The money that I would have been spending on rent is going toward my business so that's been a big help.
Inside a red rambler in Orem, over a dog gate, down the hall and to the left is a room with three laptops balanced on an office desk that would have been crowded with two. A makeshift sign bearing the company's name, Guest eXperience Marketing, marks this small room as the base of operations for Reese Briggs' budding business.
Dressed sharply in a white shirt, green-striped-and-gray dress pants and wearing thin-rimmed glasses, Briggs looks like your typical budding business student. With two jobs, a full-time class load at school, a girlfriend and a recently launched business consulting company, this 22-year-old exceeds most people's expectations of what it takes to be a responsible adult. However, one aspect of his life carries with it some negative connotations.
He can't help but smile as he describes his company — how he would like for it to be more professional, how his business partner feels free to walk in and out of the home in which his company is based, and how, depending on when his partner shows up, he just might bump into Briggs' parents who are getting ready for work.
That's because Briggs lives at home with his parents.
While Briggs admits he has had to make some lifestyle adjustments, he acknowledges living at home with his parents has allowed him opportunities he would not have had otherwise.
"The money that I would have been spending on rent is going toward my business so that's been a big help," Briggs said.
Briggs represents a growing demographic of adults 18 to 34 who, often for economic reasons, have moved back in with mom and dad. Recent census data shows an increase in adults in this age bracket who are living with their parents.
While many point to the recession as the cause of this mass migration home, Rose Kreider, a family demographer with the fertility and family statistics branch of the U.S. Census Bureau, says the data show little correlation between the two. Other factors may be increased housing costs, the later age of marrying or entering into a long-term committed relationship and the rising costs of education, Kreider says.
The number of adult children living at home has been on the rise since 2000, according to the census data. Men 25 to 34 who are living at home rose from 14 percent in 2005 to 19 percent in 2011, while women of the same age went from 8 percent in 2005 to 10 percent in 2011.
Christina Newberry, author of "The Hands-on Guide to Surviving Adult Children Living at Home," said some college graduates opt out of independent living because they lack experience to succeed in the workforce. This makes minimum-wage jobs and unpaid internships all the more appealing, but with lower wages some have little choice but to move home.
Ted Tuttle, 24, moved in with his parents as a matter of convenience: he had three classes at Brigham Young University in Salt Lake and only one in Provo, so his parents' home in Cottonwood Heights turned out to be an ideal home base. It also allowed him to save money since he did not have to pay rent and to spend time with his younger siblings who were still living at home. He said his parents were "thrilled" at his decision to move home, something that made his transition easier.
"I didn't want to impose on them," Tuttle said. "The fact that they were welcoming to me helped a lot with my situation."
Tuttle graduated this semester and will soon leave his parents' home for a job in Texas.
Although still a college student, Briggs has also benefited from living with his parents. His father, Milton Briggs, said he and his wife were "ecstatic" when they found out their son was moving home. Since they both work full-time, he saw this as an opportunity to get to know his son as an adult and provide a stable environment for him to develop and make important life choices.
"We're trying to help him get established on his own," Milton Briggs said. "I felt like it made it so he could springboard from a safe place."
However, he admits their situation has been ideal because their son is responsible and they knew from the start that this would be a temporary situation.
From Baby Boomers on, Americans have enjoyed decades of economic prosperity and ultimately gave birth to what Katherine Newman, author of "The Accordion Family: Boomerang Kids, Anxious Parents and the Private Toll of Global Competition," calls the non-married independent adult. Whereas in the past adults generally launched from their parents' homes to their own marriages and families, economic conditions over the past few decades have allowed people to establish themselves autonomously.
According to Newman, the interim decades of prosperity have caused parents to be ill-equipped to deal with adult children living at home, simply because they have not had any experience.
The increase of young men moving home has been particularly pronounced — up 2.2 percent just over the last year — raising questions about the long-term effect this will have on society.
Newman suggests the United States is mirroring trends in both Japan and Europe, where young adults have been moving back home for some time. But she worries that because this is a relatively new phenomenon in the U.S., it's catching parents unaware, and that instead of saving for retirement, as they may have planned, they're still shelling out money to support children they thought would be self sufficient by now.
Newberry, on the other hand, thinks people will adjust as this trend becomes more common. However, she does see an immediate short-term financial consequence when parents take on debt to support their children who have moved home. To avoid this, she says parents should set ground rules before the adult child moves back home, even writing those rules down. Rules should include expected financial and other contributions parents expect from their kids. Once expectations are clear all parties will have a reference point when inevitable conflict ensues, Newberry says.
She further cautions parents and adult children alike to make sure the situation is temporary and there is an ultimate goal in mind of launching the child into society.
"For the parents, their most important role once the adult child has moved back in the house is getting them back out of the house," Newman said.
Setting ground rules was the key to success for the Briggs family. Reese Briggs said while he was considering his parents' home as an option, he made sure his parents knew he was coming home as a renter, not a son. Because of this, Briggs pays rent and helps out around the house. Milton Briggs said in addition to treating his son as an adult, he and his wife have found success in realizing they would need to adjust to their son's schedule.
"They are not going to have a lifestyle that is similar or complementary to the parents,'" Briggs said. "They have to be free to be young adults."
As for Reese Briggs, who will probably be living on his own within the next year, he admits he has had to be flexible in order to live with his parents, but overall sees his time at his parents' as an opportunity for stability.
Newberry sees this attitude as being vital to living at home.
"They actually are doing you a favor…" she says. "Keep that in mind in your interactions with them."
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