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There are numerous advantages to living with your parents after college: low cost of rent, free food, the opportunity to build up your savings, etc. Moving back home can come at a cost, though; it can make it harder to develop independence, date, and have a full social life.
So while living with your parents is totally normal, how long should you stay?
What Amount of Time is Normal?
The normal amount of time to live with your parents varies depending on your culture. In Italy, nearly a third of adults live with their parents. And in some cases, living with your parents is absolutely necessary—many people with ailing parents choose to live with them so they can provide care.
Before the ongoing Great Recession, the answer to this question would be “until age 18.” Now, the situation is much different. In the U.S., it’s become the norm to live with your parents as an adult. According to a 2016 analysis by the Pew Research Center, 32.1% of adults live with their parents, while 31.6% live with a spouse or partner and 14% live alone or with a roommate.
The norm of leaving home at 18 is changing as a result of weak economic conditions in the U.S. It’s extremely unlikely that most young adults can or should move out of their parents’ home once they hit 18.
The bottom line is that living at home is rarely the first choice of young adults. Living with parents is an unfortunate state of affairs that results from few jobs, the high cost of living, and low wages. High student loan debt is also a factor keeping young adults at home. Living with parents is a situation that young adults need an exit strategy to escape.
The question of how long you should live with your parents is a question of how long it takes to become financially independent. If you’re unemployed, you’ll have to live with your parents longer.
For many people, living at home for one to three years after college seems like the new normal. If you find yourself living at home after three years, you should reevaluate your efforts to better your financial situation.
In one sense, the answer to “how long should you live with your parents” is “for as little time as possible.” Sometimes living with parents can be economically useful as an intentional choice, though.
What Amount of Time is Beneficial?
There are a few explanations for the duration of time that people spend living with their parents. There are also a few reasons why it might make sense to live with your parents for longer than the bare minimum amount of time.
If your parents live near a city where there are jobs, living with them for a few years can be a great way of saving up enough money to buy a home or at least sign a lease. Commuting from your parents’ home to work and back may be brutal, but at least it comes with a meal and a smile at the end of the day.
Likewise, if parents are willing to provide a home for adults engaged in further education with the agreement that the adult will move out upon completion of that education, living at home is beneficial.
For most young adults, moving out is a goalpost to hit after securing employment.
How Long Is Too Long?
The looming question pertains to the limit of time spent living at home. It’s entirely possible for a young adult to overstay their welcome at home. This goes double for adults who are unemployed or fall into annoying habits. As years spent at home drag on, the chances of conflict in the home rise.
It’s safe to say that adults older than 30 should not be living at home with their parents unless they are caring for parents with declining health. By the time someone is 30, they should have had enough time to secure a job and save up enough to move out. Other than that cutoff point, there is no single answer to how long you should be living with your parents.
The recession has broken the back of ideas like defined periods of time for living with parents. You should strive for financial independence as expediently as possible, and make sure you have a plan in place.