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New Trend: Moving In With Your Parents

This article was written by in People. 20 comments.


The recession can shape a generation. With many college graduates over the past few years unable to find jobs right away, many opted to move from campus back home with mom and dad. The proliferation of this trend has led to concepts like the Boomerang Generation and Prolonged (or Extended) Adolescence. Both refer to the idea that young adults are not gaining the maturity and independence they’ll need to function well later on in life.

I disagree. College graduates, for the most part, do not want to move back in with their parents, and will only do so as a last resort. I have some personal experience. After college, I lived with my father for a few months before finding a roommate to live with. Several years later, after going broke working for an arts organization, I eventually accepted defeat and moved back in with my father one more time — for four months.

This was the beginning of my financial awakening. I got back on my feet quickly and moved out as soon as I could; at this point, I didn’t want to be a burden to anyone. Those who have fallen victim to the Boomerang Generation probably have the same point of view; this living arrangement is a temporary solution and is not impeding the development of a capable, independent approach to living.

I know I’m much better for this non-traditional living situation. I was lucky both times to have the opportunity to get myself started or restarted. Some people are not as lucky. The New York Times recently featured an article about a young married couple with a young daughter who moved in with the mother’s parents’ house due to unemployment. The living situation is difficult, and it probably illustrates the difference between one family moving in with what is in effect another family and one individual moving in.

In the New York Times example, the parents who opened their house to the second and third generation of their family were having financial struggles of their own — not far-fetched in this economy that is supposedly in recovery but still sports high unemployment. A tough financial situation, tight living quarters, and philosophical differences particularly when raising a young child all contribute to making this situation volatile. This is a colorful example of how this type of living situation can tear a family apart.

I think families should continue to support each other to the best of their abilities. How could parents refuse to help when their children’s other option is a homeless shelter? I’m pretty sure that I could have survived either time if I had to live on my own, but I would have had to rely on credit for meeting my everyday expenses, including rent. Not everyone is as fortunate as I was, and for those who aren’t, a homeless shelter is the only other possibility.

Is it a good idea to move back with your parents? The answer seems to be, like it usually is, that it depends on the situation. From a financial perspective, having an “easy” living situation with minimal expenses could be what someone needs to get a start — or a fresh start — particularly in a difficult economy. On the other hand, personalities can clash and it could ruin relationships.

Would you offer to share your living space with your adult children, and possibly their family, if their financial condition deteriorated? Would you consider moving you or your family in with your parents if your income and savings dried up?

New York Times

Published or updated December 29, 2010. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Financial Samurai

I see kids thriving living at home with Mom and Dad. Thriving to the point they are 27-28 year old lawyers making good money living with them. My post on “How To Get Girls If You Live At Home With Mom And Dad” is an ode to all the ballers out there doing both!

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,365 (Platinum)

As long as everyone’s comfortable with the living situation, why not keep it going? It does depend on the people’s individual needs as I mentioned in the article; what works for one family might not work for another. Actively dating at the same time is a whole other issue.

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avatar Joe

Living at home with your parents is actually my #1 suggestion on a recent article called “How to Save Money After College Graduation”. I have been out on my own since graduation college but am jealous of how much money the “boomerangers” are able to save.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,365 (Platinum)

Yeah, if you see yourself as competing with your peers, those who don’t have rent or a mortgage to pay — or those lucky ones who don’t have to pay for anything when living at home — seem to have an unfair advantage.

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avatar TakeitEZ ♦549 (Dime)

I would definitely allow a family member and their family to live in my apartment if they were in dire need. That is what family is all about. I know it could be difficult but you should be there for your family as long as they are respectful of your household. Also, I would only go back to my parent’s home if it was a last resort, but would do it.

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avatar Will @ HackingTheBank.com ♦258 (Nickel)

I’d have to say I agree with Joe. Having graduated in May and started my job in August, I can see the difference between what my peers who live with their parents are able to save and what I am able to save. A majority of them are absolutely terrible savers, so I outpace those easily. Some, however, are able to really stack up the cash. If my parents lived in the city I’m in, I would definitely opt to live with them. It is really going to depend on your family’s situation though and the relationship you have with them. I know my parents would absolutely LOVE to have me home with them. I don’t consider it a last-resort move at all. I think it’s a smart, fiscal decision if you’re able to do it and it’s mutually beneficial to both you and your family.

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avatar Jeff

I’m 27 years old, a recent college grad (older due to military service), living with my parents, and loving it. I make 45k/year and this year I’ve saved 20k all post tax, I can’t participate in my company 401k for a few more months. I pay the power bill at home and help out with cleaning, my family had too much house when I was living there, 4br/2ba is definitely far too big for just 2 people so they definitely welcome me back home. From a purely financial point of view, it’s a definite win win for both sides. We both pay less bills than we would if I lived on my own.

I love love love my savings. It gives me incredible flexibility. How many people here wish they had 100k in FDIC protected assets when the stock market crashed? You could have invested big. If nothing big presents itself in 5 or 6 years I can buy a house, if something does I can probably afford to live on my own without reducing my savings rate too much (assuming I get raises during these 5 years).

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avatar Mike

As an Asian-American I still don’t understand why there is such a stigma about this here in the U.S. If your intentions are to pay down debt or save for a house, I don’t see why your parents would object. Personally, if my parents wanted me to take care of them after retirement, I wouldn’t object either. Family first after all.

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avatar eric ♦1,549 (Half-Dollar)

Mike,

The Asian culture and others too definitely provide a different (and necessary I think) insight into this topic. Living with your parents after graduation or having them live with you in old age is sometimes expected if not the norm. I think “Americans” typically shun the idea and encourage independence as soon as possible. But of course that’s far from the case when your family and culture values intergenerational familiar ties in a much more dependent fashion.

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avatar Jenna

I’m living with my mom to save up money to buy a house. Usually things go really well, but I’m getting antsy to move out and get my own place.

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avatar Sandy @ yesiamcheap

I’m now 32 and if my mother had her way, I’d be living at home with my parents. Indeed, my brother is a year younger than I am and he does. The fact is that sometimes you have no choice but most of us in financial distress view living at home as the absolute last resort above living in your car. The situation with my brother is different but mutually beneficial for the both of them. My mom has a built in baby sitter for my young sister and someone to contribute to bill paying. My brother travels and might be away for a month at a time and doesn’t own much “stuff” so he really wouldn’t have much for more than one room. Sometimes it just works out I guess.

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avatar Yo Yo MaMa

My grown children are always more than welcome to share the household, and in fact, they have, from time-to-time, through the years. I feel that it is, as stated by others, a win-win. Help out when, how and if you can, from both child and parent perspective. Of course, it is a feeling of pride and accomplishment when kids are launched but its a grand gesture and a wonderful feeling to be there for the people you love, in any capacity. Even just because you love them! We’re proud of our kids no matter what. Life is short, enjoy your family.

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avatar twentysomethingmoney

I think it really depends on the family dynamics. Personally, I lived at home as I went to school… then got a job, and moved out, and would never move back home. It just doesn’t work out, and my lifestyle and their lifestyle conflict to much to make it work. But I’m fine with that — I cut the cord, and now see them every couple weeks.

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avatar Mrs. Accountability

Moving back home was never an option for me, but I would always welcome my grown children home. Actually, our oldest will live with us for his entire life because he is disabled. Our 21 year old is still at home, chomping at bit at the reins and making noises about moving out every so often. He does pay about 25% of his take home pay for rent, and is proud to do so. I don’t think a parent does their adult children any favors when they allow them to live home for free and spend all their money willy-nilly just because they don’t have any bills. Even if they are saving every bit of their money, it still costs more money to have an extra body in the house. I imagine one day my mother will live with me, as she doesn’t have any retirement income or savings and I won’t be putting her in a rest home. I always thought the Walton’s was a neat show…

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avatar Heather

I would rather live in my car than live with my parents, but that’s more about their toxicity than anything.

In my opinion, as long as all adults are contributing to a household and everyone is OK with everyone who is living there, it’s all good.

I know too many 20-somethings who are living at home and contribute nothing: they’re not working, they’re not helping around the house, nothing. (But whose fault is that…?) I know one who is not living at home but is also not working — mom just keeps the checking account stocked.

But if parents and kids are all living together, and everyone does something (contributes money, chores, etc.), why not?

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avatar Darwin's Money

I just assumed I’d land something right out of school and never even contemplated ever moving back home after the college experience – and things worked out that way for me. But that was a decent job market back in the 90s. These days, kids have a rude awakening. Out of necessity, practically every college grad in our neighborhood (our old babysitters) have had to move back in with mom and dad. While most of them land something, it’s not what they planned – and not enough to leave the nest. I wonder if this is a temporary thing or a new normal in this economy. We can barely grow jobs enough to budge the unemployment rate; we may be looking at a lost generation.

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avatar Karim

As an Asian-American myself I see no problem with living with parents after graduation. By doing so, I am able to look after my disabled older brother in order to help out my parents while saving a significant portion of my salary for a future house and retirement. Many of my coworkers belittle me for doing so but many of them are in deeper debt even though they have been in the workforce longer and make more than me. Living at home is a much more sensible option than rushing into buying a home and then defaulting into foreclosure. It’s funny how society looks down upon sensible, if unpopular, ways of doing things.

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avatar Sabrina

I have to say there is another angle to this debate, while financially it makes perfect sense for recent grads saddled with student loans to move home after college, more and more American boomer parents are hitting the age where caregiving is needed and they might need their children home more than vice versa. So I think this trend is both financial and practical timing wise, more boomers are retiring, nest eggs are depleted and their children are in a position to manage the care needs. So beyond the stigma of the kids moving back home, what support is in place for young adults taking on the burden on caring for their parents while building their career? None.

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avatar Funny about Money

It’s a tough time for young people. We live in a culture where young adults are expected to take flight (and please! NOT come back!!), but pay for most entry- and midlevel jobs is sinking to the levels we associate with cultures where extended families still live together, out of necessity as well as tradition. We’re moving backward to the time when in America children lived with their parents and grandparents occupied the same dwelling because that was what people had to do.

One of the problems we face here, I think, is that relatively few homes are built to accommodate more than one generation. McMansions probably do, especially if you can find one with a split floor plan. But those big shacks are built on postage-stamp lots, as are virtually all newer homes. There’s just not enough room in a typical American home for people who don’t go out and spend the day working in the fields to live together without flying at each others’ throats.

I sure do hope this isn’t the “new normal.” If it is, our whole society is gunna have to make some major changes.

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avatar Diva

Hi Flexo,
I just wrote a post about my current living situation; living with my parents. It’s not ideal; just necessary.

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