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Should Mom Know Salary? Adult Child Living For Free.

Established Member

Should Mom Know Salary? Adult Child Living For Free.

I am a 30-year-old adult. I moved in with my mom and stepfather last year for several reasons, including brief unemployment and domestic abuse.
 
Although my mom would normally charge cheap rent ($400), she is allowing me to live rent-free. 
 
I am gainfully employed but I am searching for a primary full-time job again (along with a secondary, part-time position) because I need more revenue and I am not satisfied in my current role. 
 
My mom said she'll want to know how much my new salary is, when I receive an offer, just as she did when I accepted my current position 10 months ago. I think this is because she will use this information to determine if I should pay rent. 
 
This feels a bit problematic for me because she would have to know all the intimate details of my financial picture to gauge whether I can actually pay, and I do not want to disclose that. When I had about $15,000 in credit card debt, she d*mn near died. My debt is now more than double that amount. Currently, I can't even pay her standard $400 rent as my current salary pays less than my previous position and I am still dealing with the aftermath of being unemployed for a few months in 2017.
 
My knee-jerk reaction is to oppose disclosing my salary but I realize that may not be fair. 
 
I'm torn and I understand why someone would argue "yes" and why someone would argue "No." 
 
This is why I'm asking the question. What do you think? Should the parent offering rent-free housing be privy to their adult child's salary?
 
SOME MORE BACKGROUND
I moved back home last year (at 29) due to unemployment and an abusive roommate. We dated briefly. He never paid his share of the rent, contributed to household expenses or secured full-time employment. I was coerced and manipulated into paying his professional training-related expenses. However, due to state housing laws, I couldn't kick him out until I documented the domestic abuse and secured a police report, etc. But around the time I finally had a police report to show the leasing office, I lost my job. I used that as an opportunity to get out of that situation more easily, and he moved out when I moved out. 
 
When my roommate and I first moved into together, I had just moved back to my hometown and secured a better paying job. My mother wanted me to live with her long-term because she knew my new job paid $15,000 more than my previous position, and that, coupled with her cheap rent, would advance my debt-free journey. I seriously considered it but declined the offer because it came with too many stipulations and age-inappropriate rules. For example, she gave me a curfew, although I am a homebody that only goes out a couple times a month, if that. Mind you, I didn't have a curfew 10-14 years ago as a teenager because I NEVER went out. The rules bothered me. So, I did what any 29-year-old adult would do and found my own place ASAP. "You don't like the rules? Don't complain; leave." people often say. 
 
Well, I did that.
 
Now, here's the plot twist: she was upset because I didn't stay at her house. 
 
This reminds me of a dilemma I faced in college: She didn't want me to work part-time because she wanted me to focus on school full-time.
 
The plot twist? She barely wanted to give me spending money during the school year when I wasn't working my full-time paid summer internships. 
 
I feel she's using my vulnerabilities to force me to do what she wants but leaves me with piss-poor options.
 
I don't hate my mom and we get along 90% of the time. She is my biggest cheerleader and support person, but like many relationships, we have our issues...
 
I'm on a debt-free journey, y'all.
Message 1 of 16
15 REPLIES
Established Member

Re: Should Mom Know Salary? Adult Child Living For Free.

Oh, and trust me when I say that I'm working hard to fix this debt and save so that I'm never in this predicament again. This whole situation is a good example of why financial freedom is critical. Cat Sad

I'm on a debt-free journey, y'all.
Message 2 of 16
Frequent Contributor

Re: Should Mom Know Salary? Adult Child Living For Free.

Bottom Line Up Front: If you want to live with your parent for zero or low rent, then disclose your income.

If you were going to rent an apartment, a credit pull would be done and you’d have to disclose your income. Same if you were buying a house.

Is she (are they) taking advantage of your financial and/or personal situation to gain access to your personal information? Sure sounds like it. But that is more collateral to the issue of do you do as asked or not.

Remember, you are in control and can take your “business” wherever you’d like. However, whomever you deal with will also be somewhat intrusive. Adulting is hard, but be grateful you had a place to land, many people don’t and end up in far worse situations than you find yourself in currently.

Good luck!
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Message 3 of 16
Senior Contributor

Re: Should Mom Know Salary? Adult Child Living For Free.

Although I'm not going to comment on your overall situation, considering you are living rent free and I assume utility free, have access to food and the washer/dryer, in my opinion, you should be helping out as far as rent or overall cost of living. You may be able to get around full disclosure by just offering say $200 a month with a statement such as I wish I could pay you more, but I still need to pay a lot of bills or something like that. 

Message 4 of 16
Established Member

Re: Should Mom Know Salary? Adult Child Living For Free.


@ttulaw wrote:
Bottom Line Up Front: If you want to live with your parent for zero or low rent, then disclose your income.

If you were going to rent an apartment, a credit pull would be done and you’d have to disclose your income. Same if you were buying a house.

Is she (are they) taking advantage of your financial and/or personal situation to gain access to your personal information? Sure sounds like it. But that is more collateral to the issue of do you do as asked or not.

Remember, you are in control and can take your “business” wherever you’d like. However, whomever you deal with will also be somewhat intrusive. Adulting is hard, but be grateful you had a place to land, many people don’t and end up in far worse situations than you find yourself in currently.

Good luck!

Thank you. This is a really thoughtful response. Most housing setups require some level of disclosure. ;-)

I'm on a debt-free journey, y'all.
Message 5 of 16
Established Member

Re: Should Mom Know Salary? Adult Child Living For Free.


@pipeguy wrote:

Although I'm not going to comment on your overall situation, considering you are living rent free and I assume utility free, have access to food and the washer/dryer, in my opinion, you should be helping out as far as rent or overall cost of living. You may be able to get around full disclosure by just offering say $200 a month with a statement such as I wish I could pay you more, but I still need to pay a lot of bills or something like that. 


I'd be willing to pay a small rent to cover my Internet, printer, water, gas, and electricity usage, especially when my salary increases. 

 

As far as other household contributions, I do errands and have offered to help clean up the basement and garage largerly because I'm neater than everyone in my family. I pay for my own groceries and laundry detergent because I'm VERY particular about what I put in (and on) my body. 

I'm on a debt-free journey, y'all.
Message 6 of 16
Senior Contributor

Re: Should Mom Know Salary? Adult Child Living For Free.

As I said in my first post, I'm not going to weigh in on you living with your mother at age 30 or the other details of your post, nor am I making any judgments in your situation. 

 

Can your mom demand you show her your paycheck since she provides most of your living expenses for free, yes. Can you refuse which will lead to additional friction, yes. 

 

The advice I suggested to you was to offer to contribute something ($200?) with the explanation that it's all you can swing right now which might be enough to allow you to keep the peace long enough to get back on your feet over a period of time. 

Message 7 of 16
Established Contributor

Re: Should Mom Know Salary? Adult Child Living For Free.

I'll weigh in...The adult thing to have done years ago when you moved back to town with $15k in debt would have been to move back in with your mom and bite the bullet on her rules.  It was not forever and although you were the age of an adult, you were not in a position to go out on your own saddled with $15k in debt and an inability to make good headway in eliminating that debt.

 

Part of being an adult is making logical decisions that often have no room for emotional feelings.  You could have lived with her, wiped out the debt and now be in a much better financial situation, including living on your own.  Unfortunately, we cannot go back in time and this is not to come down hard on you about your past decisions.  We have all been there but you do need to realize the error and try to learn from it.

 

Now here you are with double the debt you had years ago.  The smart and logical thing to do would be to lay your cards on the table with your mom.  She seems pretty reasonable aside from that blurb about not wanting to help you while in school.  Tell her your income, and about your debt (whether you decided to give her the real amount is up to you but if not I hope you can keep your lies straight), and offer her an amount you can comfortably pay and pay down your debt.  If you moved out, any apartment complex will obtain that same information.  I know in your mind that is not the same since they are a stranger and you could probably care less what they think about you financially unlike your mom but you have to understand everyone goes through difficulities.  Yes, she will probably be upset and may fuss but it's probably what you need to hear anyway and will motivate you further to not ever find yourself in this predicament again.

 

Well that was my dime and I spilled it.  Good luck to you!

***Gardening 3/29/2018 until 9/25/2018***

FICO 8 Scores: EQ~692 l TU~657 l EX~669
Message 8 of 16
Established Contributor

Re: Should Mom Know Salary? Adult Child Living For Free.

I would suggest using a home affordability calculator, I usually google "how much house can i afford". 

Enter your salary, your monthly debt,  debt to income at 40%,  term length shouldn't matter. Zero everything else (interest might not allow 0, so put in .1% if it doesn't)

 

it should then pop up with a monthly payment amount. This is the amount of rent you can afford.  While stil disclosing your monthly debt obligations, you will not need to disclose your total debt amount to your mother.

 

As you pay down your debt, or recieve raises, you can also revisit this to adjust your rent payments. I would argue to your mother that this amount represents the maximum you can pay without creating financial risk for yourself. There is a reason why lenders won't usually allow you to go over a certain Debt to Income percentage.

Message 9 of 16
Established Member

Re: Should Mom Know Salary? Adult Child Living For Free.


@pipeguy wrote:

As I said in my first post, I'm not going to weigh in on you living with your mother at age 30 or the other details of your post, nor am I making any judgments in your situation. 

 

Can your mom demand your show her your paycheck since she provides most of your living expenses for free, yes. Can you refuse which will lead to additional friction, yes. 

 

The advice I suggested to you was to offer to contribute something ($200?) with the explanation that it's all you can swing right now which might be enough to allow you to keep the peace long enough to get back on your feet over a period of time. 


I understand. I admit I'm a little hypersensitive about the situation, and I misread the sentence about how contributing $200 would be smart and fair in this scenario. Thanks for the advice! ;-)

I'm on a debt-free journey, y'all.
Message 10 of 16