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Author Topic: S/O SS mom . . . having "The Talk" about rent, etc.  (Read 7968 times)

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S/O SS mom . . . having "The Talk" about rent, etc.
« on: July 30, 2013, 08:10:12 PM »
Once your child, who lives with you, finally finishes school and achieves their goals with a full time job, how do you broach the subject of "It's time for you to get off of the gravy train and start paying your own way?"

How long do you wait before having this discussion?

How much rent do you charge? Do you charge rent?

How do you broach the subject . . . "WooHoo! You have a full-time job now! I'm so proud of you. Return my credit card that you've been using, you'll now have to pay for your own gas. All of your expenses (clothes, etc.) are now your responsibility. By the way, car insurance is due in 2 weeks, you owe me Xdollars for that. And I think that you should start paying rent. Welcome to the real world!" . . . all of that sounds like a really cold damper on the "I'm proud of your achievement" aspect.

BG: DD#2 is 19 years old. She's always been a responsible person. She does her chores without complaint (very few of which are paid for) has done some volunteer/charity work, has excelled in school, and other than babysitting/lawn mowing has never had a "real" job.

She's had a credit card on my account since she was 16 for emergency purposes (and gas) only. She's never abused this privilege.

I've paid for the car/maintenance/insurance/gas due to transportation for school only. (I also pay for DD#1's Upass & transportation while she's in school, if that matters any.) /end BG.

DD#2 came home the other day and said "Guess what? I filled the car with gas using my own money! AND I went grocery shopping and bought myself lunch stuff because bringing my lunch is a whole lot cheaper than going out every day."

Yeah, I don't know why, but I was pretty impressed with that.

I know that it's time to have "The Talk" and am wondering if I should charge her rent . . . I think that asking her to foot the bill for car insurance/maintenance is not out of line at all.

How did you handle this situation? What did your parents say to you? How do you think you would handle this quandry with your own kids? (edited to make more sense.)

Any thoughts would be appreciated. It's a new stepping stone in my life and I'm not sure what to do.

Thanks in advance.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2013, 08:23:17 PM by jpcher »


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Re: S/O SS mom . . . having "The Talk" about rent, etc.
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2013, 08:30:21 PM »
First of all, congrats to you for doing such a good job raising her, and to your DD for finishing school, getting a job, etc.

I lived at home until I was 30, but only paid rent for part of the time.  When I first graduated from college, and living back at home, my parents didn't charge me rent, initially. but in my case, I commuted into NYC, for an entry-level job, which paid not a whole lot. So anything I could have paid them in rent, went to my monthly bus pass. that being said, I had certain chores I was expected to do, and I was also responsible for any phone calls on the bill (didn't make sense for me to get my own phone line as I didn't make that many, and this was way before bundled plans, so you paid for LD separately) I also paid for my own groceries, i.e. stuff for lunches, and would chip in for other things.

I do know that fall, my car insurance was due. My mom said sign this (the title), give me $5, the car is now yours, so you are now responsible for the insurance, gas, and maintenance. I had the car at school my sr. year, and my parents paid for about $10 in gas a month (back in the late 80's when it was under a dollar a gallon) and would pay for it when I drove back and forth. Anything else, was on me.

After I left that job, and was working locally, I want to say they charged me about $200 a month. I still had chores, etc. and nothing else changed. I paid rent until I could afford to move out on my own, aside from a short time when I had gone back to school, and hours at my temp job were cut to PT. they "suspended" the rent for that time.

Sorry that was so long winded, but my advice would be to figure out what she might pay living on her own, or with roommates, and charge a portion of that. I can't say a specific amount not knowing where you live, and what rents might be. And also set some ground rules. Chores you seem to have covered. But I know for me, my parents dind't mind if i wasn't home for dinner, as long as I let them know.

As for the other stuff, even though she's working, it may take time to save up, and if she has loans from school, etc. she may not have that much disposable income. I'd say for anything else, play it by ear initially, see how things go, and go from there. I know my parents did hlep me out several times with some car repairs, since i simply didn't have the $$, but i always paid them back. no matter how long it took.


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Re: S/O SS mom . . . having "The Talk" about rent, etc.
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2013, 08:34:18 PM »
I started working at 15, so take this with a grain of salt.

When I was 16 my mom sat me down with a budget and we looked at my paychecks coming in and what was being paid for on my behalf.  Eventually, I started to chip in towards my portion of the car insurance, a small portion of the cell phone bill, I paid for my own gas in my car, but my parents would chip in if they asked me to do a lot of driving for my brothers.  By the time I moved away for college, I was ready to live on my own.

Now I live with my Aunt and Grandfather. I don't pay rent, but I do chip in for household maintenance.  Me and my aunt alternate months where we pay for the cell phone bill.  I also pay $500 a month to help with the mortgage and utilities. If my aunt doesn't need it all she will give it back to me.  We all chip in for groceries pretty equally.  My grandfather uses my car mostly, so he helps to keep the tank full.


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Re: S/O SS mom . . . having "The Talk" about rent, etc.
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2013, 08:52:39 PM »
While I was in undergrad - my parents took care of my phone bill until my junior year, and car insurance until then too.  I paid my own rent/utilities (in the summers - I lived on campus during the school year).  But my parents had sat me down when I was oh, 13/14 or so and taught me how to budget, balance a checkbook, all of that.  I worked part time the entire time I was in school so when my parents were having some financial difficulties they took me off the family plan (phone) and took me to go get my own car insurance.

I moved back in with them for a bit while I was getting residency for my Master's program.  They charged me rent - it was $200 a month, but I was paying all of my own bills (car, payment, car insurance, phone bill - I did not have a credit card in use at that time) and saving for the move to a different city and school.  If I hadn't been preparing for graduate school I'm sure it would have been closer to $400/month.  However, they didn't charge me for groceries/utilities while I lived with them.  (I was working as a server at that point making $25-$30/hour.  I never complained about having to pay rent because having an extra person to feed/pay utilities in a house makes the living expenses go way up.  They were doing me a favor by letting me stay with them for much cheaper rent than getting a $400 apartment on my own but having to pay for internet, electricity, and all that jazz.

When I was discussing schools with my Mom, we talked at length about what I would contribute if I moved back in.  It was a very interesting time in our relationship because not only had I gotten used to the freedom of living by my own rules, so had my parents!

My ex-bf's parents did not charge him rent while he lived with them.  Though, he did not have a job at the time, so that made more sense.  I remember his mom telling me that she had considered charging him rent but putting it in a separate bank account to return to him at some point when he decided to move out.  Kind of a "here's the money to help set up your apartment/move" type idea. 


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Re: S/O SS mom . . . having "The Talk" about rent, etc.
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2013, 09:26:12 PM »
I think my mom started when I was five.

Anytime I wanted something that I wasn't allowed, I was told "When you are 18 and move out you can have all the cats/chocolate/late nights/sparkly shoes etc.. that you want."

So when I was 18, I moved out. And, as each of my sisters turned 18 they moved out too. (Two of us to university and one to travelling, all pretty much self funded).

While it was never discussed, I knew that if I had stayed at home, I would have stayed as an adult and would be expected to be a contributing household member at an adult level. I did move in with other family members for brief periods while I working (I was in a program with 4 months university/ 4 months work in my field. Repeat until you get a degree. I moved a LOT) but I always paid rent.

It sounds like without discussing this outright with your daughter, she has absorbed some of this from you as she is already contributing more.

Could you sit down with her and ask what she thinks she should be responsible for now, in 3 months, in six months? You may find you are on the same page.

One thing I have heard several parents do is charge a fairly close to market rent to their child and then bank all/most of those payments and give the cash back to their children when they move out to form a down payment or few months rent or just a security cushion. I always thought that sounded like a good compromise as the young adult leaves the nest.


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Re: S/O SS mom . . . having "The Talk" about rent, etc.
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2013, 09:37:46 PM »
The agreement at my mom's house, after I graduated high school was:

-If I was ether working full time, going to school full time, or any combination thereof, I would be allowed to stay rent-free. Otherwise I would be required to pay rent. (We never got to that point)

-I maintained my own checking account and paid for my clothes, gas, car maintenance, etc. I was allowed to eat food that my mom bought, and she bought toilet paper/misc household stuff/etc. This was definitely not a shock to me and I never saw it as a big deal.

-I was expected to keep my space clean and contribute to the chores. Personally, I would have preferred to have a set chore list rather than an arbitrary "By the way, I want the whole house vacuumed. Tonight."

-I was allowed to stay on my parents' phone plan as long as I accepted the low texting/data limits. If I wanted a better plan, different provider, etc I was welcome to pay for it myself.

If/when I'm in the same situation with my DS, my rules will look something like that. I think it's fair.

I personally wouldn't want to charge my child rent unless there were extenuating circumstances (I really needed the money, or the child was a lazy layabout with no motivation, etc) but I definitely do not blame parents who do. I have also heard of some parents charging the adult child rent and putting that money in a separate savings account, and giving that money as a gift to the child upon getting married/buying a home/other big life event. I would consider doing that and it does sound like a nice idea. I just doubt I would feel right enriching my finances at the expense of my just-getting-started-in-life young adult child.

(I believe I'm close in age to your daughters, BTW.)
« Last Edit: July 30, 2013, 09:39:53 PM by CakeBeret »
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Re: S/O SS mom . . . having "The Talk" about rent, etc.
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2013, 10:08:43 PM »
I think I would start with having her get her own credit card and take away the one from your account.  This will also help her establish credit under her own name for when she does move out.

I would also probably pay the insurance once last time, but let her know the amount and that in 6 months she'll be responsible for the next payment.


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Re: S/O SS mom . . . having "The Talk" about rent, etc.
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2013, 10:19:36 PM »
My sister and I are in our 20s, we both have an emergency credit card that my parents cover, but we don't use it except when my mom asks us to pick something up for her.  I live with my parents and I do not pay rent.  This is a cultural thing for them - as far as they are concerned, even if I had a full time job, if I want to live at home, I get to stay there rent free as long as I'm not married.  It is true, however, that if money was an issue for them, I would want to pitch in and pay rent. 

To be honest, I think as long as you are instilling the concepts of budgeting, saving, and responsible spending, rent is not something you have to get from your DD in order to help her grow up.  If you want her to transition to a more independent life, why not ask her about her long term plans and talk about whether she sees herself living on her own soon and help her make a plan to achieve that?  If you absolutely do want her to pay rent, I'd just be straightforward about it. 

"Let's sit down and chat.  I'm glad that you are getting established and have your own income now.  Now that you are 19 and have a job, our parent - child relationship is going to start changing.  I'm still your mom, you're still my kid, but if you are staying here, we'll also be like two adults who are sharing a house.  You being an adult in the house means we have to start dividing up responsibilities around the house and talk about paying rent.  I know you are just starting out, so we can talk about what you can afford or if you'd prefer to look for a place of your own.  What do you think about that?"   


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Re: S/O SS mom . . . having "The Talk" about rent, etc.
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2013, 10:21:14 PM »
I would approach her and ask how much she thinks she sold contribute to each of the bills and when that's going to happen (e.g. maybe all her own food and gas this month, insurance etc in two months, $X amount toward rent in four months). If she comes up with a plan that works for you, then you can both be happy with it, and she won't feel like you're being hard on her or anything.


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Re: S/O SS mom . . . having "The Talk" about rent, etc.
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2013, 10:46:00 PM »
The most well adjusted and financially responsible people I know were charged rent/board at home. Not enough for their parents to make a profit on, but just a contribution to the cost of running the household.

If a young person is living paycheck to paycheck, buying new clothes, going out clubbing every weekend, and not having to worry about rent, food, bills etc until they move out of home, it's going to be very hard to adjust to "the real world". (not saying your daughter is like this at all, but to go from nearly 100% disposable income to nearly none is hard for anyone).

I also know some parents who saved the rent they collected from their children to give to them to put towards their first home.


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Re: S/O SS mom . . . having "The Talk" about rent, etc.
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2013, 10:11:39 AM »
She has a full time this what she is going to be doing for the foreseeable future?

I think you should sit her down and say now that she has finished schooling and has a full time job and is an adult, you want to talk to her about plans for the future. 

Talk about:
Budgeting:  What have you been paying for? What do you expect her to pay for now?   Make a budget for her that includes all the things you are paying for so she can start to see what she is expected to pay for (rent, health insurance, car insurance, prescriptions, food, car, car maintenance, vacation, gas, phone, internet, heat, water, garbage, electric, clothes, entertainment etc)  Right now these things are magically there.  What should she be saving for (deposit on apt., car)?
For example, you might say that you don't want to charge her rent so she can save.  Will she save? If you don't think so, charge rent and then give it back to her if you wish.

Chores:  Make a chore list and have family members choose what chores they want to do on a regular basis. Beware of the "I have to work, I don't have time for chores"  :-) 

Food: Who buys it? Who cooks it?  What days is she expected to cook?

Car: Whose car is it? Who does maintenance?

Vacations: Does she expect to be able to go on your vacations?


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Re: S/O SS mom . . . having "The Talk" about rent, etc.
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2013, 10:17:45 AM »
I like the idea of breaking the expenses down for her and showing how much money it takes to run a household, and what portion of it is spent on her. Maybe you could phrase it as, now that you've met goals X and Y, you can shift your focus to a new goal, learning how to run a household (budgeting, etc.). It's great that she's so responsible already, so you're not doing this as a punishment or to rein her excesses in, so maybe just treat it like another learning opportunity. In a sense it's something great that she gets to do--as she gains more responsibility for herself, she also has more freedom to make her own choices. You could do other things like helping her to find and keep track of coupons, figure out when something is a good deal or not, etc. (if you haven't already).

Then once you've established a baseline of household expenses with her, she'll have a better sense of what she's contributing, and how she can increase that. I think it's a good idea for her to have a credit card in her own name, that she pays off every month, to establish good credit. There may be other expenses (like the car) that you think are reasonable for her to take on, but since there hasn't been a problem so far, I would work with her to make sure she can actually afford to pay what you ask. It would be kind of silly to ask her to pay so much that she goes into debt or can't save anything, you know? If she's salaried, see what her actual take-home pay is and break that down with her so she can save $X, have $Y to spend freely, and $Z to contribute to the household. I would let her decide the amounts, with you just guiding her as to what's reasonable, and leave open the possibility of adjusting the amounts as time passes. Again, since there hasn't been a problem yet, you can probably afford to be flexible with her, instead of saying, "It's $X or you're out," you know?

I don't know that she needs to pay rent, like in a moral sense. She should contribute to the household in a way that you both think is fair, but it doesn't necessarily have to be a check for "rent" every month. See what her long-term goals are and go with that--if she really wants to save money up for something, maybe she could do a lot more chores and errands for you instead of paying you money. Or if she's pressed for time, maybe she'd rather hand you cash, and have more time for herself. I think the important thing is to be clear about what is expected and make sure you both find it reasonable, and that you are open to adjustments--like meet every three months specifically to talk about the agreement again. Hopefully that will prevent resentment from building up on one side or the other.

I like bopper's questions. I would suggest you give her a list of considerations to think about beforehand, saying, "Let's talk about this on Saturday morning," or something like that. That will give her time to prepare--if The Talk is uncomfortable sometimes, it's even more uncomfortable to have it on the spot when you haven't been thinking about those things.


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Re: S/O SS mom . . . having "The Talk" about rent, etc.
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2013, 10:39:42 AM »
I definitely think she should be paying for all her own personal expenses; car, clothes, lunches, phone, etc.

I would also sit down with her and ask what her long term plans are. Does she see herself moving out of the house in the near future or is she content to continue to live with you?

Based on her answers you can gauge how to move forward. If she plans on moving out in the next year I would encourage her to start looking into getting her own cell phone plan and car insurance as well as looking into rent costs. Show her how to work up a monthly budget.

If she plans on living at home for the foreseeable future I would have her pay rent but I would set it aside in a savings account that way when she does move out she a little cushion. 

I don't think it's at all raining on her parade to make her foot the bill for her own expenses. You can even say to her "I'm so proud of you that at 19 you have a career and are able to live as an independent adult!" Let's sit down and go over your expenses and how you can start paying for them on your own." I'll help you set up a budget that way when you get your own place you'll know how to make your finances work. Have you you thought about moving out on your own?"

Then depending on her answers you can move forward from there.

Good luck and congrats on raising such a great kid!


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Re: S/O SS mom . . . having "The Talk" about rent, etc.
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2013, 11:13:09 AM »
We had this situation with our DD - but we got a break, since we had to move out of state and basically left her with the house. While she was still at home, we paid her cell phone, she did her chores, and she paid for her own car/insurance. We told her shortly after she graduated that we'd pay her cell phone while she was in school, and that the house wouldn't be sold until she wasn't willing to live there anymore or until she decided if she wanted to buy it from us.

Now, she pays a fixed amount (just under the amount of the mortgage) and all her utilities. We pay for her health insurance and cell phone, and the alarm system on the house. She and her roommates have the bills divided up amongst themselves.


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Re: S/O SS mom . . . having "The Talk" about rent, etc.
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2013, 11:30:08 AM »
An option I haven't seen suggested is charge monthly rent, but refund it when they move out.

My parents paid my tuition and rent though four years of college. I got a $600 stipend for living expenses from them which I used to pay for utilities, groceries, transportation, etc. - everything that wasn't rent. I also earned about $600/month at a part time on campus job which I used to pay for entertainment and put towards savings. When I graduated, my mother helped me buy a car as a sort of graduation present (she paid 2/3 of the up front cost, I paid 1/3 plus the insurance).

As of right now I am in grad school and my mother elected to give me a small amount of money each month so that things aren't so tight (I make a bit less than an entry level salary as a grad student, though I do get full benefits).