Dear PoPville – “is being in your mid twenties and still living with your parents totally cool these days or a big N-O?”

Photo by PoPville flickr user JRoseC

Dear PoPville,

I was reading responses from Friday’s Question on how much do you make vs. how much debt do you have. While I was writing my response, another question came to mind…My shortened response and question:

I lived in DC for 2 years (09-11) paying $1350 a month. I know I could find something for less, but I lived in crappy shitholes all throughout college and I just really wanted something comfortable and a place I actually wanted to be in. Here was my thinking…I could afford the rent and all the other experiences (some unnecessary) that came with living in the city, but I was saving nothing! I turned 25 and started looking into going back to school and purchasing a new car (which I do need for my job) and realized I had no money in my saving and the thought of incurring a giant debt was making me suicidal (not really, but ya know). Sooo, I bit the bullet, moved back home and started to put money in the bank. I have now paid off and finished the school program I decided on (and could afford) and almost have enough money for the new (HYBRID!!) car I want. I know there is a stigma about grads, or in my case 4-5 years out of college, still living with your parents, but honestly I think it’s a smart move if you have the option and can tolerate it. Personally, it was one of the best decisions I ever made because for real…SHIT’S EXPENSIVE! Thoughts about the whole “I’m 26 and still live with my parents” situation?

So, is being in your mid twenties and still living with your parents totally cool these days or a big N-O? I tend to feel that as long as you are working toward something, it’s totally fine.

150 Comment

  • it’s totally cool but if I were your dad I’d be expecting your help with food, bills, mortgage, etc.

    • I am stoked that my daughter is moving home for a six months while she waits to enter the navy after graduating from Tech this past May.
      We have a great basement apartment off of H street that will let her have her autonomy but still let her dad and I enjoy her company from time to time. She will be paying for her groceries, health insurance, car insurance etc. but not rent. If yu are working towards a plan and your parents are on board, who cares what the rest of the planet thinks…

      • and it helps that she has no debt. gaining admission to a state school, earning grants and scholarships along with working part time during school to pay for her apartment and books and earn spending money allows her dad and I to be confident in the fact that our daughter is no slouch. We figure we didn’t have to shell out thens of thousands of dollars to get the kid through university like most of our contemporaries, some with kids going to schools that are 55K a YEAR!

  • Cool is not caring what other people think.

    • Exactly!

    • +1 and cool is not being in debt up to your eyeballs.

    • Agree – Seems like living with your parents is a smart financial decision. And if others think this isn’t cool then it’s their problem, not yours.

    • Agree, who cares?
      Americans are going start getting out of debts when they stop caring about what random (even if not random) people care!
      I went to a no name college in a foreign country and today I have no debt and I am making 6 figure salary.
      I bought an older house that I could afford and pay NO rent because my tenants do. I do small renovations every year
      The key: I don’t care what people think but about what I can afford and what make me happy 🙂 go for it!

  • I’m in almost the same situation as the OP- wanted an apartment in a safe location, which is costlier, turning 25 this year, making ends meet, considering grad school, but saving nothing. It’s definitely a major concern to me that I’m saving nothing, and if my parents were in the area I would absolutely live with them. My parents are really cool though, and I would have no problem buying my own food, shouldering household responsibilities, etc. I can’t say I’d feel the same if my parents were overbearing or hard to live with. It’s too bad they live in Florida, but at least I get free beach vacations when I head home.

  • If you’re living with your parents because you’re a lazy bum, that’s clearly not good. But I’m sick of all these articles claiming that “young people these days” are sooo screwed up and lazy for living with their families after college. People who value living alone over being financially responsible have a skewed value system.

    Honestly, if my parents lived near a major city, I would have loved to have lived with them for the first year or two of my career (unfortunately, they live in a small town with no job opportunities). I am envious of all my friends who have done this. It would suck and be uncool, but worth it in the end. I think it is a responsible way to save money to reach financial security before you’re able to make a huge income.

    In almost every other country on Earth is completely normal to live with your parents until you are married (ie, have dual incomes and more financial resources), and to have your parents come back to live with you when they are older. Only in the U.S. do we have this radical obsession with total independence and value self-reliance above all else. Frankly, living alone gets lonely (even with roommates), and I don’t think it is how humans were meant to live.

    Haha, apparently I have a lot of feelings on this topic. 🙂

    • talula

      Yes. My mom lives in near a major city and I stayed with her for one year when I started my first job after college, and again for 6 months when I started my first job after grad school. My mom never asked for any rent money, but I paid for my own food, cooked meals, did chores, cleaned up after myself, and didn’t have overnight guests or wild parties. My siblings did the same until they were able to find jobs, save money, or pay down their debt.

      I think it’s becoming more acceptable for 20-somethings to live with their parents, since so many college grads are starting out their ‘adult’ lives burdened with student loans. I know staying with my mom for a while really helped me out financially and I’m grateful I was able to do so.

      • See, I don’t think its a new thing. My grandparents both lived with their parents well into their 20s. My friends in France, Indonesia, Italy, and China don’t think its weird to do so. I think the whole “move out and become completely financially independent at 18” was only a cultural expectation in a certain segment of the 1950’s-2008 United States population.

        Mostly I just hate all these “trend” pieces about lazy millenials living at home.

        • people abroad live with their parents until mid 20s because of lack of opportunity – which is becoming the scenario here.

          Perfect example is Spain. Unemployment has always been high (even before the 2008 meltdown) which forces the younger generations to stay at home longer.

          I say sometimes you have to bite the bullet and leave the nest.

          • Yeah, when I lived in Madrid, every Spaniard I knew lived at home with their parents. Even people who were in their thirties still lived at home if they were single. It seemed like it was very difficult for many people, even those with college degrees, to find work that paid decently. This was before the whole economic meltdown, too, so imagine it’s even worse there now.

  • austindc

    I say if you and your parents can still live together without going bonkers, then it’s damn cool. As soon as I graduated college, my mom started charging me rent even though I didn’t have a job yet, so there was no economic benefit of staying at home.

    • On parents charging rent: Yep, I knew that once I graduated from undergrad, the parents were going to start charging rent. They didn’t have to, because I took the first plane to DC. However, it would have been the best thing for me if I even thought about living with the ‘rents. There is something to be said about financial independence and striving for it. You may not be able to afford the fancy condo overlooking Chinatown, but you can at least say: I bought this (rented this) with my own money. I didn’t have to rely on Mom and Dad. If you are living with the parents and doing your part (paying rent, helping around the house), I don’t have a problem with that. I agree with a previous poster, who said Americans have an almost bizarre fixation on indepedent living situations (and home ownership, I might add). Intergenerational family settings are cool with me and probably a great idea with this economy.

  • vz

    No hate here. Every other 20 something I know in DC is drowning in credit card and student debt. Kudos for putting aside ego and what’s ‘normal’ for the sake of financial stability.

    • I secretly wonder who all these 20-somethings with credit card dept are. I feel poor all the time, but pay a cheap rent and have zero dept to my name, not even school loans (public universities FTW!). I think I’m just content as a minimalist. I make less money than every single one of my friends, don’t have wealthy parents to help me, but still put $300-$500 in savings a month, which I am proud of.

      Personally, I think if you’re not saving money than you can’t actually afford your lifestyle.

      • you feel poor but you are content as a minimalist huh? interesting. typically, one who feels poor doesn’t feel content at the same time.

        and secondly, even attending public schools, many folks incur student loan debt (unless their parents helped with at least some of tuition) and finding an affordable apartment ain’t easy in this area. so, i wouldn’t be so critical of those with debt (at least the student loan variety),

        • Oh, wasn’t trying to criticize student loans! I did sound kind of annoying there, oops.

          • I’m with you on this one. Being a young 23, on a GS-7 salary, it is not unrealistic to bank .25-.30 cents on the dollar. All things considered. Live within your means, and even with <$30K NIAT (Yes, that is what we make), you can still look to save nearly ten-thousand in a year.

        • disagree – I have felt poor and content (note: not starving, but practicing restraint and watching each dime) And yes, affordable apts are hard to find. Apts aren’t the only option. Try a group house! I paid $450 for a room in a group house for 2 years. It wasn’t ideal, but I paid off my school loans and have a lot of savings now. I would definitely do it all over again.

      • I’m one. Unpaid intern, barely paid intern for a year. Underemployed for two years. Have lived in inexpensive places and lived frugally, but some things can’t be helped when you need to eat. Finally got a well paying job recently.

  • i must be lucky. no credit card debt, but 20k in school debt. less than 1000 in rent (including utilities). no car note, no major other expenses. but still feeling poor…

  • All depends whether you care about dating or not.

    • Is that really the case? I have personally never been on the dating scene in DC, but do people (I assume women…) really expect their dates to shell out that big of bucks on a regular basis? I can’t imagine basing whether I wanted to date someone on how much they spend on dinner…but I forgot this is DC.

      • How much you spend isn’t the point, it’s what you do afterward. Sure you can take the woman back to her place, but how long can you lie to her about living at home?

      • I think Anonymous was suggesting that living with your parents might not be a strong selling point with potential dates.

        • Ah- misread the intent. Makes much more sense that way.

        • I think it depends on who you’re dating, for one thing. Asian, Eastern European, Hispanic women will probably think it’s perfectly normal because it is in their cultures.

          I think it also depends on how you put it. If you act embarassed about it or complain that you don’t make enough/DC is too expensive then it would be a turn-off. If, however, you say you have a wonderful relationship with your parents are are saving money for a house while you also work on getting your start-up going, it would be appealing.

          • “I’m working on getting my start-up going, which should bear massive financial gains in the not too distant future. In the meantime… wanna go fuck on a twin bed in my childhood bedroom?”

      • I believe “dating” in this context means “bang.”

        In other words, can you bang your date(s) in your parents house.

      • Even if you split the check, going out regularly with someone to dinner, drinks, plays, concerts etc can get pretty expensive if you’re living on a limited budget. But thanks for insulting women?

    • ah

      Dating isn’t the problem . . . it’s after the date that it is.

      • If I were dating a man I’d be happy to have an excuse like that to put off having to sleep with him!

        • saf

          You never ever need an excuse not to sleep with someone. If you don’t want to, don’t. Sex should never be something you need an excuse to get out of.

        • Well you sound like a lovely lady to date…

  • Doesn’t matter if it’s cool or not – it’s a strong reality. Which, I would think, lessens the stigma. My biggest concern would be the impression it would make on women I was trying to date. But since a lot of them are likely in the same boat or know plenty of people who are as well – probably not as much of an issue as it would have been in years past.

    Tough times for those entering the workforce these days – this guy’s story is a good lesson.

  • I defintely would say it’s not cool to live with your parents in your mid 20’s & beyond. If you don’t make enough money to support yourself in an expensive city, then it might be necessary and a responsible thing to do, however. With the economic downturn, I’m sure it’s a lot more common, so the stigma is probably fading fast.

  • It’s totally cool to live with your parents if you have that option. Figure out your goals and where you want to be, then draw the path of what it will take to get there. Keep your eye on the prize and don’t worry about what people think about your path.

    I lived very poor until I was 35 and many friends/family “tut tutted” about my so-called poor decisions in life. At 42 I now make significantly more than them, thanks to my frugal ways have MUCH more in savings than them and have awesome life experiences to boot. Wouldn’t change it for anything. Had I listened to them in my early 20’s I don’t doubt I’d be significantly poorer both financially and experientially today. My path hasn’t been easy but it’s been great fun and rewarding.

    But what I want to know is, why do you want to buy a new hybrid?!? A car is a depreciating asset. Buy a relatively new but used “normal” car and put the savings into an appreciating asset. A used car will depreciate more slowly, it is a greener option than a new car (already built) and if you care for it, it’ll last quite a long time. The only case where I’d recommend a new car (and not a hybrid) is if you plan to own it for at least 10-15 years. Then you’ll have gotten your money’s worth. My car is 14 years old now and still running strong. I don’t doubt I’ll get 6-8 more years out of it. Hopefully I’ll be able to go car-free at that time.

    • I agree with this post. Get a used car. Cripes.

      • That’s what you do once you’ve bought a house. Renters frequently have nicer cars, since they don’t have to worry about buying a new roof.

    • maybe the car incentive is more to not pollute. This is a whole different blog post, what is greener, a Hybrid or a used car. Maybe the OP does plan on having the Hybrid for years. After the frugal years, I don’t foresee the OP suddenly switching and upgrading cars like crazy.

      • You’re right that it probably is a whole ‘nother post about car choice. As I understand, hybrid cars are just as polluting as regular gasoline cars. The difference being in where/how the pollution is made. The biggest difference is that gas cars pollute the atmosphere and the hybrids transfer that pollution to other things such as the mines where they get the materials for the batteries (up in Canada – a true toxic wasteland. The mine, not Canada.). And, the energy and environmental costs embodied in a new car are incredible. If one wants to be green, one would buy a bike, not a car.

    • Im the OP – For my job, unfortunately i put about 700-1000 miles on my car a month!! That is a ton of driving. My mom has a Prius and gets, on average 50 MPG. So, not only will i be saving a ton of money on gas, ill be eco-friendly too! And sorry for the confusion, I actually didn’t mean new car like a brand new car, rather new like not the one i have now. Im all about used cars and running them into the ground. I’ve had my current (which I bought used) car for about 8 years and its taken a beating to point where its becoming unsafe to drive and costing me so much in maintenance. purchasing a car has not been an easy decision for me too…taken me about a year to actually convince myself that i need one! Cant wrap my head around spending thousands of $$ at once.

  • I would have done it if my parents lived near a place with career opportunitites. My girlfriend’s bratty nephew just got out of college, is making $75k, and still gets to live in his mom’s house rent-free. Based on how he acts he has NO IDEA how good he has it! He’s very cheap so in a couple years he’ll probably have enough for a downpayment on his own house.

  • If it’s an option for you. About a week before I finished my undergrad degree my dear mother informed me that moving back home was not an option. Surprise!

    • So, I bust ass to pay rent in DC and happily own my 1 year old car while my friends back home get married, build new 4+ bedroom homes, and buy new cars. Decisions. Choices.

      • Exactly. I say no – not unless you are deficient in some way where you cannot scrape, claw and fight your way to independence. And yes, move from DC if it’s too expensive. There are lots of towns where a minimum wage job would put some sort of roof over your head.

        All these Millennials – such babies.

        • All these Millennials – such babies.

          Uh huh…. I’m sure those Millennial nurses will keep that in mind when they’re caring for your geriatric self.

          Your Future Millennial Nurse

  • The living-with-parents stigma is strictly an American phenomenon, I think. If you look at groups of newer immigrants you’ll see it’s far more common for the kids to stay at home until they’re married or have a business set up or have saved up enough to buy a home (or whatever it is they’re trying to accomplish). If you get along with your parents, and they’re cool with you being there, and they live in a location you can tolerate, it’s smarter than throwing away money on rent!

    • Umm…. ever heard of a little place called the rest of the world?

      • What do you mean?

        • Scroll up and see the 3:02 post, etc.

          • You are referring to this one?

            “See, I don’t think its a new thing. My grandparents both lived with their parents well into their 20s. My friends in France, Indonesia, Italy, and China don’t think its weird to do so. I think the whole “move out and become completely financially independent at 18″ was only a cultural expectation in a certain segment of the 1950′s-2008 United States population.”

            So how does it not agree with what I said?

  • I suppose it is financially logical, and the fact that you won’t be getting laid because of living with your parents is a moot issue, as you have nowhere to get laid, because you live with your parents. It is not cool, and it never will be cool, but cool is rarely practical. Do it, admit it sucks, get out when it’s feasible, and try to enjoy the time with your parents – but understand they’ve been counting down to the day you were to leave as much as you have been.

  • as long as you don’t mind never getting laid…

  • You could buy all the Fluevogs you want with they money you’d be saving!

  • I think struggling and living on my own (and with roomates) taught me sacrifice, dealing with conflict, dealing with people, prioritizing, and certainly incentivized me to make good life choices. You dont hear/read about too many highly successful people who lived with their parents in their mid-20s, right? But I guess it all depends on your priorities, and only you can decide if comfort outwieghs the sacrifice. For me, it definitely did but then again I doubt my parents would have put up with me that long.

    • Yes, I was going to say that you pick up a lot of important life skills living on your own.

      • Yup. My dad decided to start charging me rent the minute I graduated from high school, so I packed up and did my own thing. It SUCKED. I was so broke and working/going to school all the time. I had no life and was eating ramen/instant mashed potatoes/frozen peas for years. But…I learned a lot about life and myself.

        Do I wish things had been a bit different? Sure, especially if it made things easier (financially) for me, but I like to think that that part of my life got me to where I am today – I love my life now.

        That’s not to say that, if given the opportunity then, I wouldn’t have lived at home, even post-college – that is, if my parents weren’t so strict and suffocating. 🙂

    • I mostly agree with you, but I’d be curious to learn more about your definition of “success”. Monetary success, perhaps, but coming from a family who was in the 1% and now is not, my definition has changed. Or am I reading too much into it?

  • Emmaleigh504

    I boomeranged back to my parents house a couple of times after college. It worked well 1. because we get along very well; 2. we all knew it was for a limited time; and 3. I contributed to the household. I wasn’t able to give them money, but I took care of my mother after a freak accident that put her in a cast for 3 months and I was able to help them remodel the kitchen (with my excellent taste in home decor & discount at the store I worked at).

    Living back at home worked out so well my mother still asks when I’m moving back to take care of them in their old age, which I will do happily when they actually need it.

    In short, not it’s not weird if you aren’t a mooch.

  • Perhaps it’s because I’m from a small, inexpensive town, but I think it is borderline ridiculous to live with your parents. I’m also a really independent person, so that may also skew my view. I lived at home until I moved away for college, and I never looked back. I love my parents dearly, but I craved to be on my own. I would go totally bonkers if I lived at home, out of necessity or not. I also have a 35 year old brother in law who lives at home. He acts like a child, and his parents treat him like one. When you live at home, I think it’s hard for parents to accept that you’re not a little kid (and perhaps vice versa…).

    In sum, no, it is not cool to live with mom and dad.

  • I lost my job about 4 years ago and was unemployed for a little over a year. I struggled to make ends meet for that year and thought at one point I was going to have to move back home. However, I was in my early 40s….not 20s and the thought of me moving back home were depressing….literally. Things worked out for me….found a job and got to keep my home. We all have different situations and sometimes need to go with our gut feeling and not look back with regrets. I had a gut feeling to not move back and to keep trying to find a job and something would come along….which it did. It sounds like things have worked out for you as planned—which deserves a pat on the back to you.

  • I believe we’re going to see a trend towards more multigenerational families living in the same house, due to the twin effects of a tough economy for adult children + advances in medical care for the elderly. The stigma is eventually going to lessen. If you and your folks are comfortable with the arrangement, stick with it.

    • Also due to DC (and the world in general) becoming incresingly more cross-cultural and international.

  • 24 yr. old here w/ similar story…sort of. I was living in a beautiful 500 sqft studio all by myself for 1,320. I wasn’t saving any money – just barely paying bills and eeking by. I decided the rent was too damned high and got a job in international development where they pay for your housing and travel. Now all my money is going into my savings in prep for grad school. It was a excellent career move for me and a great bonus to my bank account.

  • My sympathy goes out to all the parents whose kids take on the monumental burden of getting over feeling uncool by moving back in. I would hope saving money would be easy if your parents paid for most of your living expenses.

  • 24 yr. old here w/ similar story…sort of. I was living in a beautiful 500 sqft studio all by myself for 1,320. I wasn’t saving any money – just barely paying bills and eeking by. I decided the rent was too damned high and got a job in international development where they pay for your housing and travel. Now all my money is going into my savings in prep for grad career. It was a excellent career move for me and a great bonus to my bank account.

  • I dunno…I think living on your own is the first post childhood challenge we have, in a life long on challenges. You lived at home, you went to school, and even if your parents weren’t paying for school and you had loans, you weren’t responsible for those loans until post graduation. Falling back to the ‘rents is admitting failure and defeat in that challenge.

    Yeah, yeah…I know, the recession this, recession that, but there have been many other severe recessions and yet the stats on millenials moving back home far, far exceed any of those in past recessions.

    Every person I know that moved home after college the past 7-10 years did so out of convenience, rather than real need. They wanted to buy a new car, wanted to buy the new flatscreen, or take multiple expensive vacations every year, and couldn’t do so on the typical 23 year olds salary. So, they moved home and continued to live the life of someone making far more than they, while letting someone else pay the bill.

    Ultimately, you will finish grad school, buy your shiny new car and move on, but you need to realize that you didn’t do those things yourself…those aren’t accomplishments you “really” worked for. They were “gimmies” made possible by living at home for years, letting someone pay for your roof, your food and probably doing your laundry.

    But hey…to each their own.

    • Maybe more people moved back in with family during this recession because it was the worst one since the Great Depression… While I understand your point, I do think economic conditions have changed significantly over the past few years. Unemployment, especially for those in their 20s, is still quite high, plus a great number of people who are working are underemployed.

    • Snaps

    • What’s wrong with a life of leisure? I mean, I guess if we were all Skimpoles we would all starve. But why do trust-fund kids get all the fun?

    • I feel like this and many other statements on here give me a bit of validation for my choice to stay in DC, stay independent and tough it out. I do wish I could save more money, but being from somewhere else means my choice is move somewhere cheaper (with fewer opportunities in the field I want to work in) or free with my parents, or weather the economic storm, work hard, make ends meet, and swim upcurrent until something right clicks. Agree with another above poster that living alone has contributed to my life skills and tenacity, even if I get down at times. I know I won’t be 24 and underemployed forever, but I will have the life lessons forever.

      • Yep, you are right. I remember barely scrapping through my first year after college in DC on $28k, which is by no means the smallest salary in the city but was very, very tight with my student loans. I think that experience lit a fire in my belly that the comfort of my parent’s home never would have ignited…

    • Well put, Joker.

      There was something in the OP’s rationalization that rubbed me the wrong way, and I was having trouble figuring out what it was. Buying a brand-new hybrid car was part of it, but I think the larger issue was the idea of _choosing_ to live at home versus having no realistic option _other_ than to live at home.

      There are several posters in this thread who’ve described reasons why they lived (or would live) at home in ways that sound reasonable and non-exploitative. But for some people who live at home, it seems like it’s just a deferral of independence and a way to maximize disposable income… which they then proceed to dispose of.

      • I completely agree.

      • OP here… i definitely am not buying a brand new car. Sorry, that was confusing in my original post. I just mean a new car like not the one i currently use. Also, i’ve decided to purchase a hybrid for personal reason that are important to me, in addition to the fact that for my job i drive about 700-1000 miles a month. My mom has a prius and gets about 50 mpg, so when you are driving as much as I do, it makes sense.

        As far as leeching off my parents are you are insinuating… I totally agree! haha Like i said in my post, i could afford to live the way i wanted to live in dc, but was unable to save money…i guess that isn’t really affording it, but going back to school among other expenses are again, something that is important to me and my family supports it. I’m definitely lucky to have parents that feel this say and are willing to let me crash until i figure out what exactly I want to do with this life. You sound a liiiiiiittle bitter… you can come live me at my parents house too if you want?! (jk don’t mean to be patronizing)

    • Yeah, I agree with this to some extent. I can understand that many people genuinely face difficult economic challenges and have few other options but to live at home. A lot of people, however, seem to have unrealistic expectations for what their post-college world should look like. They seem to think that if they can’t afford the rent on a semi-new apartment that they live in alone, and can’t afford a new or semi-new car, then everything is too expensive and they might as well move back home so they can use the money they would’ve spent on rent as disposable income/savings.

      I don’t know, it’s like some people think they should immediately have this really high standard of living. If you can afford it, great, but if you can’t, suck it up and live with roommates and drive an old car (or don’t drive at all).

      • I have to drive for my job so not having a car is not an option… if i could ride a bike i totally would!

  • I lived at home for 3 years and it was a huge life saver. I (like most everyone I knew) was having problems finding a job and saving money. The big question is how are your parents. Luckily my older sister lived at home when she was in law school so my parents kinda figured out how to have an adult child in the house. I have many friends who moved back in with their parents and their parents still treated them as children and freaked out if they went out on the weekends. It impeded on their social lives and mental health and just caused extra stress. They could not date becuase their parents kept on freaking out.

    The other question is where your parents live? I have friends whose parents live far from where they work and the commute from their parents house to work every day was taking a toll on them and their social life. Saving money is important, but so is mental health.

    • Your friends really can’t expect to have it both ways. So they are not adult enough to have your own place and pay their own rent, but at the same time they expect to go as they please and have a social life as if they lived on their own? They want to have an adult social life? Then its time to move out and get your own place. Want your parents to pay your rent? Be sure to be home by the time the street lights come on…

  • So the OP was deliberately financially irresponsible (“I know I could find something less”), couldn’t save as a result, and eventually had to “bite the bullet” and move back “home.” As a parent of adult children, this is my reaction.

    1. It isn’t “home” when you’re 26. It’s your parents’ home.

    2. When you move into your parents’ home things don’t miraculously become free. Things are cheaper because your parents are paying for you. So here’s a suggestion. How about expressing a little gratitude and appreciation? All I’m seeing here are self-centered questions and concerns. What about the “stigma”? Live with you parents if you can “tolerate” it. “SHIT’S EXPENSIVE!” Your parents have earned the right to a life too.

    • I think the “I know I could find something less” comment was meant to stave off the inevitable comments from so-and-so who managed to find an apartment for $400/month and can’t believe someone would pay $1350. Sure– for a little less you could live in a neighborhood with a ton of crime, or a falling-apart group house with a terrible landlord, or share a studio with a stranger, or live really really far from the city and basically spend all your free time commuting. Or hey, you can live on the streets for free! Point is I don’t think it’s irresponsible to not want a living situation that’s unsafe or ridiculously uncomfortable if there’s an alternative.

      Also, keep in mind that most of our parents had it far easier than we did. Mine bought their first house for $40k! The cost of housing, and education, has gone through the roof, and it doesn’t help that the jobs are concentrated in expensive cities with housing shortages now.

      • not sure how old your parents may be, but I can guarantee when they bought their house for 40k, it was a heck of a lot for them. So adjusted for inflation, is it safe to say the 40k 1960’s dollars were equivalent to what 300k 2012 dollars?

        • Roughly 300k, or about half of what you need to get a house in this area in a decent school district.

          • Yeah, but then again no one in DC bought a house for 40K 30 years ago that wasn’t in the ghetto, which brings us full circle.

            Things generally aren’t more expensive now than they were before, it is simply called inflation.

          • That’s just not true. Houses in Cleveland Park, Chevy Chase, Bethesda, etc cost 50% or less what they do today as recently as 10-15 years ago…. and those areas were certainly not the ghetto in 1995.

          • A,

            As a Cleveland Park homeowner I can say with certainty that you are 100% wrong.

            My home, and neighbors homes all climbed in value from 1995 to now, but they didn’t double, not even close.

            And lets be honest here…even if they did double, the average price home in CP in the mid 90’s was still 900K, still far and away from our example above at 40K, and certainly not affordable to anyone on this thread complaining about housing costs and using it as a reason to move back home.

          • Look on Zillow…. avg home price in Cleveland park right now is around 900k… in the 90’s houses there were selling in the 200’s/300’s!

          • Here’s one example –

            Was it renovated in the past 15 years? Probably, but that alone can’t explain the near tripling in value.

          • I don’t know why I can’t reply directly to your post, but I actually used to live in the basement there. It definitely was renovated within the last 15 years, I believe mid-00s. I can also confirm that the 4/2 listing is incorrect, even with counting the basement totally separately.

        • Not sure if it makes a huge difference, but we’d be talking $40k in 1970’s dollars, not 1960’s. Dad was a carpenter and mom delivered mail– it’s hard to imagine anyone with those jobs being able to afford a house these days.

      • Yeah! So they OWE you a free place to live, for as long as you want, the lucky bastards!! And none of those pesky, social-life-constraining rules, either – you’re a grown-up dependent now.

    • Um… it actually doesn’t cost you extra to have someone live with you … mortgage/rent are fixed regardless of how many people are in the house. Assuming most adult children are paying their own variable bills- cellphone, food, share of internet/cable/electric etc.

      • Water, heat, electric, food, everything costs money. Plus, for all you know, maybe your parents wouldn’t mind downsizing into a smaller house and lowering their so-called “fixed” costs — but can’t do that because they need to make sure there’s always room for their financially irresponsible adult children.

        • Nowhere does the poster say that her parents have a problem with the arrangement. She might’ve conveniently left this out, but why are you so sure they resent their daughter for living at home? Maybe they’re empty nesters missing the feel of a full house, and welcomed her back with open arms.

          Heck, maybe her parents even suggested it; my Jerseyite parents encouraged me to live at home when I worked in NYC….shoulda taken them up on it, in retrospect.

          • I never said or suggested that they resented it. I merely noted that she hasn’t expressed any gratitude and that all of her concerns (at least judging from what she wrote) were about her and not them.

    • Another parent here—My greatest fear is that my kids will never leave because they have it too good. So I’m putting a limit on my good will, and they have curfews that they don’t like. But I’m not a teenager, and my house isn’t going to be the frat house that they would like it to be where they can come and go as they please. I know most of the commenters here are not treating their parents’ home that way and seem to have some respect for their living arrangement, but it is an issue for me.

      • Emmaleigh504

        As a boomerang kid that had it pretty good, I still wanted to get out of my parents house as soon as I could. I didn’t have a curfew, but I had other restrictions that made wanting to live on my own (with roommates) far superior to living with my folks for the rest of my life.

        Don’t worry, even if your kids move back in, they will eventually want to move out on their own and spread their wings.

    • May I also just point out that not everyone has two married parents to fall back on.

    • Agreed. It’s only “cool” if it’s cool with your parents. Some of them may love it, others may find it an imposition well beyond the bounds of anything they planned for. It’s not your house at age 26, it’s theirs, and it’s highly likely that for the last decade or more, they’ve had far different designs about how it will be put to use than as a place for an adult child to live. Just because they’ll let you live there our of parental love doesn’t mean you should exploit it.

    • WOAH. First of all, I am very VERY VERY VERY VERY grateful of my parents and everything they have given to me, which has been a very wonderful comfortable life and I know that not everyone is privy to that. i am very thankful for them and tell them all the time. So lets just get that out of the way right now. I pay for my car, my health insurance, my cell phone, help out with groceries do my own laundry etc. I do not pay rent or utilities… which is the perks of living at home. And i will always consider this my home and my parents would hate it if i didn’t consider it my home even when Im married with a family… home is home is home!!! Lastly, “your parents deserve a life”… my parents have a wonderful life, going on trips very often as one is retired and the other teaches a doctorate course only a few months out of the year… when they are out of town I am responsible for taking care of the animals and the house which I am MORE than happy to do, for its the least I can do for all they do for me! Sounds like you had mean parents or maybe you are a mean parent and have a horrible relationship with you children… I can’t say for sure, but you just sound like a mean, hateful person.

  • So how do y’all feel about a 37 y.o. living with her parents for the last 10 years. She moved in 10 years ago because of unemployment, changing careers, etc., but has been steadily employed for at least the last 5 years.

    • We think she is incredibly lazy, and at that age highly unlikely to change.

      How do you (oops, I mean she) have a social life? The stigma goes both ways. I would never date a women who was living with her parents at 37, especially if she had lived there for a decade.

    • my situation is not much different, and i think about killing myself. i’m an embarrassment to myself, society, and my family. would probably make everyone better off and it would do wonders for my carbon footprint.

      • Whoa, anon. I don’t know if you’re serious, but if you are, please call the
        National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

    • If she and her parents are all happy with the arrangement who cares?

      • Yep.

        I don’t know why so many commenters here are running everything through one of two irrelevant filters: (1) what will my friends and the public at large think of this? and (2) will I, as a boomerang kid, have to make lifestyle choices I don’t want to make in order to improve my financial lot in life? The answer to the first is who cares? (and if the answer is you care, you’ve got some growing up to do and might think about how just how “adult” you are as an adult child). The answer to the second is to quit being so selfish — it’s not about just you, it’s about everybody involved.

        That said, if it works for you and your parents and is characterized by mutual respect and household compromise, I think it’s a great family situation and impresses me with the interpretation of “family” by everybody involved.

  • Who cares?
    Americans are going start getting out of debts when they stop caring about what random (even if not random) people care!
    I went to a no name college in a foreign country and today I have no debt and I am making 6 figure salary.
    I bought an older house that I could afford and pay NO rent because my tenants do. I do small renovations every year
    The key: I don’t care what people think but about what I can afford and what make me happy 🙂 go for it!

  • After I graduated college, I moved back into my parents home, a suburb of D.C. I was able to save a lot of money, but more importantly, as I look back on those 2 years, I did myself a serious disfavor. The security of living at home stunted my personal and professional development. It was too safe and comfortable. Now, I’ve been living on my own the last year in D.C. Despite the financial burdens of student loans, high rent and cost of living in D.C., it has fostered a lot of inner strength I wish I had tapped into years ago. I am motivated to work that much harder, because I have to. And on the dating front…it was awful. Over time, I just began to resent not having my own place and always having to stay at the place of the person I was dating. It creates a strange and uncomfortable imbalance for both parties.

    • Enough of this hogwash about housing costing so much more these days than when your parents bought their first house. The median price of a single family home in the Washington area in 1986, the year that the OP was born, was about $130,000. Today the median price is around $320,000. The average interest rate on a 30 year fixed mortgage in 1986 was 10.75 percent. Today you can get an FHA loan at 3.25 percent. Translation: your parents were only paying $200 a month less in 1986 than what you’d be paying now, and we’re talking about $200 less in 2012 dollars — not 1986 dollars. They certainly were NOT better off than you, and they were probably worse off.

      • I was just checking out my apartment building in the 1940 census. About 30% of my income goes to rent, and in 1940 people in my building were paying about 30% of their income for rent. Ridiculously small sample size, I know, but housing costs haven’t necessarily climbed disproportionately.

      • You’re talking about the whole metro area. If you were to look at DC-specific housing prices, and the areas immediately adjacent to it, I doubt it would be the same. Yes, McLean probably costs the same now as it did in 1986 (when factoring in inflation). Ditto with Springfield, Annandale, and other outlying suburbs. Throw in Manassas and prices might even have gone down :). But Arlington? The District? I sincerely doubt it. I am positve Silver Spring is more (but it also has improved immensely since 1986).

        • I’m confused. Is the argument that housing in trendy areas is relatively more expensive now than it was back then? Housing in Arlington, the District, and, yes, Silver Spring probably ARE relatively more expensive now, but only because they’re more desirable now. None of your parents were looking at 15th Street NW in 1986.

          • saf


            OK, I”m not a parent.

            We lived at 15 and O NW in 1987.

          • Actually, my parents were living on 11th street in the 80s. A big move of improvement from my father’s previous house, and there was still a dead guy on the front steps of the house next door…

      • Good point, Parent. People bemoaning the high cost of rent vs. what their parents started out with are conveniently neglectling that their parents probably didn’t have starting salaries, complete with benefits, of over $40k (which is where the freshly graduated office newbies I work with make on the GS scale), either. Or that rents get lower the farther out you live from downtown, which largely is a choice of personal convenience (less time in traffic and greater proximity to fun stuff usually will come with a rent premium, but it’s your decision to value those things over the extra rent) over savings/financial flexibility.

  • The funny thing is for a lot of us GenX/GenY’ers the tables will probably be turned in ~20-30 years when our parents have to live with US when they can’t afford long-term care…

    • EXACTLY. I’m a Gen X-er, and I can see that in the future. To the millennials I say mooch as long as you can, get financially stable, and live within your means. The tables might turn and you might get saddled with taking care of them.

    • I am totally preparing for this. My mom is going through a midlife crisis of sorts and now has zero financial resources. Guess who is going to end up taking care of her someday? I suppose it is fair.

  • Excellent point about DC being a place that sucks the life out of your bank account…especially if you aren’t making $100k+ a year and don’t have a trust fund. If my parents lived in or around DC, I’d strongly consider living with them. I have several friends who do just that, and even though it does “cramp their style” or whatever you want to call it when they can’t exactly have someone over for the night, their personal savings and disposable income are definitely enviable.

  • There are some seriously bitter parents on here.

    Fortunately, I never had to move home after college. I’ve been blessed in that regard. I had a low paying job and required some handouts from my parents for a couple of years for bills and meals and stuff. My parents would never dream of forcing me out and its always been clear that I have a home should I ever need it. Their parents were the same way, but they similarly didnt need to live at home.

    As for actually living at home, who cares? You need to look out for yourself. The expectations that people put on you are irrelevant. Where you live and your finances are your business, not some third party who is not even related to you. Do what you need to do but remember you will one day need to be self-sufficient. But, I think you already know that and want to become self sufficient. This is a speed bump, dont let others’ views get you further down than you already are.

  • I’m so glad the OP submitted this. The last thing we need in this life is the added burden of shame or self-doubt when one is simply trying to accomplish their goals. For those who are in this situation and are sincerely making an effort towards forward momentum in their lives, feel no shame and instead feel grateful for the family and support that you have.

    Now at 40 with my 20’s long gone, I can only say that comparing your circumstances to everyone around you will only make you feel worse about yourself. If you are making an honest effort to improve your life and circumstances by returning home, then peace be with you and regret nothing.

  • Who the hell cares? You did what was right for you.

    (I’m not bothering to read any other posts.)

  • Can you afford living on your own, is the question. (affordability also meaning your budget/salary allows you to save). I certainly think it’s much more common these days.

    Why is it that our society places SUCH a stigma on living with your family? Most cultures I am familiar with, more often than not, 20-somethings commonly live with their family, no big deal.

  • I don’t think it’s worth caring about if it’s “cool” or not. If I got along with my parents (I don’t) and if they lived near somewhere I could bear living (they don’t) I might live at home if I needed to.

    It is normal in other countries and I think it’s offensive and US-centric to assume that it’s only because of economics. In many countries people just value families, relationships, etc. more than they do financial “success” and getting ahead for oneself.

    That said, I’m from the US and while I can notice and appreciate different cultures … it doesn’t make my own upbringing change. I would probably not want to date a guy living at home, and would have a lot of concerns myself about dating if I was living at home.

    It’s not completely out of the question, but I know I value my independence and make sacrifices to have my own placeK – I would worry that our values were too different, if he was from the US at least. I would probably feel the same way though about a guy in his 30s or 40s who lived with roommates, or was dying to live somewhere remote or even far suburbs. There’s nothing wrong with it – he’s probably just coming from a different place than me.

  • The need to feel cool is uncool.

  • I think it’s fascinating all the parents commenting on here! My parents kindly reminded me that free living stopped after college and that while I would always be welcome at home, I was now expected to be a contributing member paying 1/3 of the mortgage, utilities and responsible for expenses.

    When I moved to DC, I barely made $1500 a month. I lived in group houses, worked part time jobs, kept a tight budget and found the best places for free food and drink in DC. After 4 years here, I live in an amazing 1br apt that costs less than $1000 a month – in a subsidized building for those with “moderate incomes” that is safe and located in an amazing neighborhood. I can pay all my bills and loans on time.

    I understand people who are young and unemployed don’t have the choice not to live at home and I respect that. For others, moving home can mean paying off all your debt and buying a car. Personally, a person who moves home because “shit’s expensive” doesn’t work for me – the coping skills I learned while making ends meet will carry me through life. 20 years down the road what if you or your partner loses their job? What if you have a debilitating illness or accident that wipes out our finances? What if you lose your house? What if you find yourself with 2 kids at age 50 trying to make ends meet and have no idea where to begin?

    At 26, I can tell that I don’t want that person as a partner in life. I want someone who has the coping skills to deal with the fact that “shit’s expensive” without running home to mom and dad.

    Congrats on the hybrid but let’s never go out on a date.

    • Congrats on paying your bills on time but how is living in a subsidized apartment different than living with your parents? Those people are just being “subsidized” by their parents?

      • I think the difference is that elise had to do the research and legwork to find housing that fit her budget. If the OP wanted to find something nice and affordable/a place that allowed them to save up, they could have done the same instead of running home to their parents.

        • yeah but for most people no amount of legwork or research is going to yield them an “amazing” 1br in an “amazing” neighborhood (in DC i assume) for $1000/month…. that’s way less than market rate and subsidized by the taxpayer (me!) so I have a hard with you taking that deal and then also looking down on someone who wants to live with their parents.

          • Not to say I wouldn’t take that deal too if I could! I totally would! I think cheap rent is awesome. I just think it doesn’t matter where it comes from.. the government, catholic charities, or mom & dad…

    • I moved home because there were things that I wanted to do to further my career and better my life in general. When I said “Shits expensive” I didn’t mean like going out to dinner and clothes… I mean school and purchasing a car. I get what your saying about coping with hard times, but im not going to put myself there bc i suborn and prideful…

  • this was a good move and if you can stand living at home and your parents don’t mind you being there, rock out. this sounds responsible and you’ll enjoy being debt free and on your own in your thirties… cheers to you

  • I think it all depends upon how/why it is done. If you have a good relationship with parents, moving back home with them could be a sound financial alternative. Ideally, they should charge rent and/or expect you to do your share of housework, whether that is buy food, cook, clean, etc. It should be because there is an economic reason for not stretching out onto your own and it should be done with an endpoint in mind. If you are unemployed, it should mean a pound-the-pavement search, if you are employed but making a meager salary, then it should be a stepping stone to independence. The skills while living under the same roof as your parents should be useful skills that you will take with you when you are living on your own. The flip side is that hopefully you have awesome parents that will allow you your independence while living at home. I suppose if parents don’t give you this then that would be a factor in the whole set up to begin with and the living at home option may not be so appealing. I have seen where the boomerang child really doesn’t seem like a successful dynamic, where the parents ask nothing of the person, does everything for them and essentially sets no guides for independence (either under their roof or otherwise). You could say the wheels were set in motion for a monster in the making, though I suspect those wheels were long in motion before the person became a boomerang child. I could care less whether or not people think it is cool or not cool to move back home with the parents. Who cares?

    The question I have, though, is what makes moving back home with the parents different from parents paying the rent or buying a house or apartment for their child, which some people here seem to think happens with great frequency? I guess the way I feel is that I’m not sure there’s much of a difference because the child is not needing to learn an important lesson of independence, which is how to earn a living and budget in order to have the essentials in life (roof, food, water, etc.), save for things really wanted. They end up using their disposable income for entertainment, games, toys, etc. And really become no less of an insufferable person. Believe me, I’ve known some people like this, unfortunately. The only difference I see is that it’s well-to-do parents (who could afford propping up their kid) but hands-off parenting. I think I’d rather have someone move back at home with the parents while paying rent, food, cooking and cleaning for themselves or for family and helping out in general.

    All that being said, generally speaking, many of the people whom I admire most are those who gained their independence at an early age. They are resourcesful, successful, bright, etc. Of course, the flip side is some end up with a chip on their shoulder but when they don’t have that, wow, some of the most impressive people.

  • As many people mentioned, it is really up to you if you want to do it. No one really cares. Maybe if you are a really popular person, a few people will talk here and there for a week or so, but then they will forget it.

    Personally, I never lived at home since moving out for college, but then again, my parents live in a foreign country so that wasn’t really an option. If I could, I probably would have stayed at home, not just to save money, but also for convenience, especially if it meant that I could use the money saved towards the down payment of a home or pay off student loans.

    Do what you feel would make sense. Screw what other people think about your personal decisions that don’t impact them in anyway.

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