Going back home to roost

Going Back Home to Roost

The tough economic times are forcing many adults – old and young -- to move back home. But the move back to home base can come with a lot of issues, writes On Parenting blogger Janice D’Arcy.

“Another part of the trend includes nuclear families moving back in with older parents, which creates an entirely different family dynamic,” D’Arcy says. “It’s a lot more physical closeness, but not necessarily more emotional closeness. In many cases, the new arrangements can quickly pull apart relationships.”

So how do you cope with this closeness?

You have to talk and be clear about everyone’s expectations, says Meredith Gellman, a Fairfax, Va. therapist. She also says set up “little summits” to discuss how the household will run. Even if there was no pre-move-summit, Gelman says it’s never too late to start talking.

If you’ve found yourself in this potentially challenging situation, check out my Color of Money Book Club selection for September, “How to Raise Your Adult Children,” by Gail Parent and Susan Ende (Plume, August 2011). I recently reviewed the book, which has some great advice on how to deal with some of the issues that come up when adult children boomerang home.

So tell me, for the Color Money Question of the Week: If your adult children have moved home or you’re the adult that had to move back, how’s it working for everyone? What steps have you found helpful to deal with the situation? Send your comments to colorofmoney@washpost.com.

Chats Today

Join me today at 11:45 a.m. for my live video chat followed by my online text chat at noon ET.

It’s just me today so send your money questions in early or read the transcript later.

Thy Will Be Done

Do you have a will?

Findings froma survey conducted for EZLaw, an online legal document service, found that only 36 percent of survey respondents say they have a will, though more far say it’s important to have one.

People have all kinds of excuses for not having a will. Here are just some:

They are more focused on essentials right now, such as paying bills and buying groceries.They think it’s too complicated to deal with estate-planning issues. They believe their spouse or children will automatically receive their assets after they die (not necessarily).They say it’s too time consuming. 

Many people view creating a will as too morbid. Drawing up a will does mean facing death. But I believe a will is also about life. It’s about taking care of the living. You do it for the people you love and who you will leave to deal with your financial mess.

So get a will, especially if you have children.

Estate planning Web sites such as EZLaw and Nolo.com can help you get started.

Is That Law Degree Really Worth It?

Excessive law school loans and low job prospects have prompted a number of law school graduates to sue their law schools for fraudulent advertising reports Fortune.com.

In their suits, the students claim they were duped by exaggerated job placement stats that law schools publish to attract students.

Statistics show that a law student can rack up an average of $98,000 in debt for three years of legal education, up more than 200 percent from the 1987 average.

There is a culturally embedded belief that a law degree brings financial success,” Kyle McEntee, co-founder of nonprofit organization Law School Transparency, told Fortune.

In a recent press release, the American Bar Association said it is, “moving forward in collecting detailed job placement data from law schools, and will hold schools accountable for the completeness and accuracy of that data.”

Responses to “Class Struggle”

In a recent column I discussed several ways parents and students can cut the cost of a college education. One way is to shorten the time in school, say from four years to three, and commuting.

I asked you what you thought of the suggestions. Here what some of you had to say:

 “This is an interesting question,” writes said Tim Weiss of Milwaukee, Wis. “On the one hand finishing college a year or even a semester early reduces college tuition and expenses, but the trade-off is having a bigger class load during the three years. Additionally, with today's job market. . . does graduating a year or half year early pay off when it comes to finding a job?  There is some security in staying the extra year in school even if it costs more short term.”

 

“If a student is capable of finishing in three years without it affecting his learning, sure, why not,” wrote Barbara Kirchofer of Omaha, Neb. “That said, I wouldn't push my child to finish in three years. As long as my child was taking his/her classes seriously and moving toward graduating in four years, it would be up to them. If they were willing to amp it up and get done earlier, more power to them.”

Theda Pittman of Anchorage, Alaska wrote: “Students might be able to maximize the benefit of only three years if they are careful to emphasize classes that will help them acquire survival challenges they are likely to meet in a world which is changing at an ever increasing pace.”

 

Debt Defeaters

Have you recently become debt-free? 

Send your story to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Tell me how much debt you paid off, the time it took to pay it off and how you did it. Include a statement describing your newfound financial freedom. Put “Debt Defeater” in the subject line.

If I read your story during my live video chat, you will receive a free T-shirt.

Upcoming Events

--I’ll be speaking at the Women’s and Girls Fund of the Mid-shore fundraising event on Sept.15 at 7 p.m. at the Avalon Theater in Easton, Md. This event raises money to provide grants to non-profit organizations that provide a number of services to women and girls in several counties in Maryland. For example a grant to a Cambridge youth center is funding mentoring, tutoring, and after school programs for mothers and children from the low-income neighborhood it serves.

For ticket information, call 410-770-8347 or pay online

--On Thursday, October 6th, I will be honored with the Bridge Builder Award at The Training Source Inc. 18th anniversary dinner and auction. This is a fundraising event for the Training Source, which is a great nonprofit organization in Prince George's County that among other services provides training and employment placement assistance, leadership training for at-risk youth, and free professional clothing for job candidate.

The event will be held at Newton White Mansion at 2708 Enterprise Rd., Mitchellville, Md., 20721 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information about the event go to www.thetrainingsource.org.

Tia Lewis contributed to this e-letter.

 You are welcome to e-mail comments and questions to singletarym@washpost.com . Please include your name and hometown; your comments may be used in a future column or newsletter unless otherwise requested. 

 

 

Michelle Singletary writes the nationally syndicated personal finance column, “The Color of Money.”
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