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Home » Budgeting, Live, Student Finances

Should you Move Back Home with your Parents? (85% of this year’s grads planned to!)

Last updated by on 15 Comments

According to CNN, 85% of college seniors plan to move back in with their parents. That number is up from 67% in 2006. The rise is almost surely due to the recession and how competitive the market is for the limited number of jobs being filled.

But is moving in with your parents good or bad?

I did it. I don’t regret it. And I did have a job.

Sure, it lasted only 10 months. It wasn’t the worst or the best 10 months of my life, but in the end I was able to save up some cash!

There is a negative stigma placed on those who do it, as the grads are often portrayed as lazy, not ready for the real world, or dependent on their parents for survival. And even on the parents side there seems to be a negative stigma that the parents are too overbearing or not ready to handle the emotional effect that comes with sending their ‘baby’ out into the jungle.

In many cases some of that might be true, but there are certainly positives as well. Each situation deserves its own analysis. Here are my thoughts on the ups and the downs of moving in with the parents.

moving in with the parents

Pros to Moving in with Parents

1. Money

If you do have a job, you’ll have some time to build up an emergency savings fund or other reserves, or simply pay off that debt you accumulated in college. If you don’t have a job, you should be spared from racking up too much debt, if any. This is the whole point of moving back in, right? It’s a safety net or launching pad at a time when you really don’t have any cash.

2. Stress Relief

Those just starting their first real job out of school are going to feel some stress, particularly the ones who feel like they need to overwork themselves to get recognition. And there is nothing more stressful than being unemployed or under-employed. Having to not worry about bills, insurance, finding a place to live, and everything else right away, does give some much needed stress relief. Of course, if your parents are all up in your business every day, this pro disappears pretty quick.

3. Mobility

If you do not have a job lined up or can’t find one right away, you need to be able to stay mobile so that you don’t get stuck having to break a lease or something worse. Moving back home affords you the luxury of mobility, which could be the key component you need in order to expand your job search and find a job.

Honorable Mention: Your Second Chance to Learn how to Cook

You didn’t appreciate mom’s (or sometime dad’s) home-cooking when in high school, but after years of Ramen noodles, your perspective has surely changed. Use this as an opportunity to learn a thing or two about how to expand your culinary repertoire.

Cons to Moving in with Parents

1. Responsibility (lack of it)

I don’t know what it is about going back home around the holidays now, but my goal usually to do nothing but eat, drink, lay on the couch, and absorb the warmth from a fire. And that’s all fine and dandy once or twice a  year (I think), but… you get the idea. It’s very tempting to get lazy when you’re living in another’s home, particularly when they make you feel guilty for trying to help out.

2. Self-Respect (lack of it)

There are definitely positives that come as a result from simply toughing it out on your own from the first time. It pushes to you mentally and emotionally mature quicker than you might otherwise if you’re still living on your parent’s dime. And it’s hard to have feelings of high self worth if your mother is still folding your underwear at the age of 25.

3. Urgency (lack of it)

When you move back in, give yourself a time-line. And then evaluate things when that time is up. I have seen friends extend their welcome from weeks to months to year after year at home because of how much easier it is than living on their own. And if one is not careful, you can get comfortable, and lose all motivation to go out and push yourself to make a living on your own. When you have to pay the bills and you have no fallback, you tend to pick up your job-searching game significantly.

Moving Back Home Discussion:

  • Did you move back home? Tell us your story, along with pros and cons.
  • How long did you live at home?
  • Why did you move back home? Was it to find a job first or otherwise?

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15 Comments »
  • Bryan says:

    Moved back home after graduation after turning down job offers in small cities in January of this year. Found a job close to home (major city) somewhat relevant to my career choice 3 months later and then moved out after a total of 8 months living at home.

    Pros: Paid off 2k in CC debt and saved some emergency moeny. I also had more money to fix things that I had put off, such as cavities and car problems. ‘Free’ dinners

    Cons: Watchful eyes of parents. The nagging. Could not wait to move out.

  • Julie says:

    I never actually “moved back” to my parent’s house–I went to college in NYC (where I live, and we didn’t have dorms), so I never left.

    I graduated June 2009, and I still live at home. I’m planning on moving out with my boyfriend once he gets a job. We’re definitely eager to move out on our own, but not before we are financially ready to do so.

    Why haven’t I moved out? I guess because my house is very nice, nicer than any apartment I could get. And I love saving money–the money I would be paying in rent is currently going into my savings account. I do pay one bill in my house, but it’s not because my mom needs my money–more so I can be just slightly less of a freeloader. I buy my own groceries as well.

    The worst part of living at home is having to come home to my mom, her boyfriend, my 7 month old half brother, and occasionally my grandmother (who babysits and does not live with us). I grew up as an only child to a working single mother and I’m used to being alone.

    I can’t wait to move out, but at the same time, I’m going to miss all that money going to my savings account. And I can’t imagine cooking in a kitchen half the size of mine (which is what I’ll experience when I move to the city), and not relaxing on the expensive bed and couches which my mother can afford, but I don’t really want to spend money on at this point in my life. I’ll have to get used to a lower quality of life. And I won’t get to see my brother and grandmother as often. Visiting Brooklyn will become a trip, as opposed to a part of my daily life.

  • Honey says:

    This has never made sense to me, mostly because I hated my hometown. Moving back after college would have cost more than I would have saved because I would have had to cancel my lease in the city I was living in and move over a hundred miles back home, at which point I wouldn’t have even been applying for a SINGLE job in that town.

    When I went to grad school, I moved over 2500 miles away to do it, so it’s even less feasible now than it was before. Plus the older I get, the less I find appealing about my hometown. I haven’t lived at home since the summer after my freshman year, and I haven’t been home even for a visit since 2007, mostly because I can’t afford it. If I can’t afford to get there for a visit, how could I move all my things?

  • Megan says:

    I moved back home for almost 3 months, but I knew from the start my situation would be temporary. I had received a job offer 4 days prior to graduation in May, but my lease was up in August. I moved home after my lease was up and took the time at home as an opportunity to:

    1. Save money
    pend quality time with my family who I hadn’t lived with for quite awhile. I loved every minute of it, don’t regret it, and would tell anyone strapped for cash who has recently graduated, not to rule it out.

  • Brad says:

    I may sound like the ultimate moocher, but I live at home still. I never moved out and lived at home through college (which I went to for free on scholarship, so I have no debt whatsoever). After graduation, I took a great job located about an hour away from home (in traffic). The way I see it, gas is cheaper than rent! While I am at home I am building a significant down payment for a home. Do I feel a little guilty for staying at home? Sure. Do my parents want me to move out? Not yet! In my situation, since they aren’t encouraging me to move out, I think I will live with my parents for a while longer until I can purchase my own home with a large down payment (30-50%).

  • nyguy says:

    Here on Long Island, NY it seems a lot of people live at home after university to try to get ahead. There are also the other people who probably stay at home just so they can spend their money at bars, and not take on adult responsibility.

    With the average rent being $1200-$1800 for a one bedroom apartment in someone’s basement or upstairs is normal, the property tax to purchase a home here could be $7000-$1200 a year for a small 3 bedroom home in a middle class neighborhood.

    Couple all the high cost of living factors in, and you have a recipe for many 20 something’s living with their folks until they’re in there 30’s. The ones that have their parents pay for college, get a great job can hack it to move out and rent an apartment for a few years while trying to save for a home. Trying to save 20% on a $350,000+ is a hard goal for most that haven’t had help from parents or an inheritance or somehow got a $100,000+ job and had no school loans.

    In conclusion, I lived at home with my parents for a few years and saved and saved. I now live in a very nice apartment complex and still paying student loans, and saving for engagement ring and wedding costs as well as that 20% down payment on a home.

    I wonder why I haven’t left NY for an easier life, but I think it’s all-relative and it’s a struggle anywhere worth living in a place that provides the quality of life long island offers.

  • Honey says:

    nyguy, that was a very interesting comment! In some ways, living at home vs not is like renting vs buying. It is almost always cheaper to live at home (or rent) than to live on your own (or buy), but what you have to ask is, are you saving the difference so that you can eventually move out (buy, invest in retirement, etc.). It sounds like you are, but I think there are many people who SAY that’s why they’re doing it, but they are going out every night and living it up as you say. So these people give it a bad name for everyone else.

  • Julie says:

    nyguy,

    You’re right. I also know people who justify living with their parents by pointing out just how little they are home. I come home at 6:30, then grab a snack, and go to my room, which I don’t come out of for the rest of the night unless I need to go to the bathroom or get a drink. On weekends, I sleep at my boyfriend’s house. So it does seem silly to spend $1,500 a month just so I can do that without having my mom in the next room. I know people who are home even less than I am. If you don’t have super-annoying parents, it does make sense. Then again I know people who cannot leave their house without a 20-min questioning by their parents about where they are going, so for those people, it may be worth it to pay for freedom.

  • htric says:

    I live at home. My mom paid for my college and now I have to pay her back. So, I pay her $700 dollars every month. It will be 4 more years till I’m done paying. I will increase the payments as I get raises at my full time job, but I am trying to get out of here as fast as I can. She lived at home till she was 30, and sees no reason for me to move out any earlier unless I get married.

  • Lavin says:

    I’m glad to read all of the comments from people in similar situations to mine. I graduated in May ’09 from an out-of-state school and moved back home. I worked for the family business (my dad is a home builder) for three months while searching for a job in finance. I started my current job on a trading desk two towns over from my house in September ’09. My commute is a 10-15 minute drive. I live in my parents’ guest room which has its own bathroom/shower, which is right next to the company office so I can still work part-time to help out my father. My parents are by no means pushing me out, but I am getting anxious to get out on my own again. The only problem is that I’m still 35K in student debt, after graduating with 55K. It’s a no-brainer living home until I can chip that number down to a manageable number, and I think we’ll see most graduates these days do the same, unless they come from money and didn’t have to pay a dime, earned a scholarship, or attended a local or instate school. Obviously there are pros and cons, and I agree with those posted in this article, but in the end, money talks, and for young people like us, money doesn’t shut up.

  • Matt says:

    I graduated in 2008 and lived at home for three months before moving out. My primary reason for moving out was the commute from my parents’ was killing me and I moved to an apartment 15 minutes from work. Sometimes I regret that decision, thinking about the money I could have saved living at home but I know my sanity and having my own space was definitely worth it.

    For the record, my parents are great and have had no problem with me or any of my siblings moving back home for short periods.

  • Emily R. says:

    I had a similar situation to htric and Matt.

    I graduated college in ’07 with my ideal job offer that happened to be in the same megalopolis that my parents lived in. Even though I could have afforded to live on my own, I moved back in with them because I thought it would be nice to spend more time with them and my siblings after being 3000 miles away for all of college. While I wasn’t paying rent, I did give my parents a rent-equivalent amount to help them pay down the parent loans they had accrued for my college education (my own loans were and continue to be in deferment). I knew I would be applying to start graduate school after one year at my job, so there was a firm timeline on the situation.

    The pros were that I saved money on food and furniture and didn’t have to deal with finding a new living situation concurrent with starting my new job. I was also able to live car-free because on the two or three times a month I needed a car I could borrow one of my parents’ cars, and that saved me a lot of money and hassle. The cons were that my commute to work was very long (1.5 hrs each way) and that I didn’t get along with my family nearly as well as I had envisioned. I had become accustomed to a certain amount of independence during college that my parents didn’t see the need to grant me.

    Six months into my year at that job I moved closer to my work with some people I had met there, and my relationship with my family immediately improved (and they still let me borrow a car on occasion so I could continue to live car-free). If I had to do it over again, I would probably only have lived with my parents long enough to find a good house/apartment with good roommates (probably could have done it within a month). I also feel a little embarrassed about being such a cliche, although in 2007 it wasn’t quite the cliche it would become.

  • Nathalie says:

    I’m also graduated and have been living with my prents since because I have no other choice. The main reason for this situation is that I want to pay back the student loans that I took and it helps me save a lot of money as I don’t have to pay for the rent. I know that I also like the fact I don’t have to cook and my mom is still tidying my room but cost of living is such that for a fresh graduate I think it’s the best way to do. I plan to leave in 3 years.

  • Colin says:

    It seems that there is a stigma in American Society dealing with 20 somethings living with their parents. I think the important part of living with your parents is to be productive and working to attain financial independence. I would rather have 5/10 college grads living with their parents and working towards being more successful and independent than 5/10 college grads lacking the financial means to achieve any goals. If you look at countries like India and China, home ownership is at a better rate for those in their 30’s than here in the U.S, yet our economy has a larger supply of jobs. I think a large part of this has to do with having a family as a financial safety net rather than living off of the government’s “safety net”. Occasionally, people have to make sacrifices in order to achieve “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.

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