How to Help Your Young Adult Move Out

Time to Leave the Nest ... Again

Young woman moving out

Roy Ritchie/Getty Images 

Young adults and millennials are returning home to live with their parents in record numbers. There are many reasons for this, but according to Pew Research, the most prevalent reason for this return to the family nest is the fact that young adults are putting off marriage until later than ever before. 

Dating back to 1880, the most common living arrangement among young adults has been living with a romantic partner, whether a spouse or a significant other. This type of arrangement peaked around 1960, when 62% of the nation’s 18- to 34-year-olds were living with a spouse or partner in their own household, and only one-in-five were living with their parents.

A Home of Their Own?

The cost of housing is another factor sending young adults back to their childhood bedrooms or parent's basement apartments. Whether they are choosing to continue their education, are not earning enough money to live alone, or are actively saving for a home of their own, finances play a big part in young adults choosing to live with their parents well into their 20's and even in some cases their 30's.

When faced with living with roommates and sharing living space with people they don't know or don't much care for, millennials are opting for the comfort and security of living with their parents.

Not Interested in Love

Millennials are having far less sex than Gen-Xers or Boomers. Their lack of interest in intimate relationships can be attributed to, among other things, pressure to succeed in their careers, fear of being emotionally hurt, an increase in antidepressant use (which can affect libido), and awkward meet-ups on dating apps. Rather than spending their time and energy looking for love, more millennials are focusing on their health, their jobs, and their friendships.

It's a Lot Easier

Living with family instead of on their own is a lot easier for many millennials, which is another reason they may choose not to fly from the nest. Everyday responsibilities like grocery shopping, house cleaning, cooking and more are often taken care of by the parents by default, giving young adults a lot more free time and less financial expense. Once they've returned home and discovered how nice it is to be part of a family, with meals and a clean bathroom, it may be difficult to move out anytime soon, whatever their financial situation may be.

What Parents Can Do to Encourage Their Young Adults to Move Out

Assuming your young adult is making a decent living and can take care of himself, how can parents encourage (or insist) that their children move out of the family home? For many parents, plans as empty nesters or retirees could be put on the back burner, including selling a large home to downsize and moving into the next phase of their lives.

There is no reason why parents should refrain from asking their young adults for a timeline and a plan for the next step in their lives. If young adults seem reluctant to commit to a date or a schedule, parents should take it upon themselves to outline expectations and requirements for their kids to find a home of their own.

Tactics to Take

  • If parents are collecting rent, stop using it for household expenses and start putting it into a savings account immediately. This money can be used to get their young adults set up in a new apartment or for a down payment on a home, depending on the costs. 
  • Stop taking care of the young adults. Insist that they cook a few meals a week, do the family laundry, clean the bathroom, or mow the lawn. Instead of it feeling like a free ride, make it a little bit harder to stay put.
  • If you are looking to sell your home and downsize, get it listed. Nothing will motivate your young adult more than seeing a "for sale" sign in front of your house. Explain gently that you are moving on with your lives and it's time for him to move on with his, too. 
1 Source
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  1. Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends Project. For first time in modern era, living with parents edges out other living arrangements for 18- to 34-year-olds.

By Sharon Greenthal
Sharon Greenthal is a writer and editor who specializes in parenting, midlife, empty nesting, and marriage.