College Grads Move Back Home – Time to Reflect and Change Attitudes

posted by Nima

July 23, 2009 · Posted in General Economics 

CNNMoney.com writes College graduates move back home:

They’ve been dubbed boomerang kids and a recent poll by collegegrad.com shows that 80% of 2009 college graduates moved back in with their parents. That’s up quite a bit from recent years.

So whether kids are home for just an extended summer or until they find a job, its important to set up some guidelines before they settle in.

Consider drawing up a written agreement between you and your child. Outline a time frame as well as responsibilities, both financial and around the house. Some parents charge rent while others won’t even consider the idea. Whichever you choose, make sure to make clear exactly what the child is responsible for when it comes to other expenses like groceries.

Keep credit cards and cell phones separate. Johnny can pay for that himself. These are financial responsibilities your child needs to learn to take on.

But do consider keeping your child on your health insurance plan. If your health plan is employer-based it probably offers lower premiums than individual health insurance.

Twenty-five states give graduates the option to be covered under their parent’s policy, but state laws vary, so the age cutoff could be 24, 25 or 26. New Jersey has the highest age limit at 30. Check out the Kaiser Family foundations Web site at statehealthfactsonline.org to learn about your state’s rules.

The reality is, if your child is too old to qualify, you’ll need to find individual health insurance and decide who will pay for it.

Don’t forget about auto insurance either. If your child plans on driving the family car, your payments will go up. So figure out who is going to pay what.

The bottom line is, you don’t want to risk your own financial health. You shouldn’t feel like you’re on the hook for things you used to pay for when your child was younger.

Food and shelter for one extra person costs thousands of dollars each year. So laying everything out on the table ahead of time and establishing a plan of action is key.

…and one more thing to teach your kid above all: Live within your means. Don’t repeat this generation’s mistakes. Work hard, spend little, be frugal, save money, DO NOT use credit cards.

Attitudes are already changing accordingly. The recent Gallup poll shows In U.S., One-Third Still Set on Spending Less as New Normal:

The accompanying table displays by income the percentage of those saying their new normal is to spend more or to spend less in the years ahead, based on a combined sample of those interviewed in Gallup’s April and July surveys. While one might expect there to be differences in the impact of the recessionary economy across income groups, that is not the case. There is little substantive variation by income in the percentage saying their new normal is to spend less. Those with lower incomes are slightly more likely than higher-income Americans to say their new normal pattern is spending more, but not by much.

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This is just another symptom of the End of Consumerism. Attitudes are changing. Attitudes emerge out of ideas. And ideas are the strongest force in society, stronger than the most powerful army. To understand the long term outlook for the US economy, a thorough understanding of the power of ideas and attitudes is indispensable.

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