“If you’re still living at home when you are 18, you’re a loser” these were the words my Social Studies teacher told our sixth grade class. I am not sure what she would say about me, at age 23, fully employed, and still living with my parents.
When I graduated from high school, my ultimate goal in life was to get as far away from my parents, my community, and the overall “bubble” I perceived the Silicon Valley to be. I was the only one in my close friend circle to flee the state for college. At 18, if you had informed me that at 23, I would be happily living with my parents post-graduation I would’ve been shocked, and possibly even depressed.
College didn’t live up to my unrealistic expectations. I never seemed to be able to mesh peers the way I am able to connect to the people in the Bay Area. Somehow the culture of coffee, craft beer, peace corps, and study abroad was just not “my thing.” A fast paced, tech marketing job on the other hand, suits me just fine. So does the brunching, green juicing and yoga fanatic culture of the bay area millennial scene.
I consider myself rather lucky to be home. I’ve found it much easier to find interesting work in California. Honestly, when I first moved home, I fully intended to move out. Nearly two years later, I’m not so sure. I have a stable job. Many people with smaller incomes than mine manage to move out and get by. I think the issue is I’m not sure I want to “get by.” The choice for me, came down to financial freedom, versus financial security. I picked security. This choice has come with its perks and its perils.
Let’s start with the perks. I live in a spacious home, with a bedroom and bathroom to myself, and roommates who never have wild parties or skimp on rent. I spend none of my own money on groceries or utilities or rent. In other words, I save a lot of money. The majority of it is disposed into various retirement/savings accounts for when, if ever, I can afford to buy a house in this area. The rest mainly goes to gas, car payments, and eating out. I’m now on a strict #90dayshoppingban, so the money spent eating out is decreasing. I’m still frugal. I try to pack lunch daily, and limit dinner outings to 2-3 times a week. My goal is to save as much money as I would spend on rent, as if I am paying rent. Yet, there are times I allow myself to invest. During my time home, I’ve spent a considerable amount of money in pursuing education, traveling to visit friends. Moreover, I’ve been able to pick jobs based on interest, as opposed to a paycheck.
However, it’s not all large bank accounts and endless disposable income. There are cons to living with your parents. These cons likely differ from person to person. My parents constantly feel the need to monitor my career, lack of a grad school degree, and relationship status. These things bother me less with time, but I’ve also gotten absolutely no better at dealing with them. It’s annoying to live with your parents. It’s annoying at 16. It’s even more annoying at 23. I also constantly worry that I am postponing being a full fledged, independent adult. Nonetheless, if you have parents living in a city that you want to work in, and they’re nice enough to let you stay with them for an undefined period of time, rent-free, it is a genuine luxury. To anyone who has the opportunity to move home, granted they find and want to work in their hometown, I recommend that they seize it, and suck it up for a year or two. After all, it will probably be the last time you get a chance to see your parents on a day-to-day basis, and it’s a good step towards financial security if you learn to budget as though you have moved out.