“I don’t know where to invite her back.”
I’ve had this conversation more times than I want to admit with friends in their 30s who live with their parents. Imagine meeting the partner of your dreams. You guys hit it off. Things are going well. Then the reality sinks in that you can’t spend an evening together because you’re 31 and still living with your parents.
This can be embarrassing. This article might hurt your feelings, but you need it. So keep on reading. We’re going to look at the pros and cons of living with your parents as you hit your late-20s.
How common is it for millennials to be living at home?
Lately it feels more common for me to meet people who live with their folks. If I make a new friend at the gym or somewhere I usually just assume that they live at home because I don’t want to make it awkward by asking them if they live alone. I’m more surprised now when I meet someone who actually has their own place.
According to Statistics Canada:
“More than one in three (34.7%) young adults aged 20 to 34 were living with at least one parent in 2016, a share that has been increasing since 2001.”
That makes it seem pretty common to be living at home in Canada. I found this gem about my city (Toronto):
“Among the 35 census metropolitan areas (CMAs) in the country, Toronto (47.4%) and Oshawa (47.2%) had the largest shares of young adults living with their parents—almost one in two young adults.”
I guess you shouldn’t feel too bad if you’re 28 and still have to report to your parents when you go out for the night.
How does the rest of the world compare?
This article on the Independent shows us what’s happening in the United Kingdom:
“Data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that the percentage of young adults living with their parents in the UK has risen from just over a fifth (21 per cent) in 1996 to 26 per cent in 2017, rising from 2.7 million to 3.4 million in the past two decades.”
The Pew Research Center presents the following data on the US:
“As of 2016, 15% of 25- to 35-year-old Millennials were living in their parents’ home. This is 5 percentage points higher than the share of Generation Xers who lived in their parents’ home in 2000 when they were the same age (10%), and nearly double the share of the Silent Generation who lived at home in 1964 (8%).”
Interesting. You shouldn’t feel too bad if you’re still living with your parents. You’re not alone.
Let’s look at the idea of living with your parents in your late-20s/30s.
You’re excused if you’re a student or fresh out of college. I’m going to present both sides to the argument. I would love to hear from you on the topic too.
Full disclosure: I’ve spent time in my late-20s at home. I sold one condo and I was wrapping up another pre-construction condo. The closing got delayed multiple times. I was pretty much on stand-by with my housing situation. I was at home for two years more than I expected to be. I also go home often. My parents live close and I like to visit with both of my brothers away in Australia.
What’s the argument for staying at home with your parents?
There are obviously extreme situations where one has to stay at home. If your parents rely on you to be a caregiver or if something tragic happened in your life, it’s understandable to not move out. That stuff happens and it’s not cool to judge someone for helping out or being a victim of a terrible scenario. We’re not here to be mean spirited.
When’s it okay to stay at home with your parents in your late-20s/30s?
You’re saving up for a home down-payment.
I can’t ignore the astronomical real estate prices in Toronto because real estate prices have recently skyrocketed in Toronto. Buying a home isn’t so affordable and it might take you a few extra years to save up.
It will definitely take a few extra years to go through the following:
- Graduate college/take an internship.
- Find a job that pays well.
- Pay down student loans/debt.
- Save up.
- Figure out life.
- Start investing your money.
Sometimes the best thing for you is to reduce your expenses so that you can save up. Living at home a few extra years will allow you to get on top of your finances.
*This is assuming that you’re actually working on moving out instead of just sharing memes all day and watching Netflix.
[Read this article on how to buy your first property.]
You help your family out.
I have friends who are at home because their family needs them. Between driving to doctor appointments and doing work around the home, they’re essentially needed on call 24/7. I respect that. Your family could need you financially or emotionally too. You have to be there for your family when they need you. Kudos to you for stepping up in this area.
You’re planning a big move.
You either want to buy a place but don’t want to rush or you’re debating leaving town for a job. There’s no sense in signing a lease or to apply for a mortgage if you don’t know where you’re going to be in a few months. Living at home will give you the flexibility to make important life decisions at your own convenience.
Your life’s in chaos.
Your credit score is a disaster. Your business has failed. Your long-term partner just left you. Nothing appears to be going well.
It’s okay to resort to the comfort of your family. The last thing you need to is to stress about how you’re going to put a roof over your head. You might need some time to save up or to just figure out what to do next.
Now let’s look at the other side of this discussion…
Why should you move out asap?
Your social life.
“I can’t have anyone over because my mom has work in the morning.”
There’s nothing cool about being 30 without a place to bring your dates or to entertain company in general. Your social life will take a huge hit if you live at home.
Before you lecture me, I’m not saying that life should be all about parties and dating, but there’s nothing like having your own space at the end of the day. You also want to be able to host your buddies without asking your mom if she has work.
You have to step up.
How do you expect to grow as a person if you’re still mooching off your parents?
You have to step up at some point. Nobody’s forcing you to get married but it’s okay to get your own place so that you can play music late at night or sleep in on the weekends.
Start building equity.
I was lucky enough to get into real estate before it became unaffordable in Toronto. I don’t feel like getting into the whole buy vs rent debate in this article. I’m going to assume that you want to buy. The sooner that you buy, the sooner that you can start building up your equity.
Moving out and buying a place will also force you to focus on your finances (credit score, savings, paying bills on time, etc.).
Give your parents a break.
Imagine this for a second. You’re 60 years old and you want to watch the hockey game in your underwear. Your 29-year old kid decides to have their friends over to pre-drink before hitting the bar. How annoying is that?
Your parents deserve a break. They put in so much time and money into you. Now it’s their turn to relax. They also might want to start thinking about retirement. Don’t be a drain on them.
“Believe it and you will achieve it.”
The other day I saw a friend post some useless motivational meme. It’s kind of sad when someone who still lives at home goes on with the life advice. You shouldn’t be giving life advice. How are you supposed to grow or be taken seriously if you’ve never done your own laundry or even paid an electrical bill?
It’s difficult to grow as a human being when you can’t even go out on a Friday night without your mom asking about what time you’re going to be home.
Improve your relationship with your family.
It’s tough to live with your parents because there usually aren’t many boundaries and it’s easy to get into arguments over everything.
In the middle of writing this article, I went to visit family friends. The daughter is a few years younger than me and she’s ready to move out. During the same event, I proudly heard my parents talking about my condo.
Do you think that your parents want to have their 33-year old kid living at home as they try to retire in peace?
Do you really want to look back at these years and tell your future grandchildren about how you lived at home?
Okay Martin — I can’t afford to leave. What do I do?
The first step is confession. You have to admit that you’re at home because you can’t afford to move out. Then you have to make a plan to get out. There’s no sense in lying to yourself.
You can start with these three steps.
Step 1: See where your money’s going.
Where are you spending your money?
I’m all for bottle service and going out. There’s just nothing cool about getting bottle service every weekend when you’re still at home.
It’s important to figure out what’s happening with your money. Check your balances and see what you’re doing with your money. Then fix this so that you can have money to move out.
Step 2: Work on your finances.
Stop making excuses and get on track with your money. The time for messing around is over. You’re going to get pathetic.
It’s time to get your money on track. I’ve linked to articles throughout this piece. Check out my piece on what to do when it feels like you’re going to be broke forever.
Step 3: Set a deadline.
“What’s your deadline?”
This is the first question that I ask people who I work with just to see if they’re serious. Without a firm deadline, you’re just daydreaming.
You need urgency and a deadline.
When do you want to be out? What’s the absolute latest that you could be at home?
To recap the three steps for moving out:
- See where your money’s going.
- Work on your finances (start saving, fix that credit score, and more).
- Set a deadline.
I know that you might think you’re doing the right thing by staying at home. The reality is that you’re just hurting yourself by delaying your growth and your step up to the next level. We all get comfortable at times. This is a wake up call.
What did you guys have to say about living at home?
I polled my friends on Twitter to see what they had to say.
@dreamer_money: I left home at 17. But in Mexican households it’s totally ok to live with the parents until you marry. Doing what I did is considered being Americanized. Needless to say I think it’s only ok for the short-term or if going through financial hardships.
@maulermark: From the Dad of three early twenty-somethings – heck no! I believe parents and kids are happier with their own space.
@picksuppennies: Hmm. I was out at 27. But it’s pretty much expected in my family to move back home if you’re not married.
@finance_orchid: Yup it’s totally fine. Just not for me as I had way too much pride to attempt to make it on my own during my 20s. Still got help later anyway.
@ferventfinance: I lived at home 1 year after college. Was perfect amount to save up and then move the heck out.
@steveonomics: Living at home after 18 or college without a plan is a recipe for disaster and complacency. Anywhere with a low-cost of living, I think you should move out asap. But when rent down the street is $2-3k/month, staying a few extra years could be life changing.
@smileandconquer: If you need it temporarily to escape a tough situation then sure, but the keyword would be temporary. The goal should always be to move out.
@thegiveandget: I think a safety net is fine but the kids have to use it as a backup, not plan A. People who are coddled too much get weird.
@moneydoneright: I personally think it’s fine, but I do think from a datability perspective, it could be a turn off. I know my sisters wouldn’t date a guy older than them who still lives at home. I don’t think the stigma is as great for women; most guys wouldn’t care if she lives at home.
@teacherfire1: I think it’s fine, I don’t see it as a problem. Some families were made for this. A close friend of mine and his brother lived with their parents until they were 35. I personally couldn’t do it and my mom wouldn’t want me in there.
What do you guys think — At what age should you move out? When do you become too old to be living with your parents? I would love to hear from both sides about living at home. I would also love to hear from the parents too.