Charging Your Kids Rent?

Source: http://mamikikeyu.wordpress.com/

Source: http://mamikikeyu.wordpress.com/

A high school friend of mine still lives at home, she’s 28 years old. She works full-time, has a car and only had a small amount of debt from one year of college which she paid off in a few months.

It was no secret that when we graduated high school, if she, same with her brothers, chose not to pursue post secondary education they would have 6 months before they had to start paying rent to live at home.They were expected to work full-time and couldn’t just sit on the butts at home.  I don’t think this is a totally unrealistic request of parents.

Forcing your child to start contributing to the family’s finances is a smart way to teach great money management skills while in the safety of the family home and much less risk than being on their own. Since she started paying rent she was now allowed to have a say in the running of the house. She wanted her own land line in the house (she didn’t have a cell phone at the time) so she sat down with her mom and went over the family budget with her new rent contribution and budgeted in adding a second line to the phone budget. Her mom was a sweet, organized lady who taught her daughter a lot about ‘life skills’ so why is her 28-year-old daughter still at home then?

Never increasing the menial rent and allowing her daughter to stay too close to the security of home has allowed my friend to get much too comfortable.  In her moms eyes, as long as she was paying rent, what my friend did with her money was ‘up to her’ as she had already taught her the skills, it wasn’t moms responsibility to implement them. The end result is my friend being 28 and still living at home. She blows through her money on food, clothes and crap for her ‘bedroom’ that she doesn’t need. I can only imagine what I could accomplish if I lived at home for 10 years after high school only paying $150.00/month.

I have no problem, and actually think it could be a smart move to charge kids rent who are not in post secondary and live at home after high school. Never charging any amount that could interfere with potential goals (if they’re taking time off school to save for travel or save for education etc) but I think by charging rent it teaches responsibility as an adult. Having said this there has to be some guidelines. My friend is still at home because she still pays the same $150.00/month in rent that she did when she was 18.

I understand that mom is now compliant with their living situation but at what point do you force her to gain a life of her own? Something I would have done a long time ago. Mom needs to jack the rent up to a more respectable amount if she’s going to continue to allow her to live there, then maybe my friend will realize she could have a place of her own where she can start a life (of her own!) for the same amount of money. Once she gets this realization in her head, maybe, just maybe, she will start saving for said abode. Who knows? All I know is that I may have a crap load of debt but I wouldn’t trade my life, home, family and independence for anything, especially living with my mom at 28 years old.

Who has, or plans to potentially, charge their children rent after high school? OR Who has paid their parents rent? Opinions please!

{Note: I am not saying all situations are the same. I realize some people stay home for many different reasons, I know people in these sorts of situations. There is no ‘situation’ around said story, my friend is just a financial lazy ass with Momma encouraging it}

Comments

  1. theoutliermodel says:

    I don’t exactly plan on having kids but I agree with the philosophy here. I hadn’t thought there would be an issue of staying tokblong like this, so raising the rent seems necessary at some point!

  2. The sad thing is I know a few people who are in their late 20′s and still living with their parents. Its a scary world, indeed.

  3. I definitely agree with this philosophy! What my friend’s parents did was after they graduated, they charged him rent after he moved back home. Then when he moved out again, they gifted it all back to him so that he could get a head start.

  4. Catherine says:

    I never thought about doing that! That’s a great idea, for parents to set the rent money aside and give it back to the kids (without them knowing of course)…Hmm…

  5. As you say, I think it depends on the situation. In general, I would say that they should be paying some sort of rent, or help out with other household bills. Given the situation I believe my wife and I probably would. I view it as a way to help prepare them for what life is going to be like and motivate them to be finanically prudent.

  6. justin@thefrugalpath says:

    I think by not charging a working child rent the child becomes accustomed to having a large amount of disposable income. When they finally do leave home the child is unaccustomed to not having this disposable income and can really dig themselves into a financial hole.
    This may seem extreme, but once my children start working, even if they are 16, they will pay rent based off a percentage of their income. I won’t put this money towards my payment or anything. Instead it will be saved in an account and when the time comes for them to purchase a house on their own I’ll give it to them for a down payment. This way they won’t become accustomed to having such a large disposable income.

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