Adult Children Living at Home: How to Set Rules and Expectations

By Anna Davies · May 30, 2023 · 7 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right.

Adult Children Living at Home: How to Set Rules and Expectations

Today, it’s not uncommon for adult children to return home or never leave the nest to start with. About one in three 18- to 34-year-olds live with their parents according to recent survey data.

Moving back home can be a wise move for grown kids who may be dealing with job uncertainty, earning a low income, and/or be facing a mountain of student loan debt.

And it can wind up being a good deal for parents as well.

Some of the benefits: opportunities for companionship, the possibility of sharing household expenses, and the ability for adult children to pay down student debt and save money for longer-term financial goals (for instance, buying a house).

But living in the same household again can also bring opportunities for tension and misunderstandings.

That’s why parents who welcome their kids back may want to set a few guidelines. Here are some rules both parents and grown children might want to wrangle before moving back in under one roof.

What Is the Timeframe?

When adult children move back home, it’s helpful for both parties to have a timeframe in place, rather than the ’’foreseeable future.”

This may mean talking about why the move is happening. Is it to save money? If so, what is the money being saved for, and at what point should the child move out?

Some parents might find it helpful to set up a trial period, after which they can have a frank conversation about what is and is not working in the arrangement.

💡 Quick Tip: Banish bank fees. Open a new bank account with SoFi and you’ll pay no overdraft, minimum balance, or any monthly fees.

Going Over the Financials

Many misunderstandings from adult children living at home stem from confusion over how much money, if any, they are expected to contribute.

It can be helpful for both parties to consider their expectations before coming together and talking through them. Some issues you may want to think about and then discuss:

•   Will adult children be expected to pay rent? And if so, how much will rent cost? When will it be due? Some parents might want to set a flat rate, while others might consider a percentage of the child’s income, if that income is currently low but expected to rise.

•   Will the child be responsible for a portion of bills, groceries, or other household costs (recurring and/or discretionary expenses, as you decide)?

•   How will resources be allocated? Is the fridge open for anyone? Can the child use the family car if they need it?

•   How much will bills go up with additional usage? Parents might decide they want their child to pay for any overages, or they might be okay with handling the increase themselves.

Recommended: How to Manage Money Better

Going Over House Rules and Behavior Expectations

Some parents have a “my house, my rules” expectation. But it can sometimes be mutually beneficial if both parties talk about behavior expectations with an attitude of give and take.

Often “unspoken expectations” don’t come up until a problem occurs. Talking through them proactively can make sure that everyone is on the same page.

Some issues parents and adult kids may want to go over:

•   What are expectations for guests? Is it okay for romantic partners to sleep over? Do parents need a heads up before guests come by?

•   What are communication expectations? Should a child inform their parents if they won’t be home by a certain time?

•   What chores are expected? It’s wise to go over whether or not you expect that your child to do some of the supermarket shopping and/or clean any areas of the house beyond their living spaces. It’s perfectly acceptable to have your adult child pitch in on dinner duty, take on cleaning, or otherwise contribute to the house as an adult. Perhaps they pay for their own monthly supermarket costs.

•   What do daily schedules look like? Maybe one family member needs quiet for work meetings. Maybe another needs access to family exercise equipment or the shower in the morning? Talking through routines — from breakfast to bedtime — will set expectations and avoid misunderstandings.

•   What does privacy mean when you’re under the same roof?

Both parties may be concerned about how the new arrangement will affect their lives, and talking through those concerns can help people find solutions that work for everyone.

💡 Quick Tip: When you overdraft your checking account, you’ll likely pay a non-sufficient fund fee of, say, $35. Look into linking a savings account to your checking account as a backup to avoid that, or shop around for a bank that doesn’t charge you for overdrafting.

Helping Adult Children Achieve Financial Independence

There’s nothing like living together to get financial habits out in the open. This applies to adult children and their parents.

By keeping an open dialogue about money, however, you can help your adult children get on the right financial track (and perhaps move out sooner, rather than later).

Here are some ways you may be able to help adult children work towards financial security.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!

Talking through financial and savings goals

Instead of asking your adult child how much they have saved, or how much consumer credit card debt they have, consider asking them to talk through their short-term financial goals and long-term ones too.

Putting rent to work

Some parents who are in a position to do so may want to charge their children rent and then use that money to gift to their child for a down payment, help with tuition, or hit another financial goal.

Or, in lieu of rent, you might request that your child set up an automatic deposit into a savings account that could eventually become a security deposit on a rental or an emergency fund.

Teaching by Example

One way to encourage disclosure about your adult child’s financial picture is to talk through your own.

Talk broadly through your retirement plan, any long-term care plans, or how you hit your own financial goals (such as buying a house). This can help your child start good financial habits and build a positive money mindset.

After all, personal finance is not typically taught formally, and giving your adult child — no matter how old — some insight into the tools and strategies you use can give them ideas for how they can manage their money and cut back on expenses.

Trying Not to Nitpick

While it’s helpful to talk through your own strategies, it may not be helpful if your child feels like you’re critical of the way they are spending money.

Let’s say your adult child buys a latte every day. Sure, you can point out how much they would potentially save if they invested that money, but for the sake of the relationship, it may be easier to let certain habits go and focus on what your child is doing to work toward financial goals, such as investing in their company’s 401(k) plan or doing their taxes well in advance of tax day.

💡 Quick Tip: If you’re faced with debt and wondering which kind to pay off first, it can be smart to prioritize high-interest debt first. For many people, this means their credit card debt; rates have recently been climbing into the double-digit range, so try to eliminate that ASAP.

The Takeaway

Living under one roof may not always be easy for adult children or parents, but it comes with an opportunity for growth for everyone, as well as a closer relationship as equals.

Part of forging that relationship may involve setting some parameters early on about what is expected from grown children while they are living at home, from how much they may be expected to contribute financially to how often they can use the car.

Letting kids move back home (where they can live more affordably), and having open discussions about money, can help them not only save, but also develop good financial habits.

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.


TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender