Buzzword: Boomerang Children

Consumer Reports News: May 29, 2008 01:16 PM

What it means. Boomerang children refers to the growing number of young adults who have moved back into their parents’ home after time out of the house, say at a four-year stint at college.

Why the buzz? With the latest crop of college grads having gone through the pomp and circumstance of commencement, a new flood of able-bodied college grads has entered the workforce. Or not. With the “r word”—recession—on every economist’s lips and the U.S. unemployment rate ticking upward, job prospects are less than stellar for the class of 2008.

So rather than light out for the big city in pursuit of entry-level positions, affordable digs, and the sort of twenty-something scraping-by that previous generations accepted as a matter of course, many in the millennial generation are bringing it all back home.

Boomeranging has its supporters and its critics. The pro camp views it as a way for parents and children to forge healthy adult relationships. Those against call the trend perilous pampering that curbs motivation and paves the way for generational conflict.

Consumer Reports can’t settle the debate, but we can help keep the peace by guiding boomerang households through a few potentially key purchases, including:

Mattress
Now that the home office or exercise space you planned or even created has to be turned back into a bedroom, you might be in the market for a new mattress. The process can be perplexing, but our mattresses buying guide tells you what you need to know.

Interior Paint
That reconverted room might need a fresh coat of paint, but who knows how long this boomerang will last? Read our latest report on interior paints, which looks at the issue of one-coat coverage for finishes.

Organizers
After four years of dorm living or, worse, fraternity/sorority rules, your boomerang child may not be so handy with a hanger. So read our report on closet organizers, which includes Ratings of different systems and tips for installing them. The same report covers garage organizers, handy if you suddenly find yourself short on storage space.

Computers
A new computer will help a young B.A. get gainfully employed—or at least keep a Facebook page up to snuff. Our colleagues in the Electronics franchise recently put the latest laptops and desktops through their paces. Check out the results in their report.—Daniel DiClerico

Essential information: The Money page on ConsumerReports.org contains advice on all things financial, including paying for college and planning for retirement—without kids at home.




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