Should “Twenty-Something’s” Living at Home Pay Rent?


When today’s “twenty something’s” decide living at home is the easiest, most convenient way to survive in today’s economy, should we, as parents, charge them rent?

A parent’s role is to guide their children to develop into adults who can take care of themselves and contribute to society.  If the adult “twenty something” is now earning a full-time income, then the parent has fulfilled part of their role; but until the child is out of the home and supporting themselves, then they are still sheilding and developing them.

Baby Boomers, and generations prior, had milestones which resulted into “the transition to adulthood”, such as completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having a child.  The new Generation Y, today’s “twenty something’s” tend to mix up the above mentioned milestones to seek greater financial gain and security in today’s society.  Resulting in our “twenty something’s” remaining home until their mid – 30′s in order to obtain all 5 milestones; which is a new stage we must prepare for.

Do we charge our adult-children rent, or do we allow them to remain living at home with no financial responsibility or accountability?  If our choice is not to charge rent, are we really allowing our “twenty something’s” children to grow up?

If they live at home without contributing to rent//food, etc then they are taking a major stop on the path of becoming independent.  A stop which may be very difficult to restart from.

By charging them rent we are on the road to teaching them the real costs of living.  It will make it easier for our adult-child to make an easier, eventual, adjustment into the real world where people have to pay rent or make mortgage payments and adjust other spending as a result.  By not charging our “twenty something” rent, they have more disposable income, which could allow them to live larger on their salary than they otherwise could (nicer car, fancier clothes, going out with friends more, etc.), resulting in a false impression of what it takes to live within their means.  Eventually our “twenty something’s” would be living in a fantasy world that is available only because we are subsiding our adult-child.

If parents elect to not charge their “twenty something” rent, are parents over protecting and over supporting?  If so, will this method make matters worse, turning the “changing timetable of adulthood” into a self-fulfilling prophecy?

I don’t believe there is a right or wrong answer.  Most people say that “twenty something’s” need to take financial responsibility, in some dollar amount, and that if they aren’t contributing to the expenses, then they are not being prepared for the outside world.

Making our children’s lives as easy as possible, loving our children unconditionally and being there for them through their ups and downs….that’s the wants of all parents.