Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bribing an Adult Kid

So I was reading in Money magazine this article about how to bribe a adult kid who is unenthusiastic about having a job and living at home. The goals are “to get him off his butt and into a job, and to get him to move out”

They mention a MIT economist that said that bribery works best when there are two parties involved. Suggesting that you offer the “Adult kid”,$50 for every $100 he earns at his job, citing it encourages success, not failure? It goes on to say that “IF” your child prospers, that the co-payment will help him make the rent on his own apartment and goes as far to suggest the parents putting down the rental deposit if the kid moves out.

I don't know if I agree with some of the authors solutions. I would think that teaching these “Adult Kids” actually how to manage their money and give them a sense of responsibility would be a better way of handing this. If one day, I have a child that doesn't have an ambition to make a living and get out on his own these would be a few of the steps that I will take.

• I would let them know the rules of the house and tell them if they didn't take it seriously that they would have to go mooch off a friend or another relative.
• I would show them tough love by being harder than any landlord they would ever have. They would have to respect the rules of my house. This gives them incentive to move out, not paying them…that's still free money at the end of the day.
• They would be responsible for paying rent to me and making sure it was paid in full on the first of each month. No five day grace period here…the first or late fee added.
• He would still have chores around the house and he wouldn't get paid(let's say home owners fees). Once again if they got out on their own they would not have to worry about this they could do what they wanted and I wouldn't say anything to them because they are an adult.
• They would pitch in for bills, food, or any other expense the household needs.
• I would give them their own space…probably their room and would not bother them, after all they are renting that space in my house. But they would not be sprawled out on the couch when I come home or feel like the whole house is theirs for whatever.

This wouldn't be me just being mean, I would sit down with them and figure out a game plan to get their budget, finances in order to move out. I would help them in anyway they would need to move to that next chapter in their life. Remember that I plan on paying for his/her full college tuition, allowance, except the summers, for four to four and half years. Which at that point I will have very high expectations from them and in return, want them to have high expectations to the point they will not want to move in unless they have to.

Once they decide to pick up and move out on their own, I would help them get established and the very last thing I will do is give them back all the money that they have been paying me for rent, bills and etc…back to them as a starting point. (I would put all that money that they were paying me in a high-yield savings account.) This would teach them responsibility and its still rewarding them but without them knowing.


  1. I read this article also, but I actually really agreed with it! I also agree with what you said about working on a game plan with them, getting their budget and finances in order, but sometimes it takes more than that. My parents never did even that much for me and aside from holiday and summer breaks (only early in college) I never moved back in with them again.

    I think there is a pre-condition that for some reason or another your child is already living in your house and being irresponsible somehow. Not agreeing to your house rules and rent payments, letting their personal messes invade the rest of the house, not bothering to look for work etc.

    Many parents would have a hard time emotionally kicking their kids out so the point of the article is to give them incentives to do the things that get them out of your house without giving them the opportunity to decide they don't want to help with the dishes so they don't need that $10 from you. 1) keep and maintain a job and 2) give them some funding for an apt down payment with strings attached.

  2. Danielle

    Thanks for the comment!

    I totally agree with you in the pre-condition to the reason that they are living in you house. I know there are different strokes to diff folks but how can you teach them responsibility if they dont have to pay rent? Remember I am giving them back every cent they paid for rent/bills when they decide to move out plus whatever interest they have made in the money market or savings account.

    If it was me, why wouldnt I stay another year to make the extra money? $50 for every $100? that is free money! It would be hard to give up if I relied on it? No? I guess that I think kids are smart, and they have a way with getting things from their parents...or maybe that was just me, ha!