If your empty nest is no longer that empty, you're not alone.
As more young adults face mounting student loan debt and high living expenses, many in recent years have returned home after college — and some never chose to move out in the first place.
In 2017, the "boomerang" generation included around one out of every three Americans between the ages of 18 to 34, according to U.S. Census data.
Last year, around 54 percent of young adults between 18 to 24 lived at home, compared to 16 percent of adults between the ages of 25 to 34.
"The percentages are going up," said Sabina Sewillo, vice president and financial adviser with the Wealth Management Division of Morgan Stanley. "Especially with graduation season upon us, a lot of parents are going to see little ones — or not so little ones — returning to the nest. Parents shouldn't worry or despair. At the end of the day, it can show financial responsibility on the child's part. But there are some things to be aware of."
When young adults need to move back home, Sewillo said it's important for parents and their children to sit down and create a plan.
"I tell parents there's nothing wrong with people moving back, as long as everyone is on the same page with budgets, goals and responsibilities," she said.
Set clear expectations
Sewillo advises parents and children to have a discussion together and set clear expectations for the living arrangement.
"Go over how long they're going to stay, whether it's a few months or a few years, and then go over the goals they're working toward," she said. "And then talk about how they're going to contribute, not just financially, but also contribute to the household."
Kids also should set their own expectations, including the space they need and what goals they have while living at home, she said.
"They should have a plan and present that plan to their parents," Sewillo said. "Set goals for saving or paying off debt. And then write it down on paper."
Keep your finances separate, but check in
Sewillo said parents should avoid managing their children's finances. And adult children should take control of their money.
"Avoid complete financial control," she said to parents. "Little experiences like paying bills on time, building good credit, starting an investment portfolio and creating a budget are crucial at a young age. And they pave the path to a successful financial future."
For young adults, she advises making the most of time living at home by saving and paying down debt.
And, she wants parents and kids to have monthly check-ins to see if goals are being met.
"Track progress once a month and celebrate milestones with them," she said. "If they paid off credit card debt or paid down student loan debt, let those little celebrations be motivation."
If parents decide to charge their kids for rent, she offered another suggestion for celebrating goals.
"If you can afford it, maybe set that rent payment aside and then return it back to them when they move out. Or help them pay debt off when they move out," she said. "That can really help them in the next step in their life."
Parents should put themselves first
Some parents, Sewillo said, fall into the trap of sacrificing their own finances to support their grown children.
She said parents should learn how to appropriately support their children without doing away with their own financial goals. Guard your own goals, she said, and avoid dipping into retirement, health or other savings.