Once you’re an empty nester, you may start shifting your focus – and your financial resources – to your own retirement, while still preparing for the unexpected with sufficient insurance and an emergency fund. But here’s an event you might not have anticipated: your grown kids moving back home. How would this affect your life?

Take comfort: You’re not alone. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the trend of “boomerang” kids. By July 2020, more than half of 18- to 29-year-olds in the U.S. were living with their parents, according to the Pew Research Center – the first time this had happened since the Great Depression.

A balancing act…

Grown children moving back home can present some challenges – one of which may be your own generosity. Consider this: 71 % of retirees are willing to offer financial support to their families even if it could jeopardize their own financial futures, according to the Edward Jones/Age Wave Four Pillars of the New Retirement study.

So, how do you balance the trade-off between providing support and staying on track toward your own goals?

Ultimately, the choice is highly personal. You have to decide how much and what kind of help you're willing to provide. Then, to achieve a happy balance, you may well need to set boundaries. By doing so, you communicate the limits of what you're willing to do – which helps everyone involved know what's expected, right up front.

For example, you may want working children to contribute part of their salary for room and board at your home, or perhaps help out around the house in some way, such as cooking dinner a couple of times a week. Also, you might want to set a time limit on how long your children can stay with you. You could offer to help pay part of the initial costs of renting a place when they do leave your home, making clear that you don’t plan on permanently providing this financial support. Regardless of what boundaries you decide to set, it's important to follow through with them.

Setting these types of boundaries helps everyone. Your children, like virtually all young adults, want to be independent – and you want to enjoy the retirement lifestyle you’ve envisioned.