, , , ,

Image Credit: Strollerderby (http://blogs.babble.com/strollerderby)

Having moved out of the family home at the ripe old age of 19, it’s been years since I lived full-time with my parents. In those days, I had a Corolla to drive, plenty of home-cooked meals, and no shortage of clean towels and laundry. It was convenient, comfortable, familiar, and (perhaps most of all) very affordable.

Even during the summers of my undergraduate, living at home was a welcome break. I would be home every May to August to work my construction gig and pay off as much student debt as possible. Even then, my parents expected some rent money to cover my share of food and utilities, but that was totally fair. Living at home allowed me to bank most of each paycheque, and helped me put a dent in the considerable amount of student debt I was accruing. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Since then, I’ve been living in Toronto – one of Canada’s most expensive cities by a long shot (surveys seem to keep flip-flopping the #1 spot between Toronto and Vancouver every other month). I racked up even more debt while completing my graduate studies, but my subsequent jobs have enabled me to get back on my feet.

I know how scarse jobs are these days, how close some families are, and (from first-hand experience) how comfortable it can be living at home. But I was floored when I learned from CBC’s recent ‘Generation Boomerang’ documentary that 51% of adult children in their 20s are living at home – some even sleeping in the same bedroom they grew up in. Equally astonishing, one in three parents in the UK have actually remortgaged their home in order to help provide for their adult kids coming home!

The documentary found that the cost of raising one child from birth to age 18 was $200,000. The cost of raising them again through their 20s?: an additional $60,000. That’s quite a price-tag for parents hoping to save for their own retirement.

So what’s the reason? Some are arguing that today’s generation is complacent, lazy and unwilling to accept work they deem to be below them. Others point to the lack of jobs available, the rising cost of living, the historic student debt levels and the fact that those from the ‘Boomer’ generation are still sitting on their jobs atop the food chain.

What’s your take? What is causing the ‘Generation Boomerang’ phenomenon?