The rise of the boomerang generation


Bouncing back: More adults, like Tom Harle, have returned home to live with their parents to save money

ADULTS are moving back to their parents’ homes to save money.

From the ashes of the economic crisis, the boomerang generation has risen.

They are adults who return home to live with their parents and the trend is expected to become even more pronounced as the financial downturn deepens.

Tom Harle, 26, a final year graphic communication student at University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, moved back from Brighton to his parent’s house in Ovington Terrace, Llandaff, Cardiff, in September 2006 because he could no longer afford to pay rent in Brighton, where he had been working and studying at Sussex University.

He said:  “Moving home was quite tense at first because I had been used to planning my own time but we’ve got into it now.

“I have to let my parents know when I’m going to be coming in late, but even if you have housemates you have to consider the noise.”

Tom earns his keep by helping with housework and paying for food. Until recently he also had a part time job managing a flyering team at Tiger Tiger, Cardiff, which he quit to focus on the final part of his degree.

“Living at home allowed me to save more in term-time, and not just work full time in the holidays,” he said. Last year, he did a work placement in New York.

After his course, he wants to go to London but in the current financial climate, doesn’t think he will be able to afford rent.The pressure is also on because his parents, who were hoping to retire soon, also support his 22-year-old sister Cathy at university.

He said: “I do want to get on the property ladder but I’m worried about the fact I have got £20,000 worth of debt, which makes it more difficult to get a mortgage. It is not at the front of my mind. My main concern is getting a stable job.”

Tom’s mother, Annabel Harle, 58, who is the director in Wales of the Electoral Reform Society, said she thought Tom had made a sensible decision.     But she said:  “At the moment, more than half of my take home pay goes directly on matters relating to the children.

“Just moving home is not the issue.  Once we have retired we won’t be able to support them, and that is to do with what they are earning not where they live.”

“When I went to university, it wasn’t necessary for parents to supplement the grant if you had a full grant. But now, if you have a full loan, it is, so it is not enough to live on.

“It would be foolish to live away from home when you’ve got people living in an area who are your family and can put you up. I am sure most parents feel like that.

“I always thought I would retire when I was 60, but we will see how that goes.”

Tom also thinks the rise of the boomerang generation could have a side effect on young people’s behaviour in the workplace.
He said: “I think there’s a maturity which comes with balancing your own salary and housing commitments and bills and less of us are going to have that as we start trying to be ‘grown ups’ in work.

I don’t think it’s really been long enough to see how that will work out yet, but it could be interesting.”


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