Responsible Adulthood

Question: Dear Luise: I am living with my Mom, who is a single parent, and I have recently finished school and gotten a job. She is willing to have me continue to live at home without paying anything toward monthly expenses…but I want to be responsible. She’s reluctantly agreed to have me take this step but I really don’t know how to decide what to pay her. She says it’s up to me. I’m not making much yet, so I know it needs to work for both of us. Any ideas? Nancy L.

Answer: Dear Nancy: How wonderful that you are willing to take your adult status seriously. This is often a pretty touchy subject for both the parent who needs to start seeing a dependent child in a new light, and the young adult who is moving beyond child status. Good for you for addressing it.

There are several ways to go about creating an equitable plan. You can talk with friends who are still living at home after becoming financially responsible. What have they set as the going rate? Are there other people living with your Mom or are you it? If there are just the two of you, another way to look at it is to ask your Mom to let you know what her monthly food costs are plus her rent and utilities. If more than one person is living with her, pro-rate the costs accordingly instead of splitting them half and half.

Taking your income into consideration it’s very important to face reality. Does your Mom live in an expensive home that is presently beyond your means? If that’s the case, look in the paper to see what it would cost you to share an apartment or home in a less plush neighborhood. Not the bottom rung of the ladder, but something you would realistically be able to take on if you didn’t have the opportunity to remain at home with her. That figure might be what would work best.

See this as a research project and approach it like an assignment. When your Mom gets her figures together, and you get yours, have a summit conference and decide on what would work.

And just a word for your Mom here, it sounds like you have done a great job raising this young woman! Blessings, Luise

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