For a lot of parents, the whole notion of charging a child rent for their lodging in the family’s St. Cloud house seems like an all-but-unthinkable miserly idea. It might seem like an elevation of finance over family—something that crosses a basic societal norm. How in the world could a self-respecting parent place a price tag on providing shelter for their offspring? The issue is real for many St. Cloud families—especially right now, the peak season for high school and college graduations.
Last week, the Wall Street Journal’s Beth DeCarbo provided a thought-provoking commentary on that subject. Its timeliness was framed by her rueful observation that a whole lot of this month’s graduates are “ready for their next big move…back home.”
It could be argued that the statistical support has grown less valid this year because even if “more than one-third of young adults lived at home in 2015,” the current job outlook is considerably brighter than it was (last Friday’s weekly Unemployment Claims were down another thousand). Still, it’s never been uncommon for young adults to need to return to the parental St. Cloud nest while assessing prospects for their first steps into the real world. But what if employment is not a problem? How long is long enough?
The point of the article is that many financial advisers counsel that charging rent to longer-term returning progeny is the preferable arrangement—especially for the returning children themselves. One private wealth adviser points out that the practice teaches kids “to budget, to prepare for life.” The reverse would seem to be logical. Not charging rent to working progeny delays their entry into the real world where landlords and mortgage companies require punctual payment, or else.
A nice sweetener of an idea for soft-hearted St. Cloud parents who would feel terrible about charging rent to the grownup kids came from one mother who regretted not charging “everybody” rent: “I wish we had…and given it back to them after they left!”
Charging rent to other-than-family members is also a possibility for some empty-nesters—although downsizing is more common. For all your St. Cloud real estate prospects, I hope you’ll call me!
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