We often hear stories about twentysomethings moving back home after college because they can’t find a job that gives them the income to get their own place.
For myself and many of my friends, that’s why we moved back home – we had no jobs and no money.
But after living at home for almost two years, I’ve noticed a new trend among my peer group. Myself and most of my friends have gotten full-time jobs, but we’re not planning on moving out of our parents houses anytime soon.
The reasons for this vary. While we have steady employment, some of us still aren’t making enough money to live on our own in the pricey Washington D.C. metro area, some detest renting and are saving up for a down payment on their own place, and others enjoy the company of family. All of us have very kind and accommodating parents.
My friend Shanee, 24, is living at home because it doesn’t make sense financially to leave.
“It’s not as bad as I think everybody makes it out to be,” she told me during a recent late night phone chat. Shanee graduated college last December and got a job as a long-term substitute a few months later. She says she’d like to move out next January, but she thinks that realistically she will be living at home for about two or three more years.
“I probably make enough where I could support myself, but at this point in time I don’t even have enough money in my own personal bank account to move out,” she says. She plans to go to grad school soon and would like to pay for it out of pocket, and she has a car payment. Plus, she is saving up to buy her own place.
“There’s no point in you moving out to spend money on rent,” she says. “Rent is giving away money. That money does not go in a circle.”
While she generally feels comfortable with her situation, sometimes she feels uncertain about it.
“I think to myself, ‘Oh my god, my parents just want me to leave. They want me out of this house so badly. They can’t stand my presence. They hate me. I cost them too much money. I’m 24 years old and I can’t take care of myself,’” she says.
But her parents have always been completely supportive of her living at home. If anything, she says, they told her they are really happy that she is trying to work towards leaving and getting herself together.
“Not only do I have parents who are supportive of me living at home, they’re supportive of me moving out,” she says. But her parents aren’t making living at home too comfortable–something she appreciates.
Shanee does housework and will be paying rent soon–her parents are giving her a little time to get on her feet. But the added responsibilities are motivation to move out.
“She’s not charging me rent because she needs the money or anything,” says Shanee on her mom’s decision to charge her rent. “But she wants me to save money for when I move out and she wants me to become accustomed to paying that rent so when I do go it’s not like a surprise.”
Moving back home hasn’t been completely easy for Shanee and her parents. It’s been a transition that they are continuing to work through together, she says. Unpacking her things from her college apartment and making a multi-year plan to move out has made it easier.
Shanee doesn’t understand why so many people look down on twentysomethings living at home.
“Just because you’ve moved out doesn’t make you anymore of an adult than you’re friends that live at home,” she says.