Is it okay to move in with your parents?

by Erika Torres
28 comments

If you move back home after college, would you consider yourself a failure?

A few weeks ago, I read a post written by Hithatsmybike about how she believes no one over the age of 20 should be living at home or else you’re a  failure.

As someone who was living with my parents until age 25, I was a bit taken aback by her stance.

via

She may believe–no matter how hard I try and argue my circumstances–that I should be ashamed of myself. But at the end of the day–I’m the one that has to live with myself. Not her, not you, not anyone else. So as long as you know what you’re doing is the right path for you, then who gives a flying hot dog what anyone else thinks?

But I do know that when you post something where they think they’re better than other people over a living situation, it’s going to get under some people’s skins. So let me instead state why I think it’s okay to live with your parents.

Cultural reasons

In a ton of other cultures, women–and even men– don’t leave their homes until they’re married. This is true for my Mexican family–and if my mom could have nailed me to my bed and gotten away with it, trust me she would have. It’s a family thing. My mom still doesn’t understand why anyone would want to move out on their own and waste money on rent.

Frugality

There may be a large portion of people who move in with their parents and are lazy and really don’t care about moving out–okay I’ll give you that. But there are a lot of other people who are working their butts off to make ends meet and are doing the financially responsible thing and saving money so they can stand on their own two feet.

There are also people I know of who are my age and get rent paid by their mom and dad–so yeah if you want to call them lazy, that’s fine. I can at least admit it and say I’m just jealous : P

You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors

To imply that I’m lazy and unmotivated simply because I was living with my parents goes beyond everything I’ve ever been. I was working four jobs, seven days a week, waking up at 5 a.m. some mornings to work as a front-desk clerk at a gym, then going to my regular job from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. then babysitting on Saturday nights and helping my neighbor out at his store on Sundays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and you want to call me lazy?

I graduated in 2006 and lived with my parents til 2009. I waited until I had enough income to move out on my own and be able to not live off ramen. In my opinion, that’s more responsible than moving out just for sake of saying I live on my own.

Judge yourself

At the end of the day, the only person you need to care about is yourself. If you’re doing what’s right for you and your situation–no matter what society says or what ill-minded bloggers may write–then it’s all good. The only person you need to worry about is yourself. The rest is just fluff.

What’s your opinion?


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28 comments

Nivas July 17, 2017 - 1:10 am

I agree with you that moving is hard work! I’ve had to move a couple of times, and every time I end up having a major stress attack! I like the graph that you posted! I need to be better at trashing, selling, and donating. I’ll take your advice and do that more often!

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Adrienne January 17, 2012 - 4:28 pm

Sorting through some of your amazing posts and I just found this! My husband and I actually just moved in with my parents (it’s going really well so far) and we’ve received quite a bit of judgment. However, we’re confident in this decision because it’s the best choice for us financially. Our goal is to save some money, but mostly, to put away some debt and be able to live off one salary (I eventually want to be a SAHM). So, for us, it’s great. I don’t believe that a person can really put an opinion on so many different lives, so I’d have to say, it depends.

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Randa December 3, 2011 - 7:30 pm

Ehh, I have mixed feelings about this. I feel like if you have a financial/obtainable life plan and you live with your parents, you’re not a failure, especially if you’re paying them to live there. But if you’re just living off your parents because you “don’t know what you want to do” or you fear growing up, then I’ll be honest and say that I think you’re a failure, especially if you’re over 21 – I’ll go as far as say 21 but after that, it’s time to step up. Culture being the exception, of course, since each family is different and you may be shunned if you move out prior to marriage no matter your financial state. I know a couple of people who live with their parents because it’s “free,” which I think is wrong but the parents do it to themselves by allowing it. One of my very good friends’ parents paid all of her living and college costs, “play” money, etc until she was well into her 20s and partially gives her money now. She has had no job and her parents are not exactly rolling in the dough. Her mother had to delay her retirement just to pay for the daughter’s lifestyle. To me, this is wrong. After 18, you should not be a financial burden to your parents. If they want to help and can, fine, but if they’re struggling and you throw your dead weight on there as well, then you’re not only a failure, I would go as far as saying you’re a bad child. Of course, parents put themselves in this situation by letting this happen.

I also think people who are financial dependent on their families a year after college [with some leeway due to the economic state we’re in] are stepping into failure boundaries but that’s because of MY culture. In my family, if you’re not taking on financial responsibilities at age 16 to be able to be fully independent by 18 then you’re a failure. College was a HUGE culture shock for me because I was independent at that age – I had a job for two years, just a couple hours shy of full time, along with going to high school and being in various leadership roles. In college, I paid for all my college expenses, bills, and housing while working with no help from my parents. I left with a small loan due to first year living requirements that I didn’t foresee but it’s completely manageable and will be gone in a couple of years. Less than a year out of college, I even bought my own house [which actually saved me nearly 50% of what I was paying in rent but I got a yard and a bigger place].

I don’t look down on my friends because of whatever situation they have going on with their families, especially in these hard economic times and I may not know their full situation, but I don’t agree with some of it. However, I understand that it’s their way of life and is not my business to butt in. Just like they think it’s odd that I don’t consult my parents on the things I choose, I think it’s odd that they DO rely on their parents so much! Different strokes for different folks, right?

Wow. That was a long winded comment just to say “eh.” :0]

Ultimately, it’s up to you whether you feel like a failure or not – others shouldn’t matter because they’re going to judge you whether you do or don’t.

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The Linz (Beyond Destination 26.2) December 3, 2011 - 6:27 am

I totally agree with you! I had to make the hard decision to move back home at 23. It was either move home with my parents and graduate from college or fail out of college because I was holding down 2-3 jobs just to be able to live on my own.

It was really hard for me to make that decision to move back home at that time, but in the end it was the best one.

I didn’t move home because I was lazy — I still held 2 jobs while at home. But it gave me the leeway to take less hours and to actually graduate. My parent’s weren’t helping me out with school — so it was up to me to do it all. I felt lucky that they would let me move back in with them for my last year of college.

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Shaun @ Smart Family Finance December 3, 2011 - 3:20 am

According to a recent survey 21% of 20 somethings receive some kind of parental support. In many nations, having help from family isn’t frowned on it is expected. Only in America is helping family considered strange.

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Well Heeled Blog December 4, 2011 - 3:50 pm

The funny thing is that even in America there are plenty of parents helping out their kids – it might not be as common or as “open” as other cultures, but when you look at the wealth that is transferred from well-to-do parents to their kids, it’s easy to see what a difference it makes: connections that lead to jobs, free car when the kids graduate, free rent, college or graduate assistance, down payment, inheritance, etc.

My parents absolutely subscribe to the thought that parents should help out their kids to do even better than they have done, and there is nothing shameful or wrong about that. If I have a kid, that will be my thought as well. My job is to raise a smart, responsible, compassionate kid and provide them with enough financial resources so he/she can “launch” into a successful adulthood.

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Roshawn @ Watson Inc December 2, 2011 - 8:30 pm

You bring up very good points. I personally know several people who moved back home for cultural reasons. I also don’t think living at home necessarily means that someone is lazy. That said, I think there are plenty of people who abuse the situation and who are unmotivated. Still without acknowledging that there are more people living at home than just lazy, unmotivated slackers, it does rightfully spark the feelings you mention in this post. In short, I see your point.

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Teacher Girl December 2, 2011 - 7:19 pm

For strictly financial reasons, I wish I could have moved back home after college. Unfortunately for me, my parents have two young children and my grandmother to take care of so there is no room or finances for me. I have always been sort of forced into growing up throughout my life, and though it is a good thing, I am sometimes bitter about it. Especially when nearly all of my friends who aren’t married live at home and literally have a ton of money and are able to take trips whenever they want while all my money goes to my mortgage and bills. *sigh* sorry for that run-on. I guess my point is that I am proud of the fact that I moved out at 17 and never looked back, but financially I wish I could have lived at home.

And personally, I see nothing wrong with living at home as long as it is for the right reasons, like you said.

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Kim December 2, 2011 - 4:13 pm

Just like there are cultural differences about ideas of moving home, there is one of location – the blogger from that article is in Canada, and most of her and your readers are in the USA. Canada has a larger safety net – government health insurance, government pension, higher minimum wage, heavily subsidized college tuition, and has a lower unemployment rate than the USA. College is like a fifth of the cost of the USA. I’m sure there is much more I’m unaware of.

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Katie (Red) December 3, 2011 - 7:43 pm

This is actually a really good point that I hadn’t thought of when I originally read hithat’smybike’s post! Great comment!

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SB @ One Cent At A Time December 2, 2011 - 3:02 pm

You mentioned cultural thing, and I agree wholeheartedly. In our culture we abnormal to not live with parents. I feel it is perfectly OK to live with parents. In our local community we joke about people in this country calling parents to let them know that they are coming to see them.

I am glad that I grew up in a culture where parents are our immediate family who can come and go anytime and vice-verse.

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Stevie December 2, 2011 - 2:36 pm

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, and it is no one’s business but your own what kind of living situation you have.

I moved out on my own when I was 19, but moved to California when I was 21 and lived with my dad and stepmom for a bit. Then I moved back to Seattle in my mid 20s and lived with my mum for a bit. I’ve been on my own since then, but my fiance and I have considered moving in with his dad, and eventually buying his dad’s house when he retires.

Sure, there are the losers who live with their parents for their entire lives, but for someone to imply that EVERYONE who lives with their parents is a lazy, worthless person, needs to get their head out of their ass.

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The Happy Homeowner December 2, 2011 - 2:19 pm

When I left my parent’s house to attend college at 18, I never returned there to live. Looking back, even if I’d have lived at home during the summers, I wouldn’t have gotten myself into half the financial mess I did. Of course there were various other reasons why it was better for me to be on my own, but if we’re talking strictly financials, I wish that I would have stayed longer in order to have a better financial foundation.

On the flip side, I have an ex whose sister is 37 and still living at home. She has enormous amounts of credit card debt and still charges her way into oblivion. It still makes my skin crawl when thinking of my sisters who are on their own as recent college grads, even not being around that family anymore–this is a prime example of someone who isn’t doing anything to learn, better themselves, or fix the situation they’re in. The family turns a blind eye and she continues to dig herself deeper. What a mess!

Obviously there are stories of both sides, both extremes. This gets at the heart of PERSONAL finance–everyone’s situation is different. As long as you’re working your tail off and trying to build a better (or more stable) financial life, go ahead and live at home for a few years!

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Whit December 2, 2011 - 1:15 pm

I stayed at home until I was 23, and would have stayed longer, but a great apartment opportunity presented itself to me so I jumped on it.

My little brother is 19 and jumping the gun to move out and I tell him to stay at home as long as possible. You don’t realize until you are out on your own how many hidden expenses there are in being a “grown up.”

I’m glad I stayed home as long as I did and saved up as much as I could while it was possible.

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Hawaii Planner December 2, 2011 - 10:17 am

When I graduated from college, I would have agreed with the blogger. But, the economy has changed so much since then. While I hope that my kids are able to successfuly find a job right after college, I would likely give them a year to save up if they are struggling.

Learning to be fiscally responsible & independent can happen in a variety of ways – there is no fixed rule, in my mind.

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A Super Girl December 2, 2011 - 10:15 am

I lived at home until 25ish too, and likely would have stayed longer but a boyfriend served as the kick in the butt I needed to get back out on my own.

I haven’t read this person’s blog post, but my response to her/him would be that thanks to the fact that my parents took me for a couple years, I was able to save and now enjoy a pretty sweet bank account despite having a job that isn’t super high paying. I really value the fact that I’m able to live a financially independent life now because I took some time to evaluate what I needed and save for the future.

However, I would say that I still think there’s a limit to how old people should be who live at home. I guess I wouldn’t call you a failure if you were 32 and living with your parents, but I might give second thought to dating you.

We all have our ideas of what success equals, and I consider myself a pretty successful adult BECAUSE I lived at home.

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newlywedsonabudget December 2, 2011 - 11:22 am

This is a great succinct response. I think sometimes it takes a lot of courage to do the non-popular thing because it’s what’s right for you and your situation.

My husband lived at home when we started dating, and I didn’t look at him as a failure. He had been making a good income but decided that wasn’t what he wanted to do. He moved back in with his parents to put himself through school.

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Amandalynn Sawyer December 2, 2011 - 7:26 am

I think that each situation is different. With the economy how it is, its REALLY difficult for some people to find a job that pays more than minimum wage. Its getting better, but only in certain fields! I lived with my dad up until he passed away, but I was going to college full time AND working 3 jobs – hardly lazy. After he died I rented a room from people left and right, people I KNEW and that I offered what i could afford (which wasn’t much!) and it was enough to help them out, but not so much that I couldnt afford to pay my 100k in student loans.

Even working in my field, in my CHOSEN field, to find a job that I enjoyed doing meant that I had to be paid LESS than the industry standard for my field. So do you sacrifice happiness and joy in yourself and your work so that you can afford to live on your own in a one bedroom apartment that you NEVER SEE because you have to work more jobs to make ends meet? And there is something to be said about having a person at home – a roommate, a parent, etc after you work those three jobs to be able to have even a five minute conversation each night and feel that you are HUMAN.

I think there are SURELY people who lack the passion that I know some people have, and who take advantage of their parents left and right. There are some people who have no desire to find work, and want their parents to keep taking care of them even after the ties SHOULD HAVE been broken. To those parents, I say two words – TOUGH LOVE. Look it up! It’s an amazing, but sometimes hard to follow set of directions… but its truly for their own good!

🙂 All my best! Amandalynn

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newlywedsonabudget December 2, 2011 - 11:23 am

LOVE this comment! Yes, there are people who work hard, and yes there are people who are lazy. Just like EVERY situation!

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Emily @ evolvingPF December 2, 2011 - 7:25 am

I think it all depends on your motivation and whether or not you have an exit plan. I do think that living on your own/becoming financially independent is a vital step for reaching adulthood (in American culture).

Even within my own family of origin I can see how living with parents can be acceptable or detrimental:

I lived with my parents for about 6 months right after I graduated from college. Before graduation I secured my dream job in the same metro area that my parents lived in and since I had been 3,000 miles away at college for four years I thought it would be nice to be close to them again and have time to re-bond. My job was only for 1 year so I knew I would be moving on, probably to another city, in due time. I paid my parents a rent-equivalent and got my financial situation set up while I lived with them. I ended up moving out about halfway through the year because my commute was super long and living with them didn’t turn out to be the bonding experienced that I had hoped for (we get along much better when we don’t live together). So that I would say is not a shameful reason to live with parents – just a failed experiment.

My siblings, however, and particularly my sister who is now 24, are a different story. They have basically never left my parents’ home. They are languishing in community college and dead-end, part-time jobs. While it’s certainly wonderful that my parents can support them while they are in school, it has created a situation wherein they have no motivation to graduate, move out, and support themselves financially. I wish they felt more shame about living with my parents because it might spur them to become full adults.

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newlywedsonabudget December 2, 2011 - 11:25 am

hmm, this spurs the question–i wonder if my brother is paying rent…he attended community college and he is approaching the age I was when I graduated from college–and yes i paid my parents rent!

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Michelle December 2, 2011 - 6:16 am

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with living at home past age 20. A lot of my friends (most of them actually) still live at home.

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Melissa December 2, 2011 - 5:35 am

I totally used to think that. Like, what the heck is wrong with someone if they still live at home past 18. I certainly thought it when I was 18! But now? At almost 25, I WISH I could move back in with my parents. If they lived closer to the city I work in, I’d totally be living with them now. In fact, some days I really consider moving back and doing the commute into the city (they live about an hour outside of Toronto by train, 35 minutes by car). The lack of independence would be a tough things to lose, but I would save so much money by not paying rent. I mean, I feel like my adulthood is constantly being delayed ANYWAY because I’m spending so much on rent and can’t get ahead. If I could move back home and save money and realize dreams of home ownership and grad school and whatever in two years, instead of ten? I’d take it!

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Daisy December 2, 2011 - 5:19 am

I used to think it was important for emotional and mental maturity to live on your own. I moved out at 18 and was still in college, and it’s been SO hard.

Now I disagree that moving out early is important. I also disagree with Neo’s stance, but that’s because my parents didn’t pay for college, and at the end I was no financial burden at all since I was paying rent. But had I had the chance to stay living with them, I would have in retrospect. At least until college is over.

I really am not too concerned about what other people are doing, so the fact that some people evidently are is crazy to me! I think every person should be doing what they think is best for themselves and their families. If that means living with the rents, then fine!

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newlywedsonabudget December 2, 2011 - 11:28 am

I love that opinion. Daisy! They do say hindsight is always 20/20 : )

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Neo December 2, 2011 - 5:11 am

My 2 cents… once you are out of the house for college then that’s it, you really can’t go back. It is time to get out there and fend for yourself and lower the financial burden you are placing on your parents. They just paid for 4 years of school (aka partying) and sure they likely did not pay for everything and you probably have pretty big loans, but its time to step up. However, I would say that if it takes 1 year with your parents for you to find a job and a place to live then that’s ok, just remember that your parents did a lot for you. I am pretty sure I did not do a great job of thanking them and I regret that a bit…

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newlywedsonabudget December 2, 2011 - 11:31 am

I understand where you’re coming from. however, if we’re going to generalize, in my opinion, the people who spent their college years partying are the ones who also got to fly home for Thanksgiving because their parents could afford to buy their plane tickets.Those kids are also the ones who got cars bought from their mom and dad. it’s just a completely different lifestyle.

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hemborgwife December 2, 2011 - 3:13 am

I lived with my grandparents after college with my now husband since our situation was that only I was legally able to work and in Southern California there was no way we could afford a place for a long time on our own. Then when we moved back to Sweden we at first had to live with my in laws because of how long it can take to find an apartment here. I think that while neither times it was my first choice it was what needed to be done and never once due to laziness and I consider myself lucky that I have family that is willing to let two adults live with them.

So basically I agree with you that the writer of that post maybe is a little out of touch of why people make the choice to be living at home after college!

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