I’m 22, which means I’m a few years past Legal Adult, and definitely should be moving towards (or past?) Emotional Adult as well. But for some reason, the fact that I’m moving out of my parents’ house at the beginning of the new year is actually quite scary to me, and I think it is because it feels like not a lot of people my age are actually doing it. And I totally understand why, and completely empathize with it. But it does give me a certain level of anxiety, because I’m worried I’ll be setting myself up for a poor financial future.
There was a period of time where I felt incredibly insecure about the fact that I didn’t live on my own yet, because I assumed that once a person hits their 20s, they’ve gotten their shit together enough to move out of their family home and start a life of their own. This obviously wasn’t the case for me, and I felt bad about myself, because I (for some reason) was positive that it was the case for everyone around me.
I was actually quite wrong. The more I talk to friends, classmates, and other ~young millennials~ around my age, the more I hear the same story of, “Yeah, I want to move out, but…I still live with my parents, because it is too expensive.”
Now, I’m finding myself insecure for the opposite reason. I wonder if I’m rushing to grow up and get out of my parents’ home, where, to be honest, we truly have no issues. We all get along, we’re all doing fine financially and have a good setup, we all genuinely enjoy each other’s company, and I’m able to save up money for Future Mary.
Moving out is something I’m doing because I want to live with Drew, and I want to live in a location that is closer to my school, and places where I work. I feel ready, and I’m excited, but there is still that little part of me that feels terrified — like I’m trying too hard to grow up and get out, and like I’m totally jumping the gun and underestimating my preparedness for True Adulthood.
Obviously, we’ll see in due time how it all works out, (and I’ll likely update TFD every step of the way!), so for now I need to just calm down and let life happen. But in true Mary fashion, I decided to ask some peers and classmates who do still live at home (and don’t plan on leaving the nest anytime soon) why their living situation is the way it is, and how they make it work.
I asked everyone why (and how) they still live at home, and here’s what they had to say.
1. “Well, for starters, it is because I lost my job. So it is less ‘still living at home’ and more ‘living at home again.’ I didn’t live at home during college because my school was far, and my parents did fund my lifestyle for a while but eventually my apartment was paid for in loans and money I made at my own part-time job. After I graduated, I stayed for a bit, but I did end up losing the part-time job — it was at a little shop that ended up closing — and my parents were like ‘yeah, you’re 26 now’ lol. Which is totally true, they obviously shouldn’t have swooped in and saved me and paid my rent. So I moved back home, got a job closer to home, and am paying them to help out with the expenses of having me live there again, as well as saving with the goal of hopefully moving in the summer of 2017.” – Zoe, 26
2. “I can’t even close to afford living on my own. I am in grad school and I do have a job also, but my student loans are ridiculous. So, I can’t really work as much as I’d like to while I’m in my grad program, so I live with my family still. Hopefully, once I’m done with graduate school, I’ll be able to get a full-time job and have time for a side-job to help me move out, support myself and all of that while paying a ridiculous student loan.” – Tim, 24
3. “Every day is a struggle in the delicate balance between my parents and I loving and respecting each other, and literally wanting to hurt each other. Me being home, they’re doing me a huge favor. It does put a certain amount of pressure on me to succeed and do everything I can to be less of a burden, so I often feel guilty if I spend a few hours relaxing or something. I don’t want them to think oh, she’s just being lazy and that’s why she’s here.” – Leah, 23
4. “I know why I live with them — I don’t have a great job. I took a few years off from school, so I am still in school, and I work part-time. Once I graduate I’ll move. But man, I know why I live there, but I don’t know how sometimes, because they do drive me kind of crazy. It was different when I was 19 or 20, and I would call and say ‘can I go out tonight?’ or something, but now I’m 26 and I’m like okay, I shouldn’t have to ask. There is a lot of tension because I feel so independent, but I’m very much financially dependent. It feels like there are strings attached to everything I do, and there are — I’m grateful for their help while I’ve gone through a lot to figure out what to do with my life. But it is also just a ton of emotional work.” – Lindsay, 26
5. “I live with them for two important reasons: 1) I do not want to live alone, and 2) to save money. To be honest, I have plenty of money, I have a great job that I got right out of undergrad, and I am satisfied with my personal financial situation, but I don’t really feel like it is my time to move. I don’t like to be alone, and I’m single so I wouldn’t be living with anyone. I’m also not too interested in having a craigslist roommate or something like that. I like my family, we get along, and I’m putting good money away before I actually do move out on my own. I think I’ll feel a lot more confident about like, starting a life by myself (or maybe eventually with someone) if I’ve got a solid emergency fund, a good amount in my savings account, etc. So it isn’t out of necessity — I live with them because I like it, and it makes sense right now.” – Catherine, 25
6. “I mean, I graduated nearly a year ago so I’m in a grace period, but I live at home because I haven’t gotten my shit together to move. It requires so much money, or roommates, and a career to be honest. I have a job and I do work full-time, but working full-time at $9/hour is like, hardly enough to cover my student loans and bills like my insurance, car payment, phone bill…I want to blame this all on how ridiculously, stupidly expensive education is in the states. It is unbelievable, because I really was told I kind of had to go to college to be successful, but I’m also 25 and I live at home and don’t see myself having the money to afford moving in the next few years. But here’s hoping!” – Ben, 25
7. “Well I didn’t have family money or anything, when it came to school I had to take on lots of loans. I worked to pay off what I could as I was in school, but it wasn’t enough, and I graduated with a good pile of debt. I’m with my family now because it is just hard to try and launch your career and solo-life when you’ve got a $600/month student debt payment. It feels like doubling what my potential rent would cost me, and I just don’t think I was entirely prepared for it. I’d like to do some savings and maybe refinance. If I could have done it differently, I would have lived home and commuted to school to save. Most of my tuition was actually just room and board.” – Paul, 25
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