Should Your Child Move Out Once They Turn 18?
In most cases, parents are no longer legally responsible for their children once their children reach the age of 18. For quite a while, it’s been thought that once an individual reaches 18 years of age, that it’s time to move out and move on with life—pretty much meaning that once you’ve hit 18, you’re on your own.
In today’s times, though, the standard is just a little bit different.
Just think about this for a moment: do you actually know a lot of 18-year-olds who are out of their parents’ house and making enough money to provide themselves with a reasonable and decent standard of living?
Can you think of many 18-year-olds who are full time college students with full time jobs that aren’t struggling to keep their finances in order while making good grades?
Sure, there’s definitely a handful of 18-year-olds out there who are able to provide for themselves without living in a state of pure and utter squalor, but being completely financially independent at the age of 18 isn’t nearly as common—or easy—as it used to be (that’s not to say it was always easy).
And, if an individual isn’t in a position to be financially independent, that often means that that individual is living at home with their parents.
So, is your kid is nearing the age of 18—or past the age of 18—and are you wondering if it’s time to send her out on her own? Are you wondering if she’s ready—if she actually has what it takes to make it?
When it comes down to it, your kid is probably more than capable of supporting herself—at least in theory; it isn’t like your kid simply lacks the aptitude or work ethic to do so.
These days, making it on your own isn’t really a matter of competency or willpower: getting a job just isn’t as easy as it used to be, and getting an education to secure a job also isn’t as easy as it used to be as well (college tuition costs are absolutely outrageous—so when looking at schools you can’t always just count on your good grades to get your there).
If your kid doesn’t have the necessary funds to go to college, or she can’t get an adequate job to ensure she doesn’t struggle throughout the rest of her life, one of her best options is to stay at home with you.
Maybe you’re sick of your kid and you just want her to get out (hopefully that’s not the case), or you love having your kid around but you worry that she won’t learn particular life lessons if she continues to stay under your roof.
In the instance of the latter, you don’t have to worry about your kid’s grasp on the way the world works; and that’s because more young adults are living with their parents than ever before.
Of course, whether or not you feel your child needs to leave the house at 18 is up to you, but just keep in mind that you aren’t sheltering her (pun intended) from any harsh truths that you feel she wouldn’t be able to learn if she stays at home. And again, you have to remember that just because your kid lives with you as an adult, that doesn’t mean she’s a total deadbeat with no drive or ambition.
Before we get into some particular statistics, let’s just think about all the things that an individual needs to live somewhat comfortably: there’s rent (and the initial deposit), food, electricity bills, water bills, car payments (let’s not forget gas), car insurance, means of transportation if your kid isn’t the position to pay for a vehicle, possible medical expenses (that includes doctors’ visits and prescriptions), health insurance—the list goes on.
Yes, we all have to pay for those things, but that’s really tough to do when you’re only 18 years old and working for minimum wage (really, it’s pretty hard regardless). It’s not a rule of thumb by any means that an 18-year-old has to work for minimum wage, but it’s pretty common that it’s the case.
Given all these costs, you might want to consider letting your kid live with you for a few years. That doesn’t mean you have to pay for all of your kid’s costs, but it definitely cuts out the rent expense (although some parents do prefer their kid to pay rent in some form or another).
Just because your adult kid lives with you, it doesn’t mean you have to support her. You may not want your kid to stay with you forever, but by just letting her stay for a couple years, you’re going to be able to help her get off her feet a little bit when the time comes for her to move out and move on.
According to a 2016 Pew survey, 32 percent of young adults (ranging from the ages of 18-34) live with their parents. Maybe many of you were married and gave birth to your children during that age range—so it might seem pretty absurd that even people in their 30’s still live with their parents—but now you know it isn’t that uncommon.
Of course, it’s not an even split as far as the numbers and percentages go, and more young adults are out of their parents’ house than aren’t, but 32 percent is actually pretty high.
Not only is 32 percent a fairly high number, but it’s a number that’s increased over time. In the year 2000, 10 percent of 25 to 35-year-olds lived with the parents, and as of 2016, that number has risen to 15 percent, according to Pew Research Center.
Granted, this second set of numbers isn’t looking at 18-year-olds, but you can probably imagine that the numbers really aren’t that different for individuals under the age of 25 (in fact the numbers are probably quite higher simply because there’s more people to take into account).
You might be asking yourself why the numbers are as high as they are, and the answer definitely isn’t that young adults are getting lazier as time goes on. Really, you have to think about the costs of education and the extremely competitive job market—and also the ways in which looking for and securing jobs has changed (especially in the digital age).
College tuition costs
According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition for the 2017-2018 school year (take note, that’s just one year) is $9,970 for in-state, public colleges, $25,620 for out-of-state colleges, and $34,740 for private colleges.
Now remember here, those are just average costs—meaning some are a little lower, but some are definitely higher. In addition to tuition, you also have to take into account housing and textbooks (textbooks can actually be quite expensive).
Maybe you simply aren’t in the position where you’re able to provide your kid with a college fund, which means your kid will have to pay for school herself if she wants an education.
Maybe you at least saved up enough money to make a contribution to your child’s education, but there’s still a lot to cover. Maybe you have the money for the tuition itself, but you don’t have the funds to pay for housing. If that’s the case—and your kid attends a local school—then living under your roof might be the best option for your kid.
If your kid has school costs taken care of, but has to break her back at a job in order to pay her rent (if she does indeed live elsewhere), her grades could very well suffer. Yes, there’s tons of students who both work and go to school full time, but it’s extremely difficult to balance the two. If your kid is able to stay with you, and she’s able to focus simply on her schoolwork, then that gives your kid the opportunity to make the most of her college education (which will most likely give her a higher chance of getting a good job).
When you think about it, that’s a pretty good reason to keep your kid at home with you for a few years. Now, maybe once your kid finishes school, you might have to reconsider whether or not you feel it’s appropriate for your kid to continue to live with you, but a few extra years right out of school isn’t going to prevent your kid from learning about certain financial realties—there’s plenty of time for that.
Today’s job market
Getting a job hasn’t always been the easiest task, but now it’s harder than ever. For one, the population is huge (making the competition pretty tough); secondly, it’s basically now considered the standard to have a college degree if you want to get a job (and that doesn’t even guarantee you’ll get one that pays well—plenty of people have degrees but are still unable to comfortably provide for themselves); and thirdly, you have to think about the difficult process of getting a job in the digital age.
Today, you can’t really just go door to door, and tell the owner or manager of an establishment that you’re a hard worker, and that you’re work ethic makes you the perfect candidate for the job.
In this day and age, so many job applications and resumes you submit are done so through the internet. Considering that we live in a world where face to face interactions are dwindling, that affects the way we get employment—whether you realize it or not.
Given the fact that so much job hunting is done on the web, it makes it harder for individuals to stand out. Just imagine you’re a recruiter of some sort, and you stare at a screen while you receive a flood of job applications and resumes.
Eventually—apart from varying content in the resumes—how would you even begin to differentiate anybody? Because the interactions are faceless (which certainly affects the way an individual is able to present themselves), your resume has to be one that’s incredibly unique.
As far as a resume or job application goes these days, it isn’t just about your qualifications—it’s about how well you’re able to market yourself on the internet; that means fancy resumes that you have to learn how to make using fancy (and sometimes complicated) programs.
In general, there seems to be a lot of emphasis on the quality of being unique—and that doesn’t just mean unique job qualifications; again, it means marketing yourself in the most unique way possible. Really, today you have to be more adept at selling yourself than ever before.
So now, getting a job is a process that requires a greater multitude of steps than in the past: you have to be qualified, you have to be computer and internet savvy, and you have to know how to sell yourself and show that you can bring something to the table that others can’t—simply because you put together the best looking resume, or you’ve been able to make the most LinkedIn contacts (most of whom you hardly know or have never met anyway). It’s almost as if selling yourself through presentation is more important than your ability to successfully carry out the job.
There’s never been more stuff to sell and consume than there is today—and that includes you has a human being, and your capabilities and personal identity (in some way or another, we’re all for sale). That’s why it’s called a job market. You just have to remember that the market has become more crowded, and more skills are required to make yourself stand out.
So, if you’re wondering why your adult kid can’t just seem to get out of your house, you have to think about the fact that getting ahead has never been more difficult. Costs are higher in almost every realm, college degrees are pretty much the new high school diploma, and the internet has made it so that it’s very difficult for anyone to get noticed.
None of this means your adult kid has to stay with you forever, but it’s at least important to think about all of these factors when reflecting upon the original tradition of leaving the nest at the age of 18. Should you feel sorry for your kid? No.
Should you at least try to understand why things are harder than they used to be? You bet. Your kid isn’t lazy, your kid just has to do so much more these days to obtain the quality of life that you want for her, and the quality of life that she deserves.