How Much Board Should You Charge Your Working Child
Whether you are dreading the day, or looking forward to it with eager anticipation, all our babies will eventually grow up. They will choose different paths and look to us for support and guidance, not to mention a helping hand now and then. Unfortunately, in this day and age, it is only realistic to recognise that most young adults will be staying at home for a lot longer than in previous generations, with housing and rental prices sky high and cost of living rising every day.
Whilst most parents acknowledge this and anticipate having a ‘full nest’ for longer, we also need to teach our older kids the responsibility of paying for accommodation and bills like they will eventually have to in the ‘real world’. Whether you choose to charge your young adult board to foster these life lessons or to actually lessen the financial load on the household, how do you actually calculate board specifically for your young adult?
Your definition of board can vary, dependent on what you expect from your young adult. If they pay a higher amount of board, are they expected to contribute to the running of the household and chores? Do they pay a percentage of food costs, laundry services and other home luxuries, or buy/do their own? Utilities included at what rate? If they are studying full time and working part time, how much do they pay (taking into consideration their school expenses)? Does it increase with age?
Another trap to avoid is when your child chooses to leave school and work. Many parents are happy for their child to contribute minimally to household finances when they are studying or training, however problems can arise when young adults go against their parents wishes and choose to work a minimum wage job instead of furthering their education. Try and respect your child’s choices and not force them into following your rules by charging them higher board. This usually results in young adults moving out and really struggling financially, which in turn can teach them lessons but usually damages the parent/child relationships irreparably.
Percentage Of Consumption
The most commonly used method of calculating board is working out your young adults percentage of consumption. Work out how much of the house space they occupy (include part of the bathroom, living areas and kitchen, parking space for a car etc) and calculate how much this is from your mortgage repayment. For example, if you have a mortgage repayment of $300 per fortnight and your boarder occupies 10% of the house in total, then charge them $30.
Then work out their percentage of utilities by simply dividing the total of the bill by how many people you have in your household. For example, a power bill of $450 divided by 5 people would equate to $90 a quarter ($30/month, $7.50/week). Food usually needs to be negotiated as young adult males tend to eat a lot more than females, and a lot more than their younger siblings, so a portion of the food and grocery bill (including laundry products, pantry staples etc) can be charged and specific food choices bought by the boarder.
This can get complicated though….
Percentage Of Income
Some parents base their board calculation on the income of the boarder. For example, most Australian parents charge their young adult $20 -$50 per week at first, especially if they are starting an apprenticeship or traineeship on minimum wages. This usually increases when the pay rate does, but very rarely exceeds $100 per week. Once your adult child is receiving a decent pay (defined as more than $600 per week) and chooses to stay at home, then the board rate should be negotiated between parents and boarder.
Cost Of Living and Housing
Another method of calculating board can be determining the median rental prices in your area and working out the cost to rent a percentage of your own property. However this method can be considered a bit unfair if you live in an affluent area with high housing prices. Should you choose to take this option, the best place to start is on a rental site or Gumtree to find out the cost of renting a furnished room in your area.
What Do You Do With The Money?
There are two schools of thought with board income. Some parents use it to subsidise costs around the home, which is perfectly justifiable given you are the landlord and the rising cost of living these days. Some parents however, choose to save the board money as forced savings for their child to get into the housing market, usually without their knowledge. Whatever you choose to do with the money you receive from your boarder, you need to ensure they pay it every week or fortnight without fail. This will reinforce the importance of paying your bills and rent/mortgage first and then luxuries after, setting them up for good habits when they leave (eventually) fly the nest!