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Boomerang Generation

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The “Boomerang Generation” – The Return of the Children

Middle age is usually considered to be a life stage where you experience the “empty nest” as children leave home. For many people in their 50s, this has not been the reality; a growing number of “returnees” dubbed the “boomerang generation” are postponing the traditional expectations of leaving home and returning to their childhood bedrooms.

Why do they return?

The “boomerang generation” is largely back home as a matter of necessity. In the current economic climate, most have little choice but to turn to relations or friends for somewhere to live on the cheap. The job market is bleak, with unemployment on the increase, low salaries for entry-level jobs and the increasing cost of accommodation, make it difficult for young people to be able to rent, let alone own their own property soon after they graduate.

The implications

This change in the pattern of life’s stages can lead to delayed independence. Indeed, parents may actually be holding their children back from success and a fulfilling life by overindulging them. Naturally, many young people would rather keep their options open and are not willing to compromise and accept just any first job. Unfortunately, they tend to ignore the need for saving and investing but are often more pre-occupied about the now and instant gratification.

Obviously there are also significant financial implications for parents who themselves have retired or are approaching retirement. The limited funds they have accumulated to be able to enjoy a secure and comfortable retirement after several years of sacrifice for their children are now being spent on grown up children.

Plan Ahead

There is the very real possibility that one or more of your children may return home for a while, so as you make projections as to the level of income you may require to sustain your retirement, keep this in mind; this will inevitably raise your monthly costs or could even delay your retirement plans. In your 40s or 50s, it is likely that you simultaneously have to bear the costs of caring for aging parents, continue to support your children and fund your own retirement.

Do not jeopardize your retirement

Although you may feel somewhat cash strapped from paying off your mortgage, raising and educating children, and perhaps shouldering some of the costs of care for your parents, be careful not to jeopardize your retirement savings; try to continue to budget, save and keep any debt under control so that you can retain your independence in your retirement years.

Set some parameters

If you have “boomerang” children, have a conversation to lay out terms or a broad understanding with clear parameters set. In some cultures, parents go as far as to draw up a formal contract to outline expectations and financial responsibilities. It is easy for children to slip back into the routine they had before they left home several years ago, but you should encourage them to contribute in some way towards the upkeep of the house; this might include contributing towards weekly groceries, petrol and utilities such as diesel, and cable TV if they are employed.

Encourage your children to have a clear financial plan to help them develop sound financial habits that will last them a life- time. Even whilst they are still under your wing, they can learn some strong lessons about the real world as they navigate the transition from young adulthood to financial independence.

Posted by Nimi Akinkugbe

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Mrs. Nimi Akinkugbe is currently the CEO of Bestman Games, founded in 2012, which brought the globally renowned 'Monopoly' board game to Nigeria. She served as the the Head of Private and Business Banking at Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc (formerly known as IBTC Chartered Bank plc). Mrs. Akinkugbe also served as Head of Asset Management and Private Banking Department of IBTC Chartered Bank plc. where she was responsible for IBTC Asset Management Limited. Nimi holds a Bachelor’s Degree from The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and an MBA from Lagos Business School. She is a Director at The Play Pen (Child Development Centre), The Daisy Management Centre and Bestman Games Ltd. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Ajumogobia Science Foundation, Women in Management & Business (WIMBIZ) and the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) Artistes Committee. In her free time, she enjoys playing the piano, writing, travel, boating and orchid gardening.

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