Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

My son graduated engineering college several months ago. He wanted
some time off before starting his job search but moved to a nearby
city which was his first choice of where to live and rented a room from
a former housemate and his girlfriend. Long story short: they broke up
and now she and my son are in love. I vastly prefer her to his previous
gal. Now the two of them want to move to our town and specifically to
the apartment rental that’s been vacant all summer while we did
repairs. They are both in job-hunting mode and want to pay as little as
possible. The only downside to his new flame is that she didn’t have a
break between guys and they are starting off living together,
something I’d have cautioned against but here they are. I normally
rent the apartment for $600 and was half-thinking of turning it into an
AirB&B but hadn’t decided. They are willing to take jobs in our city or
the college town an hour up the road (their first choice). What should I
charge them? My friends think I’m being a softie when I say nothing,
but his college cost us very little because of academic scholarships,
and we all live very simply.


Dear Momma:

There’s nothing bad about helping your child launch into adulthood,
especially if he’s a good kid and you haven’t showered him with an
expensive up-bringing. Lots of children in transition return home
without being burdened with an exaggerated sense of entitlement.
Looking for work is painful and arduous. In his case perhaps more so
as the low-hanging fruit of entry level jobs were probably plucked by
the folks who began looking in June or even before graduation.


I’d recommend a multi-tiered approach. In month one through
Thanksgiving, give them free to ultra-low rent in exchange for helping
with fall cleaning and garden cleanup, plus make them responsible for
cooking one superb meal a week (where cooking includes shopping and
cleanup). Between Thanksgiving and January 1, double the rent. If
they don’t have jobs by the beginning of the year, sit down with them
and discuss what market value is and what you are giving up. Then
agree on what they will pay. You might also say that a requirement of
the deal is that you will help each with their resume. Note: Good
prospective daughters-in-law are hard to come by. I’d say err on the
side of generosity until they have a solid start in their new lives.