How to Prepare a Young Adult to Move Into Their First Apartment
Most Young People Look Forward to Relaxing in Their First Apartment - Someplace They Can Think of As Their First Home!
Help Young Adults Establish Independence
Somewhere between the ages of 19 and 24, your adult child will be ready to move into a place of their own. As a parent with four grown daughters and three adult granddaughters, this is a process our family has gone through a number of times. Gradually, it became easier as we learned what information our children would need. We also became better at "letting go," once we realized that our daughters would always be a part of our family, whether they lived with us or not. This article contains some of the lessons we learned and resources we used as we helped our daughters establish their independence.
Once you and your adult children agree they are mature enough, as well as emotionally and financially secure, they should be ready to set up their own household ... usually in an apartment. If this is your first child to move out, neither of you may know what to expect.
The first thing which has to happen before a young adult can get their first apartment is for them to have a job, with an income which is ample enough to cover their expenses. Many apartment complexes require that the tenant's gross income be at least twice the monthly lease amount ... and sometimes more. Of course, if your child is a college student when they get their first apartment, you will probably have to rent the apartment in your own name, until they are ready to support themselves.
In addition to being able to pay their first month's rent when they lease an apartment, the young person should also have at least $1000 set aside to cover deposits and emergency expenses. (Sometimes this starter money comes from graduation and other gifts.) In some situations, parents will have to co-sign the first lease with their adult child. Unless they are a student and dependent on you, try to avoid being a co-signer, if possible. You do not want to take responsibility for paying their rent unless you are really confident in your child's maturity and ability to support themselves.
In addition to helping our children furnish and supply their first apartment, we also purchased them a couple of books. We discovered that our children were more willing to learn the basic skills they needed from a book than by listening to us lecture them.
Choosing a Roommate
In many cases, young adults need to have a roommate in order to afford their first apartment. However, don't be surprised if this arrangement only lasts a year or two. Often young adults have wildly different interests and levels of maturity. While one is looking for a party house, the other is looking for a quiet place to relax after working all day. This can create immediate conflict! Have a discussion with your adult child about what they need in a roommate. Their best friend from high school might not be the ideal choice for a roommate as an adult. Only an honest discussion can help them make the right decision.
Choosing the right roommate is especially important if you are going to be co-signing the lease. In fact, you may also want to meet their parents, if possible. You want to make sure the roommate also has a job and is able to carry their part of the rent ... or you may end up paying all of it, instead.
Banking and Retirement Accounts
Along with finding a job and an apartment, the young adult also needs to set up banking and retirement accounts, as well as establish their own credit, if they have not already done so. They should plan to deposit a small amount of money each month into both a retirement account and a savings account.
The savings account is especially important when they first start out, so that they have money for emergencies. Help them establish a reasonable budget, so they are not continually turning to you for help with every minor emergency! As you know, cars break down, people get sick, pets get injured and other "surprises" creep up almost continually in life. Our children need to learn to be prepared for these events, too!
Getting them in the habit of saving for retirement will benefit them, as well.
Make Sure They Know How to Cook and Have the Right Supplies
Once the young person has found a job and an apartment, and created a budget which will allow them to live comfortably within their means, they are ready to move into their new place. However, most young people who are moving from their parents' home will not have many belongings to move, other than their clothing, computer and personal items.
Now is the time to decide what you are willing to have them take to their new home. Is it alright with you for them to take the bedroom furniture they grew up with? Do you have any other old furniture which you were planning to get rid of anyway? What about dishes, tableware, glasses and cups? Do you have any mismatched items cluttering up your cabinets that you would like to get rid of, or replace? What about towels and bed linens? Why not give the adult child some of your old things and buy new supplies for yourself? Personally, every time one of my daughters moved out of the house, I purchased myself a set of new glasses and dishes, and gave them my old things. It made the move fun for both of us!
Before you know it, you and your child will be visiting each other, meeting for lunch, and establishing an entirely new relationship as two adults. Enjoy yourselves! It will be fun!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2011 Deborah-Diane