Color of Money: Should parents welcome the boomerang generation back?

Michelle Singletary on

-- Monitor the job-search process. This is going to be tricky. I would want updates on how the job hunting is going. But you also don't want to be annoying. Work out how often you want to hear about the employment situation and what information you'd like to receive.

-- Be clear about their financial responsibilities. If you aren't going to require rent -- and, in this case, that's understandable -- you still need to work out who pays for what in regards to the household bills. If there's a significant increase in the utilities, will you want them to pay the extra amount? Will they be responsible for buying their own food?

You don't want to nickel and dime the couple, because they are trying to save. However, unspoken expectations of expenses you think they should pay can make things tense in the home.

-- Talk about their discretionary spending. It's bound to happen: They go to the movies too much or on shopping sprees. They're eating out quite a bit. They take a Caribbean vacation. Then you feel resentful because you're footing the majority of the bills while they appear to be living a little too well.

Don't be timid about saying that, if you see reckless financial behavior, you will not be happy. You should tell them it could even result in a change in your agreement (such as charging them rent).

-- Leaving nothing unsaid. If you have any reservations or concerns about anything, bring it up before the move.


No matter how responsible and hardworking your adult child, the best-laid plans can go awry. To mitigate the issues that will come up, establish some boundaries for your boomerang adult.


Readers can write to Michelle Singletary c/o The Washington Post, 1301 K St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20071. Her email address is Follow her on Twitter (@SingletaryM) or Facebook ( Comments and questions are welcome, but due to the volume of mail, personal responses may not be possible. Please also note comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer's name, unless a specific request to do otherwise is indicated.

(c) 2019, Washington Post Writers Group



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