Tuesday, June 28, 2022
Family LifeShould you charge your kids rent

Should you charge your kids rent

Children are living in their family homes for much longer, helping them save money on the rising cost of living. But should you charge your kids rent?

Children at home

Kids appear to be staying in the family home much, much longer than in previous years. There are many reasons why kids are staying in the family home for longer. One big factor for this is the rising cost of living. On the other end of the scale is the fact that some kids enjoy the free ride. Who wouldn’t enjoy, a free home, free electricity, free food, free internet, free water and free laundry service? I know I sure would.

Having children is, of course, our choice. The reality is, that having kids at home costs parents money. Most parents plan for their kids to ‘flee the nest’ around the age of eighteen. This is usually the time they have completed their further education and are due to head to university. Although many kids these days are choosing not to go to university and pursuing other options allowing them to stay at home for longer.

Many kids still live with their parents, well into their adulthood and this can help them avoid spending money on rent and bills and to save for the future. But this is at the expense of their parents.

Is it time to charge your kids’ rent?

Should you charge your kids rent

It’s an old school saying “When I was your age, I paid my parents three pounds a week for board and lodgings”. The concept of paying your way in the family household isn’t something new, it has been around for many years.

Many parents these days feel guilty about asking their kids for rent, but it’s not a bad thing. It teaches kids important lessons about earning, budgeting and saving.

An Experts opinion

Will Rainey Bio Pic
Will Rainey – Bluetree Savings

Will Rainey is a writer and speaker focused on helping parents teach their kids about money. He is the author of the children’s book, Grandpa’s Fortune Fables. His work has appeared in the Financial Times, iNews and The National News.
His website, bluetreesavings.com, has helped thousands of parents start talking to their kids about money. He has been invited to speak at Fortune 500 (Global) companies.
Before starting bluetreesavings.com, Will was an award-winning investment consultant. He was providing investment advice to governments, insurance companies and some of the world’s largest pension schemes.

It’s an important topic

The biggest financial problem we have today is more than 35% of adults in the UK spend more than they earn ONS.gov.uk. This has led to a significant number of people suffering from financial stress. We need to ensure that our kids grow up with the habit of spending less than they receive. This is why it is so important that we help our kids live within their means and start saving from a young age.

Getting kids to pay towards the household helps them appreciate their ‘means’ when they eventually have to leave the family home. If kids are earning and not paying towards the household, they could get a false sense of their ‘means’ as they see their full wage as ‘disposable income’.

They might buy a nice car and get into the habit of buying nice clothes and going to pricey restaurants/bars. When they leave the family home and have lower ‘disposable income’, due to having to pay rent/bills, it can be really hard to lower their standard of living and this could lead to them using credit cards to maintain their previous lifestyle.

Part of our role as parents or guardians is to prepare our kids for the realities of the real world. Over the course of their upbringing, we should slowly pass over more responsibilities to them. This is especially true when it comes to money. As children get older, we should gradually pass on financial responsibilities to our kids so that when they become adults, they don’t get a shock and find themselves having to make very large compromises.

For some parents, you might be thinking “they need the money more than I do, so I won’t get them to pay towards to the household”. One suggestion would be to get your kids to pay you and then put this money in some savings or investment account so it goes towards a deposit for their first home. It’s a good idea not to tell them this as it will discourage them from saving themselves.

This ensures they get into the habit of spending less than they earn. We need to remember that it’s the financial habits that our kids form that determine their future financial well-being.

My daughters are only young, seven and ten. We give them pocket money but this pocket money is for a purpose. We no longer buy them toys apart from their birthday or Christmas. Any toys they want during the year, they have to use their pocket money. This teaches them to be responsible and learn to look after their money. As they get older, we’ll increase their pocket money but reduce what we buy for them.

As they get to thirteen or fourteen years old, we’ll stop buying them certain things and they’ll have to find ways to earn that money. As they get to their late teens, we’ll be asking them to pay for the household. Slowly we’ll be easing them into taking more financial responsibility and preparing them for the real world. My kids know this is coming and we have even agreed about what age is fair so there aren’t any surprises. Although they might still complain when we get there.

Charge your kids once they’re earning

Personally, I agree with Will. I like the process Will uses with his own kids to help them understand the realities of earning and budgeting. I do strongly believe though, that once your child is earning and whilst still living in the family home they should contribute to the household, maybe a set amount, maybe a percentage of their wage. Whichever works best for you and your child. It’s a good idea to talk to your child about it and make them aware that you will be asking for a contribution.

The harsh reality

The harsh reality of asking your kids to contribute to the household is that it can backfire. They won’t pay rent and they won’t contribute anything else to the household, even something simple like the odd household job, hovering, cleaning etc. It can become stressful and hostile. It’s at this point when you have to have mature conversations with your child about what your expectations are within your household and what you expect of them, whether it’s financial or otherwise. It is important that they understand the harsh consequences of the real world when they spend beyond their means and don’t contribute to living costs.

1 COMMENT

  1. I think it’s reasonable to have any adult (or older teen) that lives in your home make contributions; obviously that depends on their situation and what they are able to offer. This was an interesting breakdown of the issue; I’m sure anyone going through it finds it difficult sometimes to strike a balance.

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