Getting your adult child out of the house

Ask NJMoneyHelp

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Q. We have two kids. One is married and on his own. The other one still lives with us, and he’s 30! He does contract work and doesn’t earn a lot, but he pays us $400 a month in rent. He eats our food without contributing. We are thinking of downsizing, but this would mean our son would have to get his own place, which we don’t think he can afford. How do we do this?
— Planning

A. Your son is very fortunate to have very supportive parents. Some might argue you’ve been a little too supportive.

It sounds like it’s time to prepare him to be on his own.

As you choose to make changes in your lives, you should keep him informed of your decision, said Dawn Brown, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence.

This will give him time to prepare, and you can continue to help him by supporting him towards independence, she said.

Your son will need to start speaking to a realtor and friends who may know about apartment rentals or people who are looking to share an apartment, Brown said.

“Once he understands the prices of rentals, which will be a lot higher than what he pays you, he will hopefully realize that he will have to seek a more permanent job solution,” Brown said. “His rental cost may be lower if he can share with someone or rent a studio apartment.”

Brown said while your son only had to cover the cost of rent, and not food and utilities, he perhaps did not have the incentive to seek a more permanent job.

“Prior to his job search he may need to brush up his resume,” she said. “There may be resources at the local library where he can get help revising it for free. He should also start to network and make connections with people who may know of job openings and can point him to new opportunities.”

She recommends he check out resources such as monster.com and indeed.com, which have job listings and guidance on writing a resume.

“By telling him of your plans now and the timeframe in which you are looking to downsize, he can start the process of putting himself in the position of being independent,” she said.

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NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.