NewsFailure To Launch

Failure To Launch

Just when you thought you had a handle on the whole Gen Y, Gen X and Millenial speak, along comes Failure-To-Launch kids.

It’s a very disparaging term I feel to describe young people who don’t move out of home at a time when house and rent prices in Australia are so high.

I have 3 teenagers, boys 19 and 17 and a daughter 15. I felt acutely aware that my small brick veneer home wasn’t big enough for all of us (and an elderly parent) and that we all needed space.

A common sentiment amongst my peers is that we would rather create space at home for our kids to hang out with their friends than not know where they are (hanging out at some other kid’s place most likely).

So I recently converted my double garage. Gone is 30 years of junk, (including my motorbike that I haven’t ridden in 2 years butthat’s a whole other story for another newsletter) and in it’s  place is a modern 2 bedroom apartment we’ve dubbed the “west wing”. I made sure my sons’ chose the colours and features with the vain hope that they would be emotionally invested in it and therefore keep it clean. They’ve been in for about 6 weeks now and it appears to be going well except that one kid is a clean freak and the other is a typical teenage boy (think clothes and wet towels all over the floor and empty pizza boxes on his bed).

I really hope they use the money they can now save, to buy themselves an investment property, further their education or follow a travel dream.

­Research from in the Sydney Saturday Telegraph last week found more than 75 per cent of people aged 25-34 living with mum and dad are doing so to save for a house deposit.

Social researcher Mark McCrindle said if current trends continued, more than half of young people could find themselves returning to live with their parents at least once after initially moving out.

Social commentator Bernard Salt said the trend was also being reflected in housing designs, with two-in-one style properties built in anticipation of adult children moving home.

Likewise, Richardson and Wrench agent Andrew Knox has noticed Baby Boomers holding off on selling up and heading off on European adventures as they prepare for adult children to move back.

Boomerang children and those who never leave — so-called "failure to launch" children — are fast becoming "normal" in Australia and the Western world.

Associate Professor Cassandra Szoeke of the University of Melbourne and lead researcher Katherine Burn reviewed 15 years' worth of academic studies of Boomerang and Failure to Launch children and their parents.

The total sample size was more than 2 million people. The reasons for the increased number of people living at home were varied.

In countries like Australia, the unrelenting rise in home prices and rent play a role. Many young adults do not believe they can afford to live and study without family support.

The most recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the number of young adults aged 20 to 24 moving house has fallen dramatically in NSW and Victoria.

Has this happened to you? How do you cope when your once dependent children move back in as independent adults? How do you cope with issues such as house rules, responsibilities, and finances. Do you worry that if your children stay at home they are missing out life lessons?

Why are adult children still at home?

  • The phenomenon is caused by a range of financial, social and emotional factors
  • Never-married or divorced adult children are more likely to live at home
  • One study found an increased number of unmarried adults could explain the high stay at home rate
  • "Tenacious" adults are staying at home while they increase their financial base
  • However, lower income and unemployment increase the chance of children not leaving home




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Leonard J (Jim)
Leonard J (Jim) from NSW commented:

Anonymous from NSW commented: A middle aged lady I worked with some years back often remarked that she still had two children living at home: one was her 30 year old son and the other was his father. 

Anonymous from QLD commented:

I have two sons that work and live out of home. Both have moved back once for different reason. My two stepsons live with their mother. One refuses to work and is quite happy to live free of responsibility and the other one works but left home once and move back home because it cost too much living out of his mum's house where they don't have to pay anything. The cost of living is so much more than the average wage. 

Christopher from QLD commented:

Agreed, we are currently helping a son who is out of work and struggling to meet his commitments. 

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