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Moving Back In With Your Parents at 50? It’s Happening A Bunch

moving back in with your parentsHave you ever thought about moving back in with your parents? This past weekend the LA Times published an article detailing the number of Californians age 50-64 who are doing just that. You heard that right. Middle-age adults (and their kids) living back at their parent’s home, perhaps occupying the same bedrooms they had as teenagers.

The big details of the study are this:

“For seven years through 2012, the number of Californians aged 50 to 64 who live in their parents’ homes swelled 67.6% to about 194,000, according to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development. That jump is almost exclusively the result of financial hardship caused by the recession rather than for other reasons, such as the need to care for aging parents…”

It’s not all that uncommon for adult children to live with aging parents. My aunt has been doing that for years with my now 100 yr. old grandfather, and it’s been a beautiful situation for the family. This arrangement most often happens because of a health issue or the desire for the elderly parent not to end up in a nursing home. So, parent and child come together again in a single home and the child serves as caregiver in their parent’s later years.

According to the study, these middle-age kids are moving back in with their parents because of hard economic times. They lost their jobs as the economy collapsed and are now finding it difficult convincing employers to hire them. They have exhausted their savings and simply have nowhere else to turn.

Questions on Moving Back in With Your Parents

I have all sorts of thoughts and questions after reading this news:

1. How emotionally tough must that be to approach your parents and ask for this arrangement? I’d imagine it would be very humbling.

2. There must be huge levels of frustration to moving back in with your parents. Probably feelings like being a failure or not being able to make it on your own. I think this would be especially pronounced for men who may pride themselves on being the breadwinner of the family.

3. What effect is this having on grandma and grandpa’s retirement? Are they dipping into their savings to pay for the additional monthly expenses?

4. Who sets the household rules and schedules? Is this another “You’re under my roof and I’m paying the bills, so you will do as I say” situation? I don’t think most in their 50s would like being dictated to.

5. How long are the elderly parents allowing these arrangements to last? Are the middle-age kids getting comfortable in their parent’s home again? Or are they eager to get back out on their own? Is there a deadline being set for the kids to get a job or get out?

6. Are the elderly parents bitter about helping their kids again or is this just a case of family helping family and doing what needs to be done?

7. How are the elderly parents being affected emotionally and maybe physically by their children’s stress levels?

The biggest lesson I learned from reading this is the continued need for perseverance with your finances, even when you hit your 40s. By then, many are living comfortably, with well-paying jobs, getting debt under control and accumulating investments for retirement. It could be easy to step off the gas a bit, relax and lose sight of what got you there.

We have to remember that life can change in a heartbeat. One job loss or other cataclysmic event could reverse or at least put a big dent in our financial fortunes. Staying disciplined and focused on our plan is key. It may just save us from moving back in with our parents at 50.

Questions: Has anyone experienced this scenario of moving back in with your parents? What was it like? Would you ask your elderly parents for this arrangement if in a drastic financial predicament or would your pride get in the way? Do you think your parents would accept you back at 50? What other thoughts or questions does this raise?

Image credit: Imfunny.net

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  1. I moved in w my parents four months ago w my two young children. I’m 51. It was the last thing I wanted to do. I wrestled w the idea for months. I had planned on leaving my 2nd husband and buy a house but the housing market exploded and that dream faded. Then I tried finding an apartment but that didn’t work out either. So, I went to my parents and asked to move in. It was so hard and yes, I felt like a failure. However, as it turns out it was the best move for everyone. I do pay my parents “rent” and buy groceries. I don’t have to but I always call to see if the house needs anything. The children and I have weekly chores. And we function as a unit. I had given myself a year to get my life back but my parents are in their 70s and their home is quite large. I don’t mind doing more chores or even paying to get things done around the house. But for Thai year, I’m finishing up school and enjoying the time I would not have had I gotten a place of my own. But, so far, so good.

    • Renia…Good for you for trying to get your life back together after a difficult relationship. And good for your parents for being willing to help in your time of need. That’s what families should do for one another. And it sounds like you are being responsible by doing your share and have a good plan for moving back out on your own. Sometimes life deals us these setbacks. And sometimes it’s difficult to ask for help. But you have two young kids that need stability and right now, your parents are offering that. Best of luck moving forward!

  2. Marvin Mclaughlin says

    My wife has a completely healthy 61 year old daughter who has never held down a job more than a year or two. She has acted like a teenager all her life, going where she wants and doing what she wants as long it doesn’t have any work assonated with it. She has freeloaded off her own daughter and her husband for 3 years, then six years off of a cousin of hers, now she has moved in with my wife and me. You can call her an professional free loader. My wife and I have been married 32 years but having her daughter living with us has me considering divorce. I can’t take it anymore. Add to freeloader, also a liar. Does any body have any idea’s. we are both in out late 70’s.

  3. My situation is worst of all. I’ve never been able to live away from home. I tried going to University but couldn’t cope with settling in with the life or the course (Law) which was far too difficult for me. In the end I had a breakdown at the end of the second year and had to come back home. That was 30 years ago. I still have mental issues.

  4. Kirsten,

    I’m so sorry for all you’ve had to endure. FYI my mom was very abusive growing up as well. She quickly became abusive again the 17 days I lived there, verbally AND physically. I had to move out and find an emergency place to live. I’m stuck in a semi-furnished basement apartment. It’s old, it’s not nice. I had to clean the heck out of it to make it liveable. All my stuff’s still in storage. Yep, now I’m totally on my own and it is SCARY!!

    One thing the author of this article (and readers) need to remember is there is a HUGE difference between not saving enough for emergencies (up to one year’s worth of bills/emergencies etc.) and being diagnosed with a long-term, chronic, incurable life-long illness. It’s all fun and games until the latter strikes.

    I can’t stress it enough that I had more savings than most people I know. That “1 to 2 year buffer” goes FAST that first one to two years, especially when you are very sick and have very little family (if any) to help. The 2nd point I want to stress is that NOBODY can rely on SSDI or SSI to be approved quickly. It took THREE YEARS the first time I was looked at and/or approved for disability (for my same illness) about 15 years ago. This time around, I’ve been waiting a year. Luckily I had opted for short-term and long-term Disability coverage through my employer. Anyone who doesn’t pay into short and long term Disability through an employer (and it is offered to them) is skating on very, very thin ice.

    When life-long debilitating, incurable chronic illnesses occur people can and do often wake up with them one day. The tests begin, and the horror starts to set in your life will never be the same. My point is, unless someone’s a millionaire, Disability is going to be a very tough go. It will drain your best resources and fast.

    Anyone who’s healthy: I’d recommend discussing a health disaster contingency plan with your family and/or closest relatives BEFORE disaster strikes. Either way you can bet your quality of life and standard of living is going to tank, hard.

    “Anyone who starts planning in their 20s to save and reduce debt should have enough saved/invested by 50 to cover themselves for at least a year. That would at least give them a buffer zone to find some type of income stream to see them through the tough time. – See more at: https://luke1428.com/moving-back-in-with-your-parents-at-50-its-happening-a-bunch/#sthash.LSPzhaIx.dpuf

    The above statement is correct, but remember that first year of using your buffer is going to go fast, especially if your illness is incurable and you’re SIMPLY TOO SICK TO WORK. Also, it’s not going to help much if and when you need Social Security. It can takes years for SS to view your case and they deny 60% of cases on the 1st and 2nd look, causing Appeals to have to be filed, thus extending your case approval even further. The Disability system is horribly broken. Just look at Disability suicide statistics. Alot of people have nobody to help them and they wind up killing themselves. It’s really a disgusting system that has zero regard for human life.

    My saving grace for the moment was that I had a home with equity, so I was able to sell it for a small nest egg. And no, I couldn’t afford to stay in it and keep up repairs and a mortgage (it was an older home), on Disability. Because Disability is stupid low pay.

    -Stepping off my soapbox now. Just wanted to add other angles to the whole “make sure you save” debate.

  5. when I was married we lost our house had a baby I was 42 at the time, had to move in with my parents, we soon divorced, I haven’t been able to move back out I’m now 50. work in this area is very slow. I’m in debt with a poor credit. used my 401k to try and save the house to no avail….not sure what to do next

  6. I’m a single female, divorced 10 years with no kids.

    13 years ago I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease that won’t kill me, but there’s no cure. 50% of peoplw who have what I have are disabled & unable to work.

    I’ve been in my career 25 years & was promited twice the past decade. I was even working from home the past 3 years & purchased my own home 7 years ago.

    Guess what. My illness has progressed so much the past 2 years that I canNOT work. I used Intermittent FMLA at work like crazy & lost my ability to sit. (Don’t ask) I live with unbelievable pain at times.

    Bottom line I cannot float a mortgage & cost of upkeeping a home forver on disability pay. NOBODY can. I’m currently selling my home,moving in with my mom in another state & putting most of my things in storage.It is not my “childhood” home…it is HER childhood home. Her father left it to her because it’s paid off. She renovated it & wants me to be able to live in it when she is gone.

    So my situation is a disability situation. If you call Social Security for tips on getting by on $1200.00 a month the will tell you most disabled people have to turn to friends or family for help. Period. Even section 8 housing is hard to get…there is a 3 year waiting periodin my state alone.

    So you can save all day long but it’s all fun and games until someone gets REALLY sick but isn’t going to die soon (me). Does it suck? You bet! However take offense at anyone pitying me or viewing me as “desperate.” I have had people tell me they would go homeless before they would move in with their parent. I fwlt the same way….until extremely sick AND homeless was staring me in the face for a

    Having a spouse won’t save the situation either. Most people don’t want to deal with an ill spouse longterm & the reality is most marriages with a chronic illness windup im divorce.

    If note…my mom & I had a horrible relationship & were estranged since I was 15. We laid it down & grew up to make our living situation happen almost overnight. NEVER say never…

    • P.S. I apologize for all the typos. Spell check wasn’t working! Thank you for letting me share my angle but please…don’t assume everyone who is living with a parent just didn’t save enough money to be unemployed over a year etc. There are alot of very difficult, complicated situations that people face everyday. Yes it is a blessing when family can help. If it weren’t for my mom I would have become homeless waiting for affordable housing. Trust me the government could careless what happens to you if you become unable to work. Try dealing with all that red tape & being bedridden half the time.

      • Lastly, there is a 3 YEAR WAITING PERIOD for rulings on Social Security cases in my state alone. That is 3 years with no pay while they decide your fate as a disabled person. So, while you’re saving an emergency fund it’s a good idea to plan how you will survive should you wake up one day too sick to work anymore. Nobody can live on disability solo & the system is very broken.

        Thanks again for letting me share. 🙂

  7. I am facing this situation now. I work two jobs and am not able to make ends meet, I work in retail. Moving back home at 50 after living on my own for 20 years is very hard but I have no place else to go. It will be a twmporary situation until I can save up enough money to start all over again. It is what it is.

    • Sorry to hear that Barbara. It’s a blessing your family is able to be there in your time of need. Hopefully something crosses your path soon so that the situation only is temporary. Thanks for the comment.

      • I moved back north to move into my parents home. I got divorced and struggled financially- we have a great relationship so it was a good move . My siblings live close – I’m the only divorced / single one .
        I’m 54 – … I get mad when my sisters offer their advice on what my parents should be doing or what I should be doing .
        The sibling conflict is becoming a problem

  8. Holly Johnson says

    My brother’s wife recently filed for divorce. Since he couldn’t afford their very large home on his own, he put it on the market. It sold within one day. He moved in with my parents for a while to get his life together, but I know that it’s temporary.
    I think its great when parents keep their doors open for their kids, but I would hope it’s never a permanent thing!

  9. It would be one thing to move in to help, but to move in because you can’t afford to live on your own would be horrible. My parents would take me back, but it would not be a good arrangement for any of us. We had a cousin around my Mom’s age who was in really bad financial shape, and she moved in with my Grandma before she passed. It was supposed to be good for both of them because the cousin would help with Grandma who was getting up in years, but she also wanted to come and go as she pleased, which was not always convenient. She ended up going back to an abusive boyfriend. I can’t image how that would be preferable. It must have been terrible all the way around.

  10. Prudence Debtfree says

    This situation initially strikes me as being very sad, but it can be a great thing when extended family offers a helping hand. I just don’t like the idea of the 50+ “child” getting comfortable living with mom and dad again so that it becomes a long-term solution. There are so many potential problems with this scenario: adult child taking advantage of elderly parents; elderly parents exerting too much control; men turning into mama’s boys & women turning into daddy’s little girls; a sapping of ambition . . . So anything beyond a short-term help, and I think this situation is very unhealthy.

  11. Girl Meets Debt says

    This is a sad, difficult situation. I moved back in with my parents when I first finished university (25 years old) and was only suppose to stay 6 months. I ended up staying over 2 years and it was a strain on my relationship with my parents. I can’t wait to pay off all my debt so I can start saving for my future and hopefully preventing a situation like this from every happening!

  12. Such a difficult situation. It’s still a very tough job market in California and unfortunately some people have no other option. Even those with a decent emergency fund weren’t prepared to be without work for a year plus. It’s a good reminder that life can change in a heartbeat, as you said. We don’t always want to think about worst case scenario but we need to be prepared for this situation too.

  13. I have a male friend in his 50’s (and yes here in Cali) who moved back in with his parents. I think he does help them at least with medical type things, so maybe it’s somewhat mutual, but I do know he is in SERIOUS financial trouble, and continues to dig a deeper hole. Personally, I would avoid moving in with my parents like the plague. Plus they live in Michigan so the thought of moving back there…shudder! I wouldn’t judge someone who did though…as long as the situation might be mutually beneficial. I’d hate to see someone getting taken advantage of.

    • “I wouldn’t judge someone who did though…” Absolutely Tonya, I wouldn’t either. I don’t think there is any morality to this issue, it’s more logistical and emotional concerns. Every situation is unique and I’m sure the people in the article I cited did everything possible before suggesting this arrangement.

  14. Fit is the New Poor says

    My two aunts have always lived with my grandmother (part of the Italian culture with unmarried females) and my mom lived with my grandmother when she became too ill (and to save money). I guess this doesn’t seem out of the ordinary to me!

  15. Student Debt Survivor says

    I suspect my parents would “take me back” at any age, but I hope that never has to happen. It would certainly be humbling to move back home in your 50s, or at any age once you’re an adult and have a life of your own, so to speak. My mom moved back in with her parents for a short time after my parent’s divorce so she could get back on her feet (she’d been a stay at home mom once I was born). I know that was really hard for her, but poop happens and sometimes you have to do what you have to do, especially when you have a family to support.

  16. My father (61) has recently moved in with his mother. And while it’s talked about as a help to her with ailing help, the reality is also that he hasn’t really worked much in 10 years and removing his daily expenses from the household probably helps out my parents a lot.

  17. John S @ Frugal Rules says

    Wow, that is so sad. I have mixed feelings on it, but I would definitely imagine that for some they have no other option but to do this. I agree that it would be very humbling and likely would deal with some sort of shame – whether or not it’s justifiable or not. If we were in this situation I believe our parents would be there and like to believe that we would for our kids. Like you said though, this is yet another encouragement to not let up on the gas but continue persevering with your financial plans.

  18. This hasn’t happened to anyone in my family, but I can’t see anyone asking my grandma if they could live with her. She also lives in a one bedroom condo so that would be tough. It’s true that this is a sign people aren’t preparing for their retirement years properly. Maybe things they financed years before are catching up to them.

    I’m sad to say this probably wasn’t a far-off scenario for my parents. When my dad lost his job, he couldn’t find anyone willing to hire him, and he was in his late fifties. It’s very difficult to deal with at that age. My parents were lucky that they made enough from selling their house to buy one elsewhere, and have social security and a pension coming in. Otherwise, they had next to no savings.

    • “…couldn’t find anyone willing to hire him…” I don’t think it’s necessarily fair but there seems to be a natural bias in hiring older people. Maybe it’s because they feel older people are set in their ways and won’t accept training; they won’t have a long-term stay at the company; they have more health issues; they demand more money…those are a few reasons I can think of as to why companies are hesitant to hire the middle-aged.

  19. I do not know anyone in this scenario; however, I know of a number of people who have contemplated it, and it is an awful place to be in at that point in your life. It’s true, though, you have to constantly work on your financial health and well-being and plan for the “unexpected” throughout your life because the odds of the unexpected happening seem high to me and we do not plan near enough as we should for it.

    • Anyone who starts planning in their 20s to save and reduce debt should have enough saved/invested by 50 to cover themselves for at least a year. That would at least give them a buffer zone to find some type of income stream to see them through the tough time.

      • Kirsten Vogel says

        Thanks but just getting by left me no room to save, I worked 2 jobs, I had to move back home due to an illness, grateful at first but I became the house slave, now I’m remembering my childhood abuse that I tucked away. I’m fucked, how I wish I wasn’t in this predicament, no I’m not stupid, nor am I not hardworking.

        • I feel your pain Kirsten. I’m in the same boat. A sudden, *disabling* incurable illness will screw ANYONE out of their life savings & work unless they were quite rich. Heck I had TWO year’s income saved in an emergency fund. I also had equity in my home.

          Here’s the catch: It’s VERY hard to find a rental if Social Security hasn’t approved a person for Disability. The approval process can take up to THREE YEARS & I know because I have lived it.

          Medical & regular bills were draining my emergency fund FAST. I simply could not afford to upkeep a mortgage & house…plus I am too sick most of the time.

          So ya I downsized 60% of my stuff & my entire life is in storage. I’m crammed into my mom’s 950 square foot childhood home with her. She’s 74 I am 47.

          It’s devastating at first but people…I AM NOT HOMELESS & that was quickly becoming a terrifying reality!

          I don’t think it’s fair to call people in this situation “Down and Desperate.” It may be unfathomable to you…and believe me it was to ME. But when crap gets real with a rare illness or some other crisis…in the end we are dang lucky to have family who will help. Even though we all get on each other’s nerves BAD LOL!!

          The house I’m in is paid off but 100 years old. I do help with all bills & paying for upkeep, & I do ALL the cleaning on sparse days I am well enough to clean.

          I guess we just do what we must. This could happen to anyone, even those who have saved more than the recommended “emergency fund.”

          I’m living off my equity for now. On rare days I feel ok I get out ALL DAY. I hike in the mountains or attend meditation groups or art class or whatever. Mind you this is a bit rare but I can assure you when I CAN I live life.

          It sucks. It’s not fair…but it’s the life I have been given so it’s all how you look at it.

          Everyone’s situation can be so unique & complicated. Thanks for the opportunity to share.


          • GiGi,
            I am in the same situation as you. I was Dx with a rare disease in 2006 and have been unable to work since 2003. It too me almost 5 years to get approved for SSDI. My first husband divorced me immediately following my diagnosis, and we’d used the stocks I had from working at a big tech company as downpayment on our home. He (unwisely) wanted to do an interest only loan on our house, and Greenspan had raised rates significantly in 2005, and we lost equity in our home. Since I couldn’t work, he got the house in the divorce, and I didn’t get any spousal support. (He works for the local government). I moved back in with my parents; I was 39. I ended up getting married again when I was 42, and moved to Maryland. That was when I finally received my SSDI back pay check. I relayed all the money my parents loaned me to pay my bills over the years (approximately $35,000 and bought some items for the new townhouse I moved into with my new husband). After a year, my husband announced we were moving to Jacksonville, FL. When we got there, I got very ill. After a few months, and several visits to the ER (being sent home with “migraine”) a nurse practitioner finally looked at my chart, saw what condition I had, and said “oh my goodness, you need scans!”. That’s when I was diagnosed with 5 brain aneurysms. I ended up having two craniotomies to repair 3 of the aneurysms. My husband filed for divorce a week after my second surgery and stole the rest of my SSDI back pay….$30,000. I moved back to my hometown, into my parents home, because my sister was dying of cancer. It was then discovered that I had cancer. My sister passed, but I survived. I bring in $1600/month in SS but that’s not enough to survive when you’ve got hospital bills, medications, car, insurance, and then to pay for Medicare. How would someone be able to afford rent, utilities, food, gasoline, etc? I’m terrified about when my parents pass! Like you said, nobody wants to date the sick girl. Heck, I’ve lost most of my friends since my strokes, as I’ve had a personality change (PTSD). I try to save as much as I can, and I do rather well, and then I need dental work! Grrrrrr. I love my parents, dearly, but they can be a challenge. It’s also really hard too watch them deteriorate. My brothers don’t help at all. It’s times like this I really need my sister. She always knew what to do. She could sometimes be a little harsh with her words, but she was usually right.

        • P.S. Kirsten I meant to put this reply under Brian@Luke1428’s comment about “down & desperate” below. It was not directed at you, or meant to be defensive towards anyone.

          I had childhood abuse too & I would sacrifice my left arm to not have to look at or converse with my mother every. Single. Day. She’s a diagnosed Narcissist and it sucks!! She also chatters nonstop & is very negative.

          I installed a flat screen tv in my tiny room so I don’t have to hang out w/her every waking minute. And I leave whenever possible.

          Weirdly, She is thrilled I am here. To figure!! :/ I wish anyone going through this light & love. It’s tough.

  20. Unfortunately some people have no choice but to move back in with their parents. If your parents are still living, one would be lucky if parents were able to help like this. Even though I’m not in this situation, it would be humbling for me to ask for help in that way. At 50 you’re on your way to looking towards retirement, perhaps trying to pay off your house, not starting over.

    Theoretically,if I were in this situation, I would see what I could to do to quickly to reinvent myself while still looking for a job. Perhaps go into business for myself or something like that. In the meantime, I would try to help out at my parents as much as I could and try to not drain their finances. These are just my thoughts. I’m not living the reality of this decision.

    • “At 50 you’re on your way to looking towards retirement…not starting over.” That seems to be the biggest emotional issue I see Yvette. The people mentioned in the article sound very down and very desperate.


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