There was a time when children would leave home. Boys often as young as grade 8 would be sent out in the world to make their way. While I can't imagine my 13 year old son being sent packing for more than his week at summer camp, I also cannot imagine him still being under my roof at age 30. Then again, I have a plan . . .
We have been investing in real estate for almost 7 years now. The intention being that we have something to leave to our kids. That was the initial intention anyway. Now we may not wait so long. Our idea has morphed in the past few months and years as we have contemplated this "failure to launch" syndrome. What if instead of our child being sent out into the great big world to fend for themselves and struggle and claw until they find their feet, we give them a leg up? I'm seeing it work a few ways. . .
1) If they aren't ready to quite leave the nest when they graduate, they can stay - but start contributing to the family finances . . . . something coming out of their pocket so it isn't SOOOOO comfortable for them to stay. 25-35% of what they bring home (depending on how badly we want them to move on). Put this money into an account for them so that when they are ready to leave they will have a downpayment for their first home.
2) If they are ready to leave, put a downpayment on a home where they can begin building equity. 5% isn't that much. We are fortunate enough to live close to the U of M where students are often looking for just a room, but this could work almost anywhere. The idea: rent out the other bedrooms of the house to students to help (or completely) pay for the mortgage. By the time they are ready to take it over on their own, they will have had years of help from others in paying down their mortgage and will not have spent their money on rent.
If all this fails to launch our children . . . we plan to change the locks!