Can’t believe this was already six years ago!
Has your newsfeed been filled with customized caps lately? Have you had to run home to see your sibling, friend, or family member pick up their diploma? With graduation season in full swing, everyone thinks their future is so bright that they’ve got to wear shades. But the reality is that the Class of 2016 has the most student debt in American history with a total sum of $60 billion! While we’re not in the midst of the recession like when I was in school (hey class of 2010), that’s still a lot of money to pay back with a small starting salary.
Like most millennials, I returned to the nest after earning my degree to help save money while I paid off my student debt. But unlike many of my contemporaries, I’m still hanging at home with the ‘rents and I’m happy there. Over the years, I’ve heard: “Don’t you think it’s time to be on your own?” “Don’t you want to live in the city? Wouldn’t that make it easier?” They mean well, but it doesn’t mean I have to move out if I’m not financially ready. According to U.S. News and World Report and Rent.com, the average cost of a one-bedroom in the Big Apple is $3,044—not including utilities, cable, groceries, cell phone, etc. that can put a serious strain on your wallet. And I’m not the only one! A recent study by the Pew Reasearch Center found that 32.1% of millennials are currently living at home.
While living at home eases my budget, there are benefits and pitfalls that both the child and the parent(s) have to contend with. What I’ve found is most of the problems that come along with this setup boils down to a few things to keep in mind so everyone can find harmony:
Respect: First off, this goes both ways no matter what. While you are under your parents’ roof and should adhere to their rules (within reason, as I know some households are stricter than others), they also need to understand that you’re an adult—which may be more of an adjustment for them than it is for you. They may still see you as a child, which can cloud their judgement and color how they treat you now. They need to understand that though they have endless life experiences and advice to offer, you have to make your own mistakes in order to learn from them—they’ll be there to catch you when you fall.
Communicate: Remember, you’re grown now. So that means you can’t give them the silent treatment when things don’t go your way. It only creates resentment that will build over time before it explodes, leaving everyone’s feelings hurt. Going back to respect, be upfront with your feelings when it comes to the space you share as well as how you assert your independence within the household. And your parents should hear you out and respect your opinions whether they agree or not. Once both sides are out in the open, it’ll make it much easier to find a compromise and resolve the conflict.
Contribute: Just because Mommy did your laundry before college doesn’t mean you treat your home like a hotel and sit on your butt while they do all the work. All of you have busy lives filled with jobs, bills, a social calendar, and more, but the house is a communal space you share. Whether you assign weekly chores or rotate responsibilities, you should all do your part. Pitching in not only makes it easier to maintain a household, it also compels you to feel like the house is also yours and teaches you the basics of running a home for when you finally leave the nest.
Still live with your parents and have tips of your own? Or if you’re already out on your own, what’s the biggest lesson living at home taught you? Let me know if the comments below.