Ever since I've been running this site, I've had readers over and reach out to me and ask if moving back in with their parents is a good or bad idea. Now a lot of you might be thinking, “No way, that's a terrible idea!” And for a lot of people, that's absolutely the case.
The reality (I think) is that millennials don't want to move back in with their parents. Who would? It sucks. I always roll my eyes when I see someone complain that all millennials are lazy and just want to move into their parents' basement. That's just simply not true. The real problem is that there are tons of young people with thousands and thousands of dollars of student loan debt, and cutting living expenses is the easiest way to get ahead.
Believe it not, there are also circumstances where some of my older readers are considering the same move! Living with parents is probably a little more common than you would think, and there really isn't anything wrong with it as long as some ground rules are set and everyone involved is on the same page.
Once upon a time, my wife and I moved back in with her parents…
My wife and I actually lived with her parents after we graduated from college, started our careers, and I started the process of paying off my student loans. It wasn’t awful– it was a pragmatic solution that helped us pay off our debt. We rented a 10’x10’ room for $500 a month, we helped with dinner and chores, and Coral got to spend some really valuable time with her father before he passed away.
I used to hate talking about how we lived with her parents. To be honest, I was a little embarrassed about the whole situation. I knew we were making the right decision financially, and I knew that it was actually a good situation for her parents because my wife's father had a terminal illness and they needed help around the house.
But here's the deal…
Moving back home isn’t something you should take lightly, embarrassment aside. Your parents thought you would be gone for good, and they’ve probably gotten used to living their best life. Did your Mom turn your bedroom into a sewing room? Has your Dad gotten used to watching football naked?
And even though I’m telling you that moving back in with your parents can be a really good financial decision, there are going to be pros and cons, so weigh those up before even bringing it up with Mom and Dad.
If you’ve decided that moving back in with your parents might help, then you better get comfortable with the fact that…
Moving back in with your parents isn’t going to be Downy fresh folded laundry, smiley face pancakes, and hot cocoa. It’s an agreement… between adults… because that’s what you all are now. Remember that.
No matter how much money living at home is going to save you or how much faster you’ll pay off your student loans, it will take some work. Fortunately, I’ve got some sage advice that will help you all survive.
State your purpose in being there
Once your parents consent to you living with them again (it’s their house, not yours), you need to be very clear about your intentions. This doesn’t mean you’ll have to draw up a contract or anything, but you need to be honest with them, and yourself, about what you are trying to accomplish.
Paying off student loans was the reason we lived with my wife’s parents. We told them that from the get-go. But your reasons might be a little different. You could be putting money aside for an emergency fund before you get your own place. It might be trying to find a job.
Having clear and positive intentions from the get-go will help all of you understand what’s happening. It will probably even help you stay focused on that goal so you can eventually move out before your parents just kick you out.
Read more at Should You Move Back Home to Save Money?
Carry your own weight
Man, I can’t say this enough, don’t be a freeloader. You’re an adult who is moving back in with your parents, respect their time and space by helping out around the house. Do the dishes, help with meals, carry groceries in, do your own laundry, etc.
I even highly suggest offering to pay rent of some kind. Your parents may or may not accept it, but it keeps the whole situation more adultlike.
It’s their house, so follow their rules
Don’t be a jerk and think that being an adult means you can do whatever you want. Again, this is your their house, not yours.
Do what you want when you’re out of the house, but respect their rules and expectations when you’re at home. If your parents don’t think house parties are cool, then don’t have them. If they’d rather you not come home at 3 a.m., then come home earlier.
Autonomy is important, so if your parents are trying to harsh your mellow a little too much, have an honest conversation about that. But again, they are doing you a huge favor by letting you move back home.
Privacy, what’s that?
Moving back in with your parents is going to a huge adjustment for all of you. If you spent any time living away from them, then you have gotten used to a certain amount of privacy, but prepare for that to all go out the window when you’re back at home. The sooner you realize this the better.
However, it isn’t just your privacy that’s at stake, it’s theirs too. Your parents love you, but even the most loving parents hope to spend their golden years without you cramping their style 24/7.
Get to know your parents
I’ve talked to a lot of friends of mine who talk about how they didn’t like their parents when they were in their teens but that getting to know their parents as an adult was kind of like finding friends they never knew they had. Your parents are more than just parents, so why not use this opportunity to get to know them as friends?
You’re all going to survive moving back in with your parents if you can find some common ground. I had some really great conversations with Coral’s dad while we lived with him, and it ended up being some really special time considering that he passed away while we were living there.
Don’t be embarrassed by moving back in with your parents
There are going to be people who judge you for living with your parents, but judging someone for living at home at 30 is basically judging them for being good with their money.
There are obvious benefits to moving back home, but not everyone is going to realize those things. For a while, I was actually pretty embarrassed to talk about living with my in-laws. I had to remind myself why we were doing it and the fact that we weren’t moochers.
Saving money and being a financially responsible adult can be really tough sometimes. It’s seeing your friends going out every weekend, spending the week in Mexico, and buying new cars.
But… you’re letting your peers pass you now so you can pass them later.
Moving back in with your parents may feel like a step backward for an adult, but when you’re doing it for the reasons I’ve mentioned, there is absolutely no shame in it.
Read more at Moving Back Home: Temporary Gain for Future Gain.
Have an exit strategy
I know I’m going to hear angry comments from some of you about this, but I’m going to venture to say that the majority of people living at home in their 40s went into it with no real plan or strategy to leave.
I know there are some people who get really comfortable living at home, but don’t get too comfortable… ideally, you do want to leave some day.
If you are moving back in with your parents, then make sure to have a clear plan to move out before you move in to begin with. As you get closer to the goal you are trying to accomplish, start thinking about how you’re going to leave.
How much do you need in savings to move into your own place? Do you have a stable job? Did you reach your goal?
Also, don’t just ghost your parents. Talk about your plan to leave and when it’s going to happen.