No shame in living at home after college (usually)

by Grace

Young adults living with their parents is on the rise, but it’s not always a bad thing.

“Few are proud to carry the stigma of a ‘boomerang kid’ — someone who moves back in with their parents after failing to make ends meet on their own. But the move makes a lot of financial sense, and could serve as a springboard that can get boomerang kids off to a flying start when they head back out into the cruel world.

Amanda Grad Meets World justifies boomeranging, describing how the plan is working for her. Thanks to help from her parents, she’s able to plot out her career without burying herself in debt.

‘Think about it — how many of you would rather be in debt up to your eyeballs instead of having the ability to put money away in the bank? How many of you would rather struggle, and I mean really struggle, during a Recession rather than taking it easy and trying to do things the smart way?

On the other hand, there are lessons to be learned  from early struggles that may prove valuable in the years ahead.  Let me put it this way.  Surviving hard times by depending on your own resources, both personal and financial, can help you gain the confidence that will buoy your chances of success during the next difficult episode in your life.  Because you know there will be more, right?

But it’s also true that  sometimes those rough early struggles can break your spirit, weaken your confidence, and set you back financially in a way that is difficult to recover from.

I am open to the possibility that my own kids will boomerang back home at some point, and I would be happy to help them if this happens.  However, I’ve seen unhappy, dysfunctional  cases of slacker kids postponing adulthood indefinitely while being enabled  by weak-willed parents.  I don’t want to fall into that trap.

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6 Comments to “No shame in living at home after college (usually)”

  1. My husband lived at home after college for several years. He was working fulltime, and saving his money. It was the norm in his family. I have seen cases of 30-something guys still living in their parents basement, usually underemployed. But I have seen plenty of those same guys living on their own, usually still in someone’s basement. A slacker is going to be a slacker no matter where he lives

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  2. “A slacker is going to be a slacker no matter where he lives”

    But I do think a swift kick in the butt can make a difference sometimes, helping a slacker reform his ways.

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  3. When I was younger I had a very negative view of young adults continuing to live with parents. (It wasn’t geographically feasible for me at any point, but my husband lived with his parents until he finished his first doctorate–he was pretty young at the time, though.)

    Nowadays, I still think there’s a major benefit to independent living for 20-somethings, but I’m realizing how horribly expensive apartment living is, especially for what you get. I’d have a hard time kicking out a responsible, employed adult child (although there probably should be a timeline and regular talks on achieving independence). On the other hand, I have the example of a male relative who lived with his parents for many, many years. He is very good with money (i.e. a bit of a miser), but his living situation left him with no concept whatsoever of the fact that it costs money to live–rent, food, lights, water, trash, telephone, etc. Even at a rather advanced age (into his 30s, I believe), he seemed to regard it as a major imposition that he needed to divert money from savings to paying for living expenses. That was a pretty extreme example, but one does hear of young people living at home who are paying for pretty much no basic living expenses, so they have no concept at all of what life on their own will be like.

    I do think that married couples should definitely not move in with either set of parents, unless under the very direst circumstances. I have heard so many tales of interpersonal weirdness.

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  4. Amy – I have always had a strong negative bias against young people living with their parents, but I also have softened my stance. Your extreme example is a good illustration of how delaying independent living skews a person’s outlook on what it means to be on your own.

    The other day I heard a 50ish guy say he couldn’t IMAGINE moving back home when he was in his 20s except in dire circumstances. That’s the spirit I most admire, and I do think that attitude has waned over the last 20 or so years.

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  5. One of my guilty pleasures is trashy reality TV shows, and last night I saw my first episode of ‘Mama’s Boys of the Bronx’. It’s about a group of 30ish Italian guys living at home, and I found it quite entertaining. But I could never imagine being attracted to any of those guys (for many reasons beyond the fact they’re living at home!).

    I moved in with my future in-laws when I was in my early 30s. It was for a few months to help my transition after I moved across the country and while I found a new job. They were wonderfully generous and it would have been very difficult if we would have had to find an apartment right away. However, my number one priority after I got a job was to move out. We moved to a dingy apartment that was many steps down from any previous living arrangement, but it was OURS.

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  6. One thing I’ve seen is that adult kids regress terribly when they are around their parents. On the one hand, this is a good thing, because it means that your adult child may be much more mature and self-sufficient than they look when they are around you. The downside is that if being around parents makes adult kids act immature and dependent, how will they ever mature if they are around their parents ALL the time?

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