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Study: Student Debt Not the Cause of Adult Children Living with Parents

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Replies to: Study: Student Debt Not the Cause of Adult Children Living with Parents

  • bluebayoubluebayou Registered User Posts: 23,885 Senior Member
    While both college debt and the “boomerang” phenomenon are growing, a new study casts doubt on the notion that staggering student loans are driving young adults back to their parents’ doorsteps.

    Quite frankly, I never believed the "notion" to begin with. It never made any sense to me. (Sure, it fit a certain political narrative, but that didn't make it accurate.)
  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston Registered User Posts: 9,266 Senior Member
    @bluebayou That is the narrative that the media has been hyping. Anecdotal interviews with debt ridden grads living at home because they borrowed $100,000 for a non-marketable degree, or perhaps he/she is a non-marketable person.
  • bluebayoubluebayou Registered User Posts: 23,885 Senior Member
    yeah, I get that Tom. But as any AP Stats student would know, just bcos so-called independent journalists write a fact-free human interest story using an anecdote or two doesn't make it true on a macro scale.
  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston Registered User Posts: 9,266 Senior Member
    @bluebayou But it makes for good TV ratings.
  • bluebayoubluebayou Registered User Posts: 23,885 Senior Member
    sure does! (But bad public policy.) :-)
  • toomanyteenstoomanyteens Registered User Posts: 356 Member
    Honestly I think that my generation had a much lower expectation for standard of living right out of college. My ex and I both had student debt that honestly is proportional to today's students (many of them) as far as salary goes. As much as my current husband and I (and my ex honestly) have brought our children up to have jobs, fund much of their own nice to have items and such, they all have a much different idea of how they should live.

    My ex and I had a small one bedroom apartment in a mediocre area, I worked two jobs, we had crappy cars, didn't go out, brown bagged it and had no idea people BOUGHT coffee in the morning lol. And the idea of a real vacation was insane to us.

    I am pretty certain my first job I made $17000 a year- and my student debt was $15,000. I know for a fact that my oldest children will have about $30,000 (GSLs only) and will make far more than that their first jobs out of college.
  • carolinahbrahhcarolinahbrahh Registered User Posts: 89 Junior Member
    edited January 12
    5,000 people born between 1980 and 1984, found that so-called boomerangers had less student loan debt than young adults who didn’t return home

    That doesn't contradict that having more student debt means it's more likely to boomerang. What I'd guess produced this result is that students with less debt are usually the ones that go to worse colleges (i.e. their local community college or non-competitive state school, which are very cheap). These students are usually not as motivated or gifted, so they are more likely to end up back at home. The ones that rack up mountains of debt are usually the ones that go to places like NYU, Columbia, Northwestern, Berkeley, etc. and don't get a lot of financial aid. These students are highly gifted and much more motivated, and are going to get a good-paying career after they graduate and manage the debt without having to move back with their parents. An example of this is my cousin who has $0 of student loan debt and is back at home, and me with $100K of student loan debt and I will be able to manage after I graduate in a few months.

    All else equal, however, if you take any student and increase their loan debt, it will also increase the chance that they boomerang. I think that's just something that can be drawn from general reasoning, and no study can contradict that.
  • rhandcorhandco Registered User Posts: 4,114 Senior Member
    Certainly was the case in my family. We had minimal debt for various reasons, and most of us lived at home in our twenties until we married (all siblings married by age 30).

    No one paid rent, and mom made us brown bag lunches most days. At one point, I was home from college for the summer and two siblings lived at home after college as well, so we had four cars. I was lucky to borrow one when I needed it.

    Now dad is boomeranging to us, so I guess turnabout is fair play.

    The ultimate reason for boomeranging is parents who will allow it. I know that recently in my family a 20-something move back home with her family because she lost her job and had few prospects where she lived. Frankly they wouldn't give her a thin dime unless she moved back home with them (and hopefully will move out when back on her feet).

    Any parent who doesn't want their child to boomerang should make it 100% clear that they won't allow it.
  • mom2andmom2and Registered User Posts: 1,974 Senior Member
    Meaning parents should allow their young adult children to become homeless rather than return home? How does that make any sense? Most parents on CC (not all, but most) have sustainable to comfortable lives. Why would they not allow a kid that loses a job (with some exceptions perhaps) to move home for a period of time rather than deplete their savings (if they even have any). Once I moved out, I was able to support myself continuously, but was not faced with the level of rent charged now.
  • eandesmomeandesmom Registered User Posts: 2,842 Senior Member
    edited January 23
    I think there is a rather dramatic difference between allowing a child to become homeless...than letting them figure out how to survive on their own. I absolutely agree that many expect a far higher standard of living for their first foray into the real world. Why have a crappy apartment in a less than ideal part of town, have multiple roommates, share a room, take the bus and eat top ramen if you can live at your parents for free, eat their food, save up and move into your dream house immediately, maybe never paying rent at all?

    Ok that's nice. It doesn't prepare kids how to deal with life when it throws them a curve ball. Get laid off? What then, move back home? Spouse ill? Get your parents to bail you out? I do not think we serve our children well by making things too easy. Boomerang is, to an extent, an extension of helicopter parenting.

    A little bit of struggle, a little bit of less than ideal, within reason, makes a much stronger more pragmatic adult that can roll with curve balls.

    Short term transition is one thing. Short term help in crises is another. But 24+ year olds with solid incomes living at home simply so they can save for a downpayment, going straight from mom's house to marriage, possibly keeping the parents from downsizing their home or even retiring...no. I'm not down with that. However I am in the minority. I know a lot of parents that seem to want those kids at home and therein lies part of the problem.

    I don't buy student debt as the reason at all, or at least not the primary reason. Yes of course there are horror stories and people (both parents and kids) borrowing far more than they have a hope of paying back. However, I know far far too many debt free kids kids living off of their parents post college and many of them because they won't settle for "a" job. It has to be the "perfect" first job at their target salary because they deserve it. They won't settle for the less than hip part of town for that first apartment. They don't know how to save. They don't know how to budget because no one has ever made them truly be responsible for anything besides good grades. Is debt a good idea? No, of course not. But kids that do have it, often are far more motivated to get out of it, on their own because they have to. I don't see a sense of urgency in many of these recent graduates.

    Personally I would have preferred to chew nails than even let my parents know I was struggling at all. Figuring it out was part of growing up. And I struggled at times but it never ever occurred to me to ask for help because at the end of the day, I could and did, figure it out. Crappy apartment, student loans, less than ideal and not in my field jobs and all.
  • MotherOfDragonsMotherOfDragons Registered User Posts: 3,716 Senior Member
    edited January 23
    I agree with @eandesmom , and I think there's an additional aspect-I've been super poor, and I'm not afraid of it. I loathe the idea of it, but I could do it again and survive if I had to.

    While I'm not inclined to make my kids go through that (because it sucked!) I'm also not so terrified of the idea of temporary poverty for them that it causes me to make poor choices with regards to their independence.
  • mycupofteamycupoftea Registered User Posts: 343 Member
    edited January 23
    I would bribe my debt free kids to move in with us again, but for some reason both of them prefer the hip part of town (and a plane flight away). Oh well ;)
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