You Can Go Home Again

How to cope when the economic downturn hits home

Real Problems, Real Solutions

You Can Go Home Again

How to cope when the economic downturn hits home

-Laura Weber Rossman

Moving homeIt’s not what you had planned, but suddenly you find yourself:
(a) out of work
(b) with a roommate, spouse or partner who is out of work
(c) unable to make the rent/mortgage payment
(d) no emergency fund to cushion the blow if you do get laid off

If one or all of the above apply to you, you’re looking at your options. And chances are you are thinking about whether or not you can move back home-just for a while.

My daughter floated the idea last week that she’s thinking about moving back to build some savings. She’s wondering if it will make her “look like she’s failed.” I said that it means you are being responsible and realistic about your financial situation. And it won’t be forever. That we both agreed on! And, we agreed it would require adjustments for both of us.

A colleague and her husband just moved back to her parent’s home in the Midwest. Both unemployed, going home promised to not only reduce expenses, but provide family support and a new area to look for jobs. Jobs lost, hours reduced, salaries reduced or frozen – people of all ages are finding that going home may be a way to make it through this economic downturn.

You may also find that Mom and Dad can no longer offer the financial support that helped you make ends meet on your own. A survey by the retiree-advocacy group AARP found that one-fourth of Generation Xers, those 28 to 39 years old, receive financial help from family and friends. Your parents may be facing some of the same job concerns and pressures you are and chances are their retirement savings have taken a significant hit – losing as much as 30 to 40 percent of their value. They now have to figure out how to rebuild those savings, and that may mean cutting off that monthly check to you.

So, if you need to go back home for a while, how do you make it work for everyone?

The experts say it’s all about setting rules and expectations. You don’t want to be treated like a child again; they have become used to the freedom of their “empty nest.” Both sides need to manage expectations. So here are some issues to pin down before you move:

• What chores around the house are you expected to share?
• Are there rules about your hours of coming and going?
• Are you expected to financially contribute in any way?
• How long do you expect this living situation to last?
• If you are out of work, how will you demonstrate that you are actively seeking a job?
• How do you both make sure that you respect each others space and independence?

Sharing and helping each other through difficult economic times can strengthen relationships and enrich lives. Returning home can be enriching for both children and parents with the right expectations and respect.

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