Moved Back In With My Parents at 31
I just moved back in with my parents over the weekend. Before you ask, no, I’m not having a quarter-life crisis (bahahaha!).
I had been living on my own 1.5 hours away from my hometown for the last twelve years (10 of those being a student). That’s a long time to be away from family and I didn’t even know I missed it. So, since I work from home and nothing was holding me in Ottawa anymore, I made the decision to move back in.
Luckily I have my own space and am renting their basement, otherwise, I think I would be losing too much of my independence. Now that I’ve been here for a few days it surprisingly feels natural and the right decision for me.
IM JUST A MILLENNIAL WHO MOVED BACK IN WITH MY PARENTS
My choice to move back to the town I left years ago, and occupy my parent’s house, is not a unique situation for my generation. It’s a common occurrence for Millennials to move back after their education or because they can’t afford to live on their own yet.
In a 2016 study by the Pew Research Center, statistics showed the percentage of 18-34 year-olds living with their parents today is similar to 1940 following the Great Depression. Both instances can be blamed on economic troubles. During the 1940s they were climbing out of a recession and today young adults are crippled by student debt, lower earnings and higher cost of living. (source)
The average student debt for a graduate in Ontario is $28,000 (source). This does not include international students who sometimes accrue 100k in debt to study here! Nor does it account for students who continue there education, thus doubling their debt (erhmmm, like me).
The average wage for workers out of college hasn’t budged much since the 1970s either. In 1977, the average hourly wage was $24.00. In 2016, it was $27.70. Workers are more educated today, yet the wages aren’t showing this increase in education. (source)
With the average earning growing slowly and the cost of living (think housing costs) growing quickly, there is no chance for us unless you’re lucky straight out of university.
6 TIPS I FOUND AFTER I MOVED BACK IN WITH MY PARENTS
1 – Discuss Concerns Before Moving
My first tip to surviving moving back in with your parents is to communicate your concerns with them.
I was on the fence for a LONG TIME before I moved back in with my parents. For years it kept coming up in conversations every time my parents would visit in Ottawa. I obviously had my concerns and reasons for declining but I never voiced them until this year. Once I shared my anxieties about moving back (eg. loss of freedom, my hometown is boring, I will be smothered by my nephew etc.) they were able to dispel most of my fears. Once that happened I was suddenly excited to move and get out of the situation I was in before.
2 – Pay Rent
I disagree with people moving back in with their parents without offering anything in return. At least cover your electricity, water, internet and other expenses you are adding to their bills. It will still be less than renting your own place but you can rest easy you’re not mooching off your parents who are probably planning their retirement.
If you’re moving back to pay a massive amount of debt and can arrange a temporary period of free rent to pay it off then that’s fine. But don’t live the high life at their expense. Trust me, it’s not good karma, and they won’t be happy with it.
3 – Contribute With Housework
Get into a routine of doing housework without being asked. Your parents took care of you for 18-ish years and now it’s their turn to get a break. This is especially true because they are doing you a favor. There are plenty of ways to return it and keep everyone happy, including your share of housework.
Ask what day the garbage gets sent to the road, empty the dishwasher, vacuum the home etc.
4 – Friendship
Your relationship with your parents is going to be different than when you were a child (obviously). Now is the time to develop a closer friendship with them. If you weren’t spending enough time with them before moving now is a good time to make up for that.
My mother and I always had a close adult relationship but living 1.5 hours away made it hard to do things together. Now we’re discussing going to pottery classes, doing yoga and visiting vegetarian restaurants in the city.
Having a friendship with your parents, instead of thinking of them only as parents, will make moving back in with them a lot more enjoyable.
5 – It Isn’t Forever
You can survive the stigma of moving back in with your parents by having a plan or knowing that it isn’t forever. Unless you want it to be…
If you’re moving in to pay off student debt create a timeline until it’s paid off and you can get your own place. Or if you’re not sure how long you will need, have a rough idea when you would like to go. Make sure to discuss your plans with your parents. They may have their own which can affect your living situation.
Having an exit-strategy ensures you don’t overstay your welcome and you are moving forward with your life.
6 – Pay That Debt Off!
A big reason millennials are moving back in with their parents is to make their student loan payments. If you have a loan, use the time at home to pay off as much as you can. The faster you can pay off a debt the less you will owe in the long run. Interest rates can be a real bugger and keep you in debt longer so tackle it as soon as you can.
With the right financial strategy, you can probably pay off your entire loan in a couple of years. I recommend checking out books by Gail Vaz Oxlade for tips on paying off debt fast.
Moving back in with my parents didn’t have to be a negative thing. I disregarded the stigma that it’s a bad thing. You don’t have to believe the stigma that it’s backward or you’re a failure for doing so. As mentioned, in 2019, it’s very common and can have many benefits for your financial and mental wellbeing.
Using the 6 tips above, you can survive moving back in with your parents and maybe even enjoy your time there.