it, thus, it’s your responsibility to pay it back, no matter how long it takes. Your parents aren’t obligated to help you by giving you a free ride until you’re debt free.

    Personal experience – I’m 25 and have been on my own for years (most of them without a great paying job while I was in school). I’ve always had roommates, didn’t have cable or a smartphone, and shopped wisely. I’ve been paying back my loans all while paying my monthly apartment rent – the fact that you’re complaining about a couple hundred dollars a month is ludicrous, you’d likely be paying twice that if your parents weren’t letting you live at home.

    Bottom line – some parents can easily help, and some may need you to pitch in. Your parents aren’t better or worse for being one type or the other, and either way, you’re likely getting a better deal than if they weren’t around. So… stop complaining?

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      Getting a lower rate on the monthly rent is certainly a big advantage, and I agree it is quite reasonable to ask that in most cases. Thanks for your comment!

    • Nnb

      You’re right.. It really depends on the parents, the kids, and the family situation. It’s not one size fits all.
      A kid who is nasty and takes advantage of his parents should never be tolerated, whatever the situation!

  • Kate

    After many years of fully supporting my son financially after he graduated from high school and then dropped in and out of community college and goofed around I drew the line. When I moved to a new town I offered that he could come along, live rent free but pay for all consumables (food, cell phone, gas (my car), share of insurance etc. He since has gotten into a major university and has taken out student loans to pay for it, is a top student majoring in both Math/CS and gets a bunch of scholarships and grants. And he still saves $$ because he is not paying rent. It helps me greatly not to have to pay for his incidentals. I think it is good that he finally has some skin in the game. A year later my adult daughter and husband with my granddaughter also moved in with me, wanting to find jobs and start a better life in the new area. When they came a year ago I did not charge them for anything for about 6 – 9 months, while they were applying for jobs. Once they both got jobs (together they make more than I do) I asked them to pay me – about half of what an apartment would cost. They still saved enough money for a downpayment and will be out in their own house in another five weeks when escrow closes. I believe that it was fair to demand that they pay me; I need to make sure I save enough for my retirement and I cannot afford to have a huge money drain. And I am sure they don’t want me to knock on their door someday because I am destitute.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      It sounds like you’ve handled things really well. I’m glad to hear that both your son and your daughter were able to use your home as a springboard to a more stable financial situation. Great job!

  • Melissa

    I disagree, I think allowing an adult to live at home rent free is enabling and not allowing them to reach their full potential. Stop whining that you had to pay rent.

    • suebrowcounty

      A parent taking from their child because the child is financially irresponsible is one thing. Taking from the child because you need the money to survive is also acceptable. Taking from a child because you think you should when the child could put that money toward school or paying down debt, especially if the parent can afford to not take the child’s money is just selfish and wrong .

      • Silent Political Yeoman

        I blew through practically all of my money at college and now that I’m back home for the summer, my parents are charging me $350/month, which started as soon as I got through the door. With my part-time summer job, it’s only leaving me a couple hundred per month, since I get paid biweekly. If they really wanted me to be the least bit successful on my own, they wouldn’t have my dad constantly pressuring me into joining the USAF. I don’t care how good the benefits are right now, I made up my mind a long time ago that military life isn’t for me (that and because I’m sick of moving, something I’ve done at least seven times).

        • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

          That sounds like a frustrating situation, but it seems like you’re handling it very well. Saying “no” to parents wishes (especially career related) can be quite difficult, but as you clearly understand, it’s best to pursue your own path and figure out what will make you happy in the long run. Keep up the good work and I’m sure you’ll get the break you need eventually!

  • Hank

    When i lived at home with my mom, she made me pay 75 bucks a week, and I had to do all the chores. I have been living on my own for 2 years now, paying all the rent, groceries, and bills myself. I get really envious when i here about other 20 somethings getting free room and board, free rent, free cars, free gas, etc…literally every one of my peers gets free shit handed to them, and they all wonder why I am soo stressed, angry, and broke all the time.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      Yeah, it can be very frustrating when others around you are not having to face the realities of the ‘real world’ and you are constantly stressed out over finances. I’m not sure if this helps, but I know you’re definitely not the only one in that situation! Best of luck to you.

    • norain norainbows

      Why are you angry. There are not other 20 somethings here getting free anything. There may be however, moochers, lazy butt children and some stressed out parents. Plan your budget. Consider getting a second job or cutting back on your own personal expenses. Regardless, live according to your means. You do not have to be broke all the time. You only “hear” about what other people are getting. You probably do not know the entire story. Your mother did the right thing, a good favor and prepared you for living alone. And I seriously doubt you had to do “all” the chores. An Hank, 75 dollars a week probably was just enough to feed you, provide some hot water for showers and electricity.

      • 11011988

        Sometimes getting a second job is easier said than done, it can depend on the hours of the first job. And they might be living well within their means and still be struggling to pay all their bills. You don’t know their whole situation. It’s unfair to assume that anyone who is struggling financially isn’t living within their means. That being said I know a lot of people having financial problems who are living WAY beyond their means.

  • norain norainbows

    Is this writer serious? The last line also says it all. That if her adult children returned home she would not charge them rent. Yeah Right. How old is this woman? Does she even have teenagers, much less adult children? I recall a man once told me that he would “do anything for me” and love me “no matter what” and that I was “perfect”. In 20 years, stuff always changes.

    Let’s see. If you are scrapped for cash yourself, lady, you will charge anyone living in your place some kind of rent or living expenses. Or maybe tell your adult children that you are so sorry you can only offer them your sofa or the basement because you have been renting the master bedroom out in order pay your own mortgage and taxes.

    Imagine you are a young adult, out of work and living with a friend. How long do you really think your friend is are going to be able to support you, your laundry, meals, along with your presence changing the entire vibration of the household? This article includes references to statistics, graphs, charts. But none of those numbers refers to adults doing what adults do when times are tough — getting a job as a waitress instead of an executive, selling your car or jewelry to pay for meals or cleaning offices or homes so you have an income of some kind.

    The writer actually suggests possible payment arrangements so her “do not charge rent” argument falls flat on its face. When a child is faced with a financial or medical crisis, a parent who is not fabulously wealthy will want to help out and offer their son or daughter a roof over their head. What rich mom or dad would not put their child up in the “guest house” or the “east wing”? But in households where a parent knows they will be working full-time until they are 67 or 70 to have a decent retirement, no able-bodied adult should expect to live anywhere rent free for an undetermined period of time, much less have someone take care of them. Does the writer have any inkling at all what it is like to be age 60+, to come home after a days work (of physical labor, mind you) and find your healthy, robust, wrinkle-free, not a gray hair on their head, child stretched out on the sofa watching a NetFlix movie and having them ask what dinner plans you have or if you remembered to get another gallon of milk as well as a reminder that you need to upgrade the computer service because it’s “too slow”. Most parents will not charge their adult child to pay market rent, but they should definitely expect the adult child to make some type of contribution to the household in some capacity on a regular basis, whether it is financial or doing physical repairs and household chores..

  • Guest from CT

    I agree with whoever said this article sounds like entitlement. Our 3 sons were told from a very early age that (1) our help with college would be providing a roof over their head, gas money to/from college, and food in their bellies and (2) they would have to start paying rent a month after they were out of school, whether that be high school or college. Additionally, they would be responsible for their share of car insurance if they were driving our cars, gas, cell phone, and any food/toiletries they wanted that we didn’t stock in our home (for example, “nicer” shampoo).

    One graduated college 3 weeks ago, found a full-time job, and will start paying rent this week; the other 2 have been out of school and paying rent all this time. My oldest also lives here with his fiance, and she pays rent as well. Yes, expenses went up when she moved in here, and they pay for their own food as well. Each pays $75/week, and it all is going into a separate account which I haven’t touched. Frankly, I am not sure how much I will give back – if at all – as each moves out. It seems the opposite of what I am trying to teach them — being responsible adults.

    • Guest from CT

      I should also add that all have their own cars which they paid for. And emergency funds as well. The fiance living here is saving the $400-$500 difference from what her rent was when she was renting an apartment. They are currently living here because my son is paying us back the money we loaned him for college, which he didn’t finish. Son #2 went to college on a full scholarship, so what we loaned him wasn’t nearly as much as for 1st son.

      • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

        Thanks for sharing your experience, CT. It sounds like the arrangement has worked out quite well for all involved, including your children. I’m glad to hear it!

        • Guest from CT

          Thanks. After reading everyone’s comments and experiences, I decided to set up mutual fund accounts for each son & invest $25/week. The remaining money will be used towards utility expense increase and/or paying down house mortgage faster. This article helped me clear my thoughts. Again, thanks!

  • Lippy

    I moved out at age 19 because my mother had me to get a job during HS (so I had to give up extracurricular activities), and wanted half of my $55 weekly paycheck – even though the other half was being used on taking the bus to work after school, and then dinner at a local pizzeria. Then in college I moved back briefly, but had to sleep on the couch because she got rid of my bed. i stayed home for a year because again she wanted half of my paycheck, and i figured i could live with her and fight over her using my money for bills (she was recently divorved at age 45 and was workign her first jobs at KMart and Home Depot), or i could spend my money on rent in a place where i didn’t have to listen to her rules. I chose to be independant.
    While I am proud of the fact that I paid for everything I had and did since age 16, and that I was completely financially independant at a young age, it came with a cost. if i screwed up, i had no one to rely on. i had no choice but to take jobs that didn’t lead to a career i wanted because i needed to support myself. my grades were fine and i went to a good college, but i couldnt afford to continue my education – my working during college made it seem like i had money to pay for tuition, and disqualified me for a lot of financial aid.
    after mom’s divorce, she moved in with her parents rent free with me and my sister. she stayed living with her parents until they both died. she never became financially stable and is now living with my sister because she keeps getting fired from various jobs she gets. if she had offered me the courtesy of living rent free while i was trying to finish school, just like her parents did for her until they died (and left her with a hefty inheritance which she blew in 4 short years) i feel like i’d have been able to make better decisions younger and i wouldnt have so much debt looming over my head from school. i might also be in the career i wanted because i wouldnt have had to fear not being able to afford supporting myself.
    so in the end, i am still bitter and i am sure i need therapy. but some kids who are trying to start their own lives should at least be given that option if it is possible.

    • Guest from CT

      oh, I am so sorry to read this. You certainly got a raw deal. I hope you find a way to get this turned around. I wish you luck

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      Sorry to hear about this – it sounds very frustrating! I can only imagine what it was like to have to deal with a mother who didn’t want to support you even at age 16. I think you’re right that if she had decided to let you live rent free while completing your higher education, it would have helped you tremendously and probably would have given you both more financial security in the long run. Best of luck to you.

    • suebrowcounty

      You have a narcissistic mother. They can not be fixed. She screwed you over. The only thing you can do is move on and look out for you first. Even if she comes back begging for money. Hold firm and take care of you.

    • Nnb

      That’s too bad. I wish you luck in moving forward. Don’t give up!

  • Adam

    You should never allow your kids to live with you past the age of 18 or after their high school graduation. You could give them the summer to get things figured out, but on the Labor Day following their graduation, they should be out of the house.

    It is SOOO easy to support yourself on nothing. There are tons of options. They could go in an apartment with friends. They could get a single dwelling apartment. They may have to sacrifice the comforts that they are used to (such as having their laundry done, or the big screen tv), but that’s life. They are not entitled to anything. Kicking them out sternly will better prepare them for future life and being a productive member of society. They may suffer in the beginning, but (if they don’t like suffering) they’ll figure it out pretty darn quick.

    As parents, you’ve done your job. You’ve raised them, fed them, housed them, educated them… for 18 years. Now they are adults. Time to get off the teat… PERIOD. Don’t charge them rent, cuz inevitably they will fall on hard time and won’t be able to pay it one month… and then what? Will you let it slide? Will you kick them out? You should have kicked them out in the beginning. Trust me, your life will be so much happier with them out of the house. In those golden years, parents (or grandparents) do not need that extra burden. They’ve done their time already.

    Kids are welcome to come back and visit any time they want… but not live there. Kick ‘em outta the nest! Always love them and always be there for them with advice and emergencies, but kick ‘em out! :)

  • Kyle

    I grew up my whole life with the bare minimum and then the day I turned 18 my father demanded 200 a month. This isnt too unreasonable but after two months he decided to double it. When I lost my job he hammered down on me so hard. I got a job two days later and my dad lost his job. Moral of the story, if you charge your working 18 to 22 year old who stays out of trouble rent, your a huge chump

  • Brad

    I am fairly certain that life doesn’t pull punches. It is my responsibility as a parent to prepare my children for their future. Part of that includes taking accountability for themselves, even when conditions are not optimal. I disagree with the soft approach due to current economic conditions. That is an even playing field for everyone. Life doesn’t provide special considerations due to certain conditions. It can be a tough road sometimes, but the lessons learned and the experiences gained are what separate those who succeed and those who don’t.

  • Kolbi

    I, a 21 year old and my 23 year old brother both moved back in with our mother, after leasing our own house for a year. With us both going back to school and having to work less, we decided it was best to move in with our mom. She can afford all her bills, mortgage payments, etc. on her own, however she still charges rent. We pay $200/month, we pay for our own groceries, insurance for cars/medical, our own gas, car payments, etc. not to mention I have an 8month old daughter who I also completely provide for. In my case, my mom watches my daughter and I pay $200 (which is cheaper than rent and MUCH cheaper than daycare.)

    My mom is able to make double- triple mortgage payments every month for her condo, because of us helping money wise (even if she doesn’t NEED it.) it means that eventually this will be my brother and I’s property. So our “rent” has not gone to waste, where it would have otherwise been.

  • Jace Tate

    i’m on disability, and i get charged rent. I care more that my old man drinks a twelve or two a day when my mom’s gone and has the attitude that he’s right about everything. I’m a total sociopath. Can imagine how f#cked up the world is, being in the top 20% grants middle class status and for the other 6 billion people the world’s sh#t. A total mind f#@k. And no I don’t know anything about greeks.

    • Jace Tate

      I’m a total fratelli.

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  • GP

    I divorced and got out of the military at the same time and myself and my son moved back in with my mom and grandma. My grandma was living on retirement and my mom wasn’t making much in her job. I never took advantage of them. I suppose we never really discussed, it was just expected that everyone in a household contributes to the greater good of the family. I lived there 8 months, but during those 8 months I helped buy groceries and contributed towards the increased use in utilities. I also helped with yard work, retiling the floor, repaired my grandma’s truck, and cleaned house. I tried to be as less of a burden as possible and was able to find a home that I could purchase within the means of my income. Fast forward 7 years, I’m temporarily moving back in with them while I find a house nearby to rent, be closer to work and sell my house, but we’re talking weeks here. But still, I’m helping out with chores and groceries, taking my grandma to medical appointments, and once again, I need to do some repairs on grandma’s truck. I only hope that my 12 year old pays attention to how I do things, because there will be no free ride. There will continue to be expectations under my roof. If you act like a child, be prepared to be treated like one. Free rides only enable children. I know because I’m actively seeing it happen to overwhelmingly most I know in this situation. Too much foot dragging. In my observations, adult children living at home or with other family are more likely to take advantage of the situation and tend to get worse about it the longer they are there. You fail as a parent if you let your child call your bluff and you cave to every excuse they provide, because believe me, they’ll bring it. I’ve had grown adults with children live with me before and there were expectations which they failed at such as me coming home to no meal when that person is home all day doing nothing, or me having to clean up the house after 6 people (3 adults, 2 teens, and 1 child), or them trashing the interior of my new vehicle. Once I became verbal about them not keeping up their end and criticizing how they spent their tax money on electronics, rather than buying a car to get to work and stop using my car; they decided it was time to move out so that the family relationship between siblings could be saved. They killed me on the utility costs which doubled. I thought I was doing the right thing by helping family out, but I really felt taken advantage of, and I have zero BS tolerance policy. Other family have tried it too and the second I feel taken advantage of, I cut the cord. 3 out of 3 family members have tried to take advantage of me. It’s tough to deny or kick out family, but my parents kicked my sister out once for throwing a party where a gun got stolen; the house was trashed, and they felt disrespected. She figured it out and did just fine. You really have to think about others when you burden them with your challenges.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      Thanks for the comment, GP. It sounds like you are setting an excellent example for your son!

  • Lori

    So i should have let a grown adult bleed me for 3 years while she, her son, dog and cat ran up my bills and depreciated my home? No thanks! The miniscule amount of rent that I charged my daughter pretty much offset the cost of them living with my husband and me and allowed us to aquire a few nice things for the home.
    But this arrangement also benefitted my daughter because she was being treated as an adult and therefore no resentment grew from her being dependent on us like a child.
    You KNOW you would not charge your adult children rent? Do you have a crystal ball that can show you the future? Times are tough for the middle aged as well.

  • bonphone

    If they follow house rules and do chores, I can see not charging rent. Most adults children want to have over night quest, stay out late, party, make a mess and expect Mom to continue to be the maid, the cook, etc. For me, it was whole lot less stressful to charge rent and stay ouf of my adult child’s personal affairs. We were like roommates. If she didn’t come home, I was fine…just wanted a courtesy text, so I didn’t worry. Parents have spent a lot of time, money, and energy on their kids. They are grown now, and should take care of themselves. Many parents were a lot less fortunate. Kids today have cell phones, internet, cars, car insurance etc. They live well above their means and need to learn to cutback. You chose the loans…could have worked, used scholarships, cut expenses etc. No one gave me a handout. Went away to college at 17, used student loans, credit, learned a trade, joined the Army, and did an internship (which didn’t cover daycare expenses) . It took me 10 years, and I had $25k in loans. I’m independent, unlike my 3 other sisters, who my mom bought cars for, raised their kids, supplied housing, financial support, etc.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      Sounds like you did an amazing job taking care of yourself! And it sounds like your agreement with your daughter is working well for both of you. Congrats on both fronts!

  • LoansLoomLA

    Melanie that is more than enough. Unfortunately my mother when I graduated gave me money to move out because she wanted me out as soon as possible. It was too soon to move out in my opinion and have since been living paycheck to paycheck and at times have had to defer my loans due to getting laid off or financial difficulty. I always have this fear that I’m not going to make ends meet and my 40k loan will forever loom over my head. I’m also at a point where my industry no longer hires people with only a bachelors and if people do get jobs, they get paid a take home salary of $2500-$3500. Unfortunately this doesn’t get too far in Los Angeles. The worst feeling is the panic that if something bad happens, I’m not sure where I can go. It’s important that children feel secure before leaving the nest or it can encourage poor decision making due to panic.

  • Ed

    This is ludicrous! Are you serious? I am sure your mom would have loved to have a free ride and not have any financial obligation to pay her own rent, mortgage or utilities either. The only exception would be if a kid is out of a job and not drawing unemployment for a period. Otherwise, they should pay something. My child is 25 and has been playing the sad little helpless single mom routine for over 5 years now. She claims to not make much at $22,000 a year and never saves a penny without ANY real bills! She still pays nothing and my wife and I nearly divorced over the stress she causes. My wife is constantly defending her. I think kids are completely selfish and are just trying to have their cake and eat it too when they do this. You want to be the boss of your kids and play mommy at “certain” times but are not responsible enough to live on your own. Everyone faces financial hardships, find a way to make it work. Go on welfare for a while until you get on your feet, look into section 8 housing. Do SOMETHING besides using your parents as a permanent meal ticket.

  • Compassion

    When I was going through my divorce around the age of 27 I moved home with my mother and step father. They didn’t charge me and I didn’t pay any rent. As I recall it was a tough time for me and my finaces. I did however move out as soon as I got on my feet, about 3-4 months top. My mom has since passed and I often feel a bit of guilt for not paying rent. I currently have kicked my 19 yo out. After months of not working or respecting my house enough was enough. We have a 21 living here but they work go to school and doesn’t add any extra burdens on us. We have a 18 that is here as well and seems he may be going to the military soon. I personally would allow our kids to live here as long as they wish rent free. 1. No extra people I.e. Lovers,spouses, or children. 2. No added cost to our lifestyle. I.e. Slamming doors to break casings or any act of damages. 3. No free loading. Jobs are a must and school is a plus it’s not an excuse to vegatate. 4. I also expect chores or atleast helping out. Maybe not cut grass every time but every other. If you cook you are cleared of dishes if you didn’t cook dishes are yours. Your mess is cleaned by you.

  • briefus

    This is easy. Charge Rent is a must, don’t let them know at the time, but put all their rent contributions into a newly opened bank account with their name on it. When they decide to make the move out, surprise with a nice sign-out bonus. Everyone’s happy.

  • Parent

    Most parents in our culture don’t charge rent and would love it if their children came back to live with them. Perhaps it’s reverse psychology because not a lot that I know of do :) In any case, because of how I was brought up, I would agree with you, both on when to not charge and when to charge. I have already decided that if my daughter were to return (she hasn’t left yet), I would not charge, but if I were though, I would also save it up for her and give it back to her when she needed it, such as for a down payment or to repay a loan, or for something else, but we’d discuss it the goal before I turn the money over. I also agree that you should charge if you are being taken advantage of, but one should know his/her own child’s personality.

  • jaylah02

    I stay at my moms in the living room sheep 400 for rent no room I sleep on the floor then my sister pays $200 and she sleeps in the living room as well is it right.

  • Sheila Welhoelter

    Poor baby Ben. So your Mom charged you a whopping $200 for rent. I’m sure you lived with her because you couldn’t find a better deal in town. I have my daughter and son-in-law and their child living with us. They pay $300 a month. For that they get air conditioning/heat, Internet, 3 meals a day+ snacks, TV and laundry services and sometimes they remember to do their chores; they have purchased T25 and an iPad (paid cash wish I could afford that) They are saving to buy a home and he is attending grad school and I feel no guilt what-so-ever about charging rent or the fact that they have to take out loans for the grad school. It’s called life, growing up and accepting adult responsibilities. My job was to raise my daughter. We did that She’s a great gal love her and her husband to pieces and my little grandson. But I am not going to spend my every penny on their dreams and goals. Funny how I have a few of my own and I get up every morning and go to work pay my bills and NO ONE has offered me $300 a month rent + amenities. Grow up! When you accept the responsibilities of a family you can tell the rest of us how to continue to raise our adult children.

  • CC

    I’m pretty late to this discussion but I had my first job for over 4 years and having no children allowed me to work all the OT they offered. I was/am still living with my parents. (very fortunate) however I did have a car payment/insurance/gas, cell phone bill,and numerous hospital bills. So after all my bills were paid every month my priority was to save every penny I could. I opened a second account to have a small amount transferred to earn interest (to quickly save a fair amount for nursing school) I bought my own groceries,toiletries,clothes..you name it. I never once asked for a handout or expected anything. If I needed it I bought it. Unfortunately I was let go and unemployed for close to three months. Keep in mind I saved a pretty decent amount to sustain myself for a few months. I literally ate rice and beans and hardly left the house to save gas. My step dad after my job loss asked me to pay the electric bill, he said I could pay $200 and whatever is left he’ll pay. And that I should fight my unemployment because he needs help with his bills. I was BLOWN AWAY to say the least. I have my own bills to worry about with no income stream. I am grateful to have somewhere to live rent free but I busted my ass to save for school to earn a degree to be able to move out and live my own life. My other 2 sisters (step,so different grandparents) did nothing like that,both moved out right away and were always getting hand outs from my step dads parents. And yet he says I have to pay to help him. I can’t see his reasoning any way I look at it. In the few months I was unemployed my account came extremely close to $0 and my savings for school was gone. And that school money went to his electric bill. Ive been at my new job for 9 days and he already wants me to pick up the bill again. I just can’t help but think what if I didn’t live here,who would you bully to pay your bills then? I would love a place of my own but my money is tied up in bills and saving for school. Rant over,it is just so incredibly frustrating!!!

  • Amy

    I agree that the person who wrote this article is extremely selfish and self-centered. Paying rent only to have it returned to you is just like paying into your own retirement. Are you seriously whining, “Me, me, me,” without even seriously thinking about the fact that your parents already have done so much for you? I moved back in at 25 for financial reasons as well, and my family never asked for rent from me, but I actually love them (and not just myself, like some bloggers) and want to show them that I appreciate their generosity, so I pay them as much as I possibly can while staying on top of my other bills. It might be as low as $400 some months if I have an unexpected expense come up (car trouble, anything medical), but it’s usually $600, which is still cheaper than a studio here. Don’t forget, you were the one who chose a liberal arts degree, and you were the one who chose to fix your mistake with an expensive solution. No matter what petty psychological issues you can think of to trick yourself into thinking anyone owes you is nothing compared to the shxt parents put up with. Work hard. Work minimum wage if you have to. Yes, university professors gave us false hope by telling us to expect a certain amount of money upon graduation, but that’s life. I’m 26 now and I work for half of what I used to make in better times, but I do as much as I can and work my way into being given as many raises as possible. So far i have convinced them to give me two. Just fxcking work hard. Be a fxcking adult. No one’s asking you to be Superman, just don’t be so entitled.

  • Nnb

    At the VERY least, adult children living at home should be paying for extras (cosmetics, entertainment, cable, cell phone, etc) and doing chores, if nothing else. Responsibilities like doing chores should start in childhood, not when they move home after college and should be done weather or not they’re paying rent.
    The decision to charge rent probably depends on the family situation. If the parents need help financially, then of course rent should be charged. If the kid can more than afford to live on their own (but chooses not to, wants more disposable income, etc), then charge rent. And, if the kid is mooching off of and taking advantage of the parents, charge rent! If the kid is under/unemployed, but diligently looking for work, they help out, and the parents don’t need help, than it’s really up to you.