card balance, she admits she spent as she went. While staying with her parents, Roussell shopped and lived paycheck to paycheck.
Since leaving her position at Dillard last July and heading to graduate school the following month, Roussell has cooled her shopping habit and focuses instead on completing her master’s degree next May. She also landed a graduate work-study post, at which she earns $3,438 annually plus a graduate assistantship that pays $1,300 annually. In addition, she has a $3,875 grant that goes toward her $15,500 annual tuition; other grants and student loans cover the balance.
Roussell’s parents, who are in their early 60s, extend financial help when their daughter needs it. Her mother, Althea W. Roussell, took out a personal loan to help pay off a $2,000 balance Roussell owed Roosevelt at the end of her first semester. “Yes, I will be more than happy when she can take over her car note and car insurance and those types of things,” says Althea, who admits she loved having her daughter home. Althea expects that some adjustments will have to be made in the future, since her husband, Donald is retiring in July.
While Thakor echoes the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and points out that many people of color embrace multigenerational family living, Anderson notes that African Americans often feel that they don’t have a choice. “Multigenerational living in the African American community typically indicates an inability to leave the nest. Looking at Americans in general, if we can leave, we do. When we don’t, it’s not because we want that connection with parents—it’s because we can’t leave. In other cultures, multigenerational living is more the norm.”
Thakor says that in her experience, most boomerangers stay with family for roughly six to 18 months. If the stay lasts longer than three years, there’s a problem, Thakor believes. Either the person isn’t trying hard enough to find a job, or he or she may be financially irresponsible. “If in three years as an adult you’re still holding on to the life preserver of extended family, there are some other issues at play,” she suggests. She adds, however, that some circumstances, such as the need for childcare, give boomerangers good reasons to remain home longer.
(Continued on page 6)