Friday, July 3, 2015

Get A Grip On Your Retirement: Give Your Grown Kids the Boot!

At the park, 7/2/15

July's Ajani's (my son) birthday!  What?  You think I wrote this blog post on my son's bday?  What kind of father do you take me for?  I wrote it yesterday.  Ajani turns two sweet!  And if I don't want to see him turn 22 in my home--this will not be so sweet--I have a whole lot of work to do to prepare him to be a grown man as soon as 18 comes around.

Do you have a grown ("Boomerang") kid living in your home today that is 22 or older?  What did you do wrong?  Nothing?  C'mon!  Of course you did something wrong, you didn't change the locks on the doors!  Now instead of walking around in your underwear, having sex anywhere in the house, and having your favorite treats be in the pantry when you go to look for them, you got Junior messing it all up for you.  What about your daughter and her useless husband coming to live with you?  What the heck is up with that?

Grown kids living with their parents is at an all time high.  Can we blame it all on the economy?  I don't think so.  Sure, there are plenty of underemployed college graduates unable to afford housing on their own, waiting for "something better" to come along, or paying down their enormous college debts by hustling at two jobs, but they don't all live with their parents.  Nor do they all ask for money every month.  The ones that want your cash as often as possible are inconsiderate jerks!  And you let them get away with it, opening up your wallet every time.  "But Harry...he's our son...what will happen to him if we don't give him the money?"  "Margaret, sooner or later Johnny will need to step up and figure it out...we can't keep this up!"  That's right, Harry!

Most parents of Boomerang kids sacrifice their retirement savings, falling behind schedule, while their adult children reside with them.  It's hard to stop "taking care" of children, but nothing in the law says you have to after they reach the age of 18.  Your 50's are critical to making your retirement numbers; you're in the latter stage of your career, prime earning years perhaps, and your fully grown, at-home child is siphoning off the extra income you should be making to 401(k) or IRA contributions.  In your 50's you're also allowed to make "catch-up" contributions; you can add $6K to the $18K, 401(k) max, and an additional $1K to the $5,500 IRA max.  So much for doing that though with a grown offspring living with you.  Unless of course you set some parameters before they moved their crap back in to their old room.  Check these out below:

How to Mitigate the Pain in the Arse of a Grown Kid at Home:

1) Tell them they have to pay rent.  (You choose the amount)  The rent is due on the first of the month, and yes, there is a late fee.  Hello...that's life!  Don't let them live in your home and NOT pay rent.  I don't care if they have a noble cause like saving for a down payment on a home, or paying down college loans.  In the real world, everyone pays either a mortgage or rent each month!

2) Set a time frame for their re-nesting.  Ex: "You have ___ year(s) to get your affairs in order.  Today is _______, that means your time with mom and dad ends on _________."  Even if they are paying you rent, do you want them living with you indefinitely?  I wouldn't.

3) Spell out the rules.  You're most likely not going to charge them a full rent, so you should have them work off the rest.  Chores?  You're not going to be picking-up after them, are you?  If you and your wife/husband have to chip in to keep your house in clean shape, your grown kids should also have to.  No double standards!  Other rules...they can't have their boyfriend or girlfriend spend the night.  Your home is not a motel!  They want to copulate...oh well, let them get their own place then, right?

4) Tell them they have to present a full financial plan to you exactly one month from the first day they move back in.  The plan has to have a monthly budget, and also describe the type of career moves that will facilitate the goal of them moving out in the allotted time you've given them to live with you.

Do you think I'm being too harsh?  Both Jessica and I have agreed this is how we would treat our own kids beyond the age of 18.  We already started training them to be self-reliant.  Rehani is 3 years 7 months and she takes her own plate from the table to the sink.  She cleans her mess on the floor after eating.  She takes off her clothes for bath time.  She can put her own shoes on (Velcro laces) correctly.  She folds her clean clothes and puts them in her drawers.  And any time she says, "I can't do it," I let her keep trying and only ever assist if it's a motor skill she is too young to have.  Ajani, having sister as a model, is learning to do things for himself even faster!  The last thing we want or need in our lives as a married couple, are two grown kids living at home with us as we endeavor to retire early from the rat-race.  

I'm pretty sure you don't want to be worrying so much about having enough to retire.  If your grown kids are living with you, the best thing you can do is give them the hint that you don't want them there forever.  Use the four tips above to make it obvious.  Reality Bites so don't coddle your children.  Hasta La Vista, Baby and have a Happy 4th of July Weekend.  God bless America.

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