In the midst of a financial crisis, many people end up moving back in with family members – typically parents or in-laws. But, coming home again can be incredibly difficult, especially if you’ve lived on your own for quite some time or don’t get along well with your family. Here are a few tips for coping when you move back in with your family members.
1. Clearly set your expectations ahead of time.
Whether moving back in with family members was something you carefully planned out ahead of time or it’s a desperate reaction to a current financial crisis, take the time to set out expectations – and limitations – before you move in together. Consider questions like:
How will you divide the bills? Is there an expectation that you will help pay some of the bills or even help take care of rent while living with your family member, or will you live rent-free while saving up money to move back into your own home again? If job loss has caused you to move back in with family members, will you contribute more to the bills once you have a new job?
Who will take care of specific chores? Be clear about reasonable expectations for chores to help avoid conflict down the road.
Will you have your own space in the home? Some families are lucky enough to be able to divide the home into reasonable living quarters for everyone. In other homes, you may have only a bedroom to call your own. Clearly designate what space is “yours” and how you will handle visitors to that space. You may want the freedom to have private time with your spouse or time with your own children, and your parents may want time to themselves, as well. Set out the “rules” ahead of time so that everyone knows what to expect and how to handle it.
How will you handle discipline of your children? Will your parents or in-laws help with childcare? Set your expectations for how relatives will deal directly with your children, including what childcare they’re willing to provide and how much you’re willing to allow them to discipline your children. Clear expectations can help avoid misunderstandings down the road.
Do your family members have expectations for how you will manage your budget? Your family members may want you to set aside a specific portion of your paycheck or avoid big purchases while living with them to facilitate getting out and into your own place sooner. Make sure you establish any expectations up front to avoid uncomfortable clashes in the future. You may feel strongly about dealing with your own money, but if you don’t clearly set that boundary ahead of time, your parents or in-laws could feel the need to comment on your spending.
2. Establish clear financial goals.
You don’t want to have to live with family members forever. Establish clear financial goals for yourself, including a deadline for when you would like to move back out. Evaluate how much you need to have set aside in savings in order to make a move feasible, and create a plan that will help you do exactly that. With discipline, you may better position yourself to move out faster.
3. Focus on the positives.
Moving in with family members can be emotionally draining, especially if you feel ashamed of your financial situation or are struggling to find a new job on top of handling the current situation. Focus on the positives! Living with family members can:
- Help alleviate financial burdens for both of you
- Allow you to keep a closer eye on aging parents and provide assistance as they need it
- Provide you with a little help with childcare
- Bring about a deeper sense of connection with your family members
Moving back in with family can be difficult. With these strategies, however, you can prepare ahead of time and make the experience easier for everyone to manage. Consistent boundaries and clear plans can make it easier to cope during this time.