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    • MSE Sarah
    • By MSE Sarah 7th Sep 17, 1:30 PM
    • 129Posts
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    MSE Sarah
    Money Moral Dilemma: How much should we charge our daughter for living with us?
    • #1
    • 7th Sep 17, 1:30 PM
    Money Moral Dilemma: How much should we charge our daughter for living with us? 7th Sep 17 at 1:30 PM
    This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

    Our daughter has returned home after flying the nest as she found the cost of independent living too expensive. She earns over 20,000 a year after tax and has plenty of money left over each month for clothes and social events. We want to be reasonable parents but would appreciate a small contribution regularly to help us with the extra costs and she is not keen on this suggestion. This is causing a bit of an atmosphere at home as we are not wealthy and are economising every day. What would be a reasonable amount to charge?

    Unfortunately the MSE team can't always answer money moral dilemma questions as contributions are often emailed in or suggested in person. They are intended to be enjoyed as a point of debate and discussed at face value.

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Page 3
    • Big Ot
    • By Big Ot 13th Sep 17, 11:20 AM
    • 11 Posts
    • 34 Thanks
    Big Ot
    Was it her decision?
    If she decided to leave home of her own free will, but returned for economic reasons, then you need to discuss a fair contribution from her that you can all sensibly agree to. Maybe, like most children of the past 40+ years, she has been spoilt, spoon fed and made the centre of attention which helps to create a 'the world owes me' attitude. If not, she's a selfish, possibly uncaring human being.
    • TBagpuss
    • By TBagpuss 13th Sep 17, 11:22 AM
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    As an absolute bare minimum she should be paying the extra it costs you to have her there - so any aditional costs on bill, 1/3 of the grocery budget and so on.

    As she is pushing back, and as you mention you are not well off, I think you may need to have a specific conversation with her and point out that you cannot afford to support her financially, she needs to be self-supporting. Be explicit - "We love you, but we cannot afford to support you financially. You need to pay your own way"

    I think a fair compromise would be for her to pay less than commercial rent, so perhaps 1/2 - 2/3 of what she would pay if she were renting a room in your area, this means she still gets to make significant savings compared to living alone, and you are not out of pocket and perhaps have a little bit over after meeting the extra costs, which you can either put into your own savings or if you want, use some to help her out if she needs it in future.

    It can be useful to be open about your own finances. Let her know how much you have in disposable income, once the mortgage and bills are paid, so she can understand why you need her to contribute and so she can understand if she is significantly better off than you.
    • samwells87
    • By samwells87 13th Sep 17, 11:22 AM
    • 2 Posts
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    I was earning around 13k a year after tax when I still lived at home and my mum asked for 150 a month, this was about 15% of my monthly earnings and this set me up well for my future, I am able to live on my own, pay rent of 895 a month and still save approx. 500-800 a month on a salary of 25k after tax
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 13th Sep 17, 11:32 AM
    • 20,347 Posts
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    If she's not keen on paying even a small contribution, give her the alternative - and tell her to close it quietly on her way out.
    • Pete998
    • By Pete998 13th Sep 17, 11:36 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Time to be a responsible 'child'
    Time for some tough love...
    She is being totally selfish & is also totally out of order !!!
    When I lived with my parents we agreed an amount that was deemed fair at that time (still paid more) taking into account services bills, food, washing, phone (no mobile phones back then). I also agreed to help around the house by doing all the ironing, washed, cleaned & polished my parents car on a regular basis, cleaned the windows outside & did various other odd-job tasks - this was in mid to late 70's.

    Think your Daughter should, at the very least, pay 325 per calendar month so she has a fixed amount that she could pay by direct debit & budget for every month. Don't feel guilty it is a matter of economics, especially if, as you say, you're not 'flush' with money. She should also do all her own washing, ironing & keep her room & jointly used areas tidy.

    It's not fair on you to be 'abused' like this & if she had a decent heart would automatically want to contribute instead of being a burden. She needs to realise, as she is already 20, that there is a cost involved & she needs to start paying her way & not abuse/take for granted your kindness.

    There's always an option for her to find alternative accommodation if she doesn't like it - and needs to realise that could well be on the table !!!

    Please don't be a 'doormat' as she will keep doing this to you & she won't have any respect for you either & the situation ***will*** only get worse as she tries to push already generous boundaries.

    Hope you get to a mutually agreeable resolution
    • lindylour
    • By lindylour 13th Sep 17, 11:36 AM
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    I think a payment of 20% of take home pay is acceptable (up to a limit). This is what my sons paid me when they were living at home.
    • MaisieMouSE
    • By MaisieMouSE 13th Sep 17, 11:36 AM
    • 2 Posts
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    I just worked out how much per person it costs for food shopping, and how much extra it costs me in gas/electricity for my sons to continue living at home. Now that they are all working (I was supporting two of them through uni, another was unemployed) I have asked for a minimum 40, or 10% of their wages, which covers everything mentioned. My rent would still be the same, whether they were here or not, so I don't charge them for that. The rest of their wages are spent on travel expenses to work, and saving towards a deposit for when they finally move out. As a single parent of 3, I'm trying to ensure they have the best start in life and not face the same hardships I did!
    • becka16
    • By becka16 13th Sep 17, 11:42 AM
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    • 2 Thanks
    Hi everyone, in response to those posting that parents shouldnt be charging, perhaps read the finer details....the daughter can afford to go out socialising and the parents are cutting back in order to have her a parent i would love to fund my children forever but if they ever thought it was ok to watch us struggle paying for them while they lived their life responsibility free i would be disappointed in them and in my own parenting. I have just had this conversation with my eldest who is at home while at uni and has always prefered to spend rather than save, so i am asking him for a small contribution of 50 a week to help him learn his responsibilities, it did feel bad to sit him down and talk to him about giving money but in the long term it will help him and take the pressure of us who work fulll time anyway. He also has to pay his own phone contract and a tv sports contract...this was less about the money but to give him a couple of DD coming out of his bank in his own name to start him off on the right foot as a young adult. So in total he has a responsibility to pay 265 a month.

    I wish you luck but please dont feel bad, while she was away from home for a short time she would have been paying her way even if she struggled, so you are meeting her halfway between those high costs and paying nothing...very reasonable.
    • Clueless969
    • By Clueless969 13th Sep 17, 11:50 AM
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    • 44 Thanks
    Assuming this is a real question from a real person, my answer is unequivocal.

    The daughter is acting like a child. If she really is unable to pay for her own place, the first question is why?

    If it because paying for accommodation would leave her short of money to spend on "entertainment" and stuff she wants but doesn't need, she needs to be told to grow up and get a grip on that which most of us recognise as the realities of life. If she genuinely is unable to make ends meet when paying for all her basics and she is asking to move back home, she still needs to grow up and realise that her income is to pay for real living expenses first, saving money to get her own place second and treats in third place.

    Whatever the parents' income, they should never be seen as a charity and said child should pay a sensible amount of money into the household expenses. The thought that one should even consider giving it back to them when they finally move out is ridiculous as that effectively teaches the child nothing good.

    The way that I have used to work out a reasonable contribution, for all the invisible benefits of living at home, was to ask for an itemised list of REAL expenses before they gave up living independently and an itemised list of all REAL expenses since moving back home, subtracting the latter from the former and dividing by two and that was the monthly amount to be paid. Eating out was not considered a real expense neither were nights out nor clothing not required for work.

    My daughter hated having to contribute anything at all and whinged but eventually stopped when she realised what she was getting for her contribution and how much spare cash she still had to save or to spend on herself.

    Children of all ages need to learn to money manage, just like their parents did before them. They learned that you could only afford what you had money for (there was no easy credit that you could spend the rest of your life paying back). In the case of somewhere to live, it was often a bedsit or shared accommodation. Nights/eating out were not a right but a result of saving or going without something else.
    • Teacher2
    • By Teacher2 13th Sep 17, 11:51 AM
    • 331 Posts
    • 2,571 Thanks
    I take 100 a week from my 28 year old son for bed and board but I saved it all for him for a deposit should he want to buy a house. I shall have to stop doing that now the DH has lost his job but the DS has fifteen grand to put down when or if he buys a property. He's not getting it for anything else as he will waste it! I am Mrs MMF!
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 13th Sep 17, 11:56 AM
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    I take 100 a week from my 28 year old son for bed and board but I saved it all for him for a deposit should he want to buy a house. I shall have to stop doing that now the DH has lost his job but the DS has fifteen grand to put down when or if he buys a property. He's not getting it for anything else as he will waste it! I am Mrs MMF!
    Originally posted by Teacher2
    Just a heads-up, if you have to claim means tested benefits as a result of the unemployment and the money is in your name, the 15k will be counted as yours.
    • stevethefifer
    • By stevethefifer 13th Sep 17, 12:08 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    if your daughter has found supporting herself too expensive, earns 20k a year & wants to come back home & live with you for free, she needs a reality check.
    My parents took one third of my take home pay whilst I was working & lived at home, this gave me a great lesson in the worth of money, and what my mum did not use she gave back to me as a lump sum when I left home for good.
    I will be treating my kids exactly the same once they are earning.
    • doctorblunkett
    • By doctorblunkett 13th Sep 17, 12:14 PM
    • 30 Posts
    • 39 Thanks
    Yes, sure, bring her into the world and then when you're fed up of looking after her,
    Originally posted by _nate
    nothing about the original post suggests they are sick of looking after her. they want her daughter to contribute to the additional costs they have to incur for her being there, which is entirely appropriate she is an adult.

    screw her for the same kind of nonsense private landlords would demand.
    Originally posted by _nate
    there is no contract. no deposit. no demand for rent. no references. this sentence is utter rubbish

    Did you plan what this extra money would be used for? Did you pay your parents?
    Originally posted by _nate
    Yes, it says so right there - to pay for the extra costs of her living there.
    and whether they paid their parents is not relevant in this situation

    (And how old is she, and where does she live? And earning 20k is nothing in most big UK cities.)
    Originally posted by _nate
    Her age is also not relevant. and also 20k after tax is approx 1600 a month. she is very able to contribute.
    earning 20k after tax is a decent to good wage, no matter where you are.

    I write in a rude fashion, I accept.
    Originally posted by _nate
    and yet you still do it.

    But I've been able to save up enough to move away properly through my parents taking the exact opposite approach to you.
    Originally posted by _nate
    i imagine 'properly' means saving a deposit for a house.

    It's made me regain my independence that was otherwise at the mercy of London landlords' whims.
    Originally posted by _nate
    firstly, you don't gain independence by being dependent.
    secondly, you're assuming it's london.
    thirdly, what whims?

    you as a person are so entitled it makes my teeth itch
    • minicooper272
    • By minicooper272 13th Sep 17, 12:26 PM
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    This is a tough one, Im a similar age to your daughter and have a lot of friends who have been through this and felt it was really unfair (Im sure they wont when they have their own kids), one had a major fall out with her mum after being asked to contribute, her argument was that she was saving for a house deposit to move out, and paying rent would only keep her home longer

    I think its right for her to contribute, the rule that went down best when parents said that their children could stay at home for free for as long as they were in full time education or unemployed, but expect a contribution when theyre earning.

    One parent charged her daughter 25% of income, but Id say charge 200-250 a month (if shes saving for a house deposit, you could reduce it a bit, but if shes not saving, increase a little).

    If shes arguing, I think you need to justify the cost for her show her electricity & water bills from before and after she moved home, tell her shes costing an extra 20 a week in food etc. and that youre including a little overhead due to additional wear and tear. If she refuses to pay, then at the very least, tell her to buy her own food and give her a designated shelf in the fridge.
    • Plankton
    • By Plankton 13th Sep 17, 12:38 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Something realistic
    A long time ago when I earned 25 a week on my YTS I had to pay a third to my parents, rent & food etc, one third I saved and one third I spent.

    Your daughter will want to move out again one day, so prepare her for the future.
    • alittlemadam
    • By alittlemadam 13th Sep 17, 12:53 PM
    • 53 Posts
    • 72 Thanks
    So your daughter found the cost of independent living too high yet she think that should live rent free with you. She's living on another planet surely.

    Give her a option:-

    1. pay a set figure where everything is included
    2. tell her that the room will cost x, the bed will cost x, meals will be x, using the washing machine, watching TV, showering will be x per item per use
    3 she moves out and fends for herself

    she will soon learn to understand that she needs to stand on her own too feet
    • REJP
    • By REJP 13th Sep 17, 12:53 PM
    • 46 Posts
    • 53 Thanks
    Selfish daughter.
    I have had this problem.
    My daughter has had a good income and lived away from me for years. She is well aware that food and electricity and water (I am on a metered water supply) and Council Tax cost money.
    If she returned, my Council Tax would go up by 25 percent, in my case because I am widowed and live alone I currently have a discount which would be cancelled if I have another person living with me. The increase would be 320 a year to 1240.
    My weekly food bill, buying mostly supermarket own brand, averages 19 per week. This is increased when buying detergent, toilet paper, washing up liquid, dishwasher tablets and toilet cleaner etc which are an extra expense to be paid for.
    I am careful with using electricity and central heating because of the cost of both. My daughter used to sit up until the early hours of the morning watching TV and using the electric fire and leaving lights on in every room with no regard to the cost. Electric powered shower every day, hair washing regularly, even electric toothbrush, all add to the cost of electricity.
    Food has to be bought for her as well presumably.
    Frankly I could not afford to have her back without some payment being agreed. To the people saying parents should not charge I say "Live in the real world, it costs more to house two than one " especially when she gets 20,000 a year. I get State retirement pension, I can't support her on that.
    If she is so selfish as to sponge on poorer parents, shame on her. As others have said, show her the cost of living at home, ask for a fair amount to defray the cost, and if she does not like it, show her the door. She knows what it is like to live alone so must be aware that poorer parents can not afford to keep her for nothing.
    • Fireflyaway
    • By Fireflyaway 13th Sep 17, 12:55 PM
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    I wouldn't charge my daughter so long as I knew she was saving for the future and not just blowing the whole lot on clothes / drink etc.
    The fact that you asked and she refused seems rather inconsiderate of her. I would question how much does she really cost you by being at home? A bit of extra water and a bit more food ? Can't be that draining?
    I would be more assertive and when she does hand the cash over ( do a standing order so she can't forget) put it in a savings account without her knowing towards a deposit on a future house. I'd say 200 a month seems reasonable.
    • Shammi
    • By Shammi 13th Sep 17, 1:02 PM
    • 17 Posts
    • 18 Thanks
    Entitled much!
    My parents weren't very well off when I was growing up but they never pressured us to make any contributions. I was quite aware of my parents financial situation and made small contributions towards the mortgage, bills and food. If I remember correctly it was 100 a week. I started working when I was 18 and I am now 31. Obviously my salary has increased over the years. I have moved out and still help my parents out. We shouldn't forget the sacrifices our parents have made for us and should definitely give back.
    Personally, I think you should sit her down and go through your monthly income and outgoings so that she appreciates your situation. You can then agree on a monthly amount.
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 13th Sep 17, 1:07 PM
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    This is causing a bit of an atmosphere at home as we are not wealthy and are economising every day.
    Originally posted by MSE Sarah
    I would be more assertive and when she does hand the cash over ( do a standing order so she can't forget) put it in a savings account without her knowing towards a deposit on a future house.
    Originally posted by Fireflyaway
    So the parents should tighten their belts further while daughter gets to live for free? Bizarre.
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