Escaping the Boomerang Life

If tough times have forced you to fly back to your parents' nest, take heart. B.W. shows you how you can fly back out�for good.

Tips for Getting Out of the Nest

1. Develop a budget and live below your means. If you’re spending more than you earn, the only way you can make up the difference is through debt. If you have to borrow money to make ends meet, the odds of being stuck in a boomerang situation are high. “It’s the single biggest mistake I see people make,” Thakor says.

2 Commit to a financial plan. You must develop a financial plan and stick to it in order to achieve financial independence. Just wanting a financial plan isn’t enough; you must put that plan in writing—and then into action.

3 Don’t copy someone else’s poor financial habits. It’s human nature to compare yourself with others, says Thakor. “But what other people are doing in America is living beyond their means through debt,” she warns.

4 Don’t expect to live like your parents right out of school. Most parents lived very humbly during the early years of their marriage and built their wealth over time. “Now we expect to live at the same standards that it took our parents 20 or 30 years to achieve. We want it 20 or 30 days after graduation,” Thakor says.

Tips for Parents: Keeping Your Finances Intact While Supporting a Loved One

Put all your cards on the table from day one. If you know clearly what moving in will cost, you must determine what your adult child is going to contribute, advises Anderson. “There needs to be some type of conversation to address the situation and come up with solutions.”

Don’t offer your child a bailout in the form of a reverse mortgage or cosigned loan. Encourage your adult children to seek financial help through organizations such as Consumer Credit Counseling Service (, which can help them with basic budgeting and credit management. “Too often parents offer more support than they can afford. Helping your adult children to help themselves will build upon their life skills and help them to rebound financially and not repeat the same mistakes,” Marie offers.

Don’t dip into your retirement account. It’s one of the worst things a parent can do. Retirement funds accumulate over time and are difficult to replenish. Your adult children, on the other hand, have years of working ahead of them. “Sometimes the best help you can give your kids is to let them clean up their own financial mess,” Thakor advises.

Set boundaries. If you’re financially able to do so, you may consider matching a portion of what your adult child saves. “That may motivate him or her to carry their own weight and meet goals,” Marie suggests.

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