Since the economic collapse in 2008, many adult children and grandchildren have moved in with their parents and grandparents in order to receive financial support.
This additional financial responsibility is coming at an especially sensitive time – just as many seniors are coming into their retirement years. Many of these adult dependents are in long-term unemployment or underemployment situations and many have moved back home with families that they are unable to support.
If you find yourself in this situation, the kinds of decisions you make can significantly affect your retirement.
Here are some ways your adult children or grandchildren living at home can impact your retirement:
First: A Potential Upside
In the subsequent sections, we will take a look at some of the negative consequences of adult children living at home during your retirement, but first let’s look at some potential positives.
If your adult children are hardworking and helpful, having them at home during your retirement years could be an overall good experience. Chores which may be more difficult in your senior years - such as taking out the trash, lawn care and shoveling snow – could be handled by your kids.
Additionally, if they help out with buy chipping in on groceries, making runs to the supermarket and drugstore, and doing other chores, you could find yourself with more time on your hands to do the kinds of things which are important to you.
Finally, if you have a good relationship with your children, having them around may give you a real sense of being close to what’s most important in your golden years.
Second: The Financial Toll
The most obvious way that you will be affected by your adult children living at home during your retirement years is the toll it will take on your pocketbook.
Retirees will likely find themselves making extra food purchases, buying more gas for the car and making other small incremental purchases as the children consume household resources. These kinds of purchases could amount to a minor annoyance, or add up to major sums, depending on the number or children living with you and how much they contribute to the household purchases.
The financial toll can be significantly higher if your children beseech you for cash or expect you to cover clothing purchases or lifestyle expenditures such as going out on the town or going on trips.
Third: Relationships May Be Strained
Most retirees think of their golden years as being relatively stress free – years in which they can dote on grandchildren and take it easy.
But with adult children living in the home, these years could easily become filled with stress.
It is reasonable to feel some disappointment that your adult children found it necessary to move back home. But there may be cases in which you do not approve of their choices – perhaps they don’t seem to be seeking work diligently enough, or maybe you disagree with their personal decisions.
These kinds of disagreements can sour relationships and leave you with negative feelings toward your kids.
Fourth: Your Credit May Be Affected
Adult children trying to get back on their feet may ask you to cosign for all manner of loans, especially if they have damaged credit.
After cosigning for credit cards, auto loans, or personal loans, you may find that your children have not been able to pay or have simply neglected to pay.
This can affect your credit going into your retirement and affect your ability to get the credit you need in order to make some of the purchases which would help fulfill your dreams for your retirement.
Fifth: Moving May Become More Difficult
If you have adult children living with you, it may be difficult to move.
If you had been planning to downsize your home, move to another city or state or even try living in another country, it may not be possible if you have taken on the responsibility of caring for your adult children.
This can be more than just shattered dreams. It can also prevent you from saving money by downsizing your home.
Sixth: Your Time May Not Be Your Own
Instead of spending your time doing the kinds of things you would like to do, you may find yourself playing babysitter to your grandkids while your children are out and about.
Of course, all grandparents cherish time with their grandchildren, but you may not have expected to be pinned down watching the grandkids while your children are at work or out on the town.
Once again, this could be a source of quiet resentment which could sour relationships and rob you of the time you had planned to spend on your own personal pursuits.