A 2013 study from Pew Research discovered that 21.6 million young adults between the ages of 18 and 31 still lived at home with their parents. Financial issues can be a big factor in this move away from independence. Whether you’re commuting to school or are a recent college graduate, there are various advantages and disadvantages to sharing a home with your folks. It’s best to make a concrete, practical list defining the pros and cons to your current living situation before you decide to officially leave the nest.
Pros: Independence and Privacy
If you live under your parents’ roof, you’re letting them set the rules and make all of the household decisions; moving out means that you’re the boss of you. If you want to stay out late, play your music loud, neglect chores or walk around in your underwear, chances are you’re going to have nothing but arguments coming from your folks who rule the roost, and rightfully so. Not to mention if you want to bring a date home for a little late-night cocktail and chat, you’ll be plenty embarrassed if Mom or Dad comes out of their bedroom, telling you to keep the noise down.
Cons: It’s Expensive
Whether you don’t want to get in over your head with student loans or if you’re already in the phase of paying them back, you can save a bundle living with your parents. Even if you’re paying them rent, chances are it won’t be nearly as costly as living on your own, with high rents, food, utilities and insurance costs. A deposit on an apartment alone will cost you at least one or two months full rent; and then you have to buy furniture to fill the place. Campus dorms also aren’t cheap. Expense is definitely something to consider and a big negative of moving out.
Pros: Get Your Work Done
If you’re still in school, it might be easier to get your work done and keep focus on your studies while living at home. Odds are your parents’ house is going to be a lot quieter than your average dorm. You also won’t have the kinds of distractions that you would have if you had a roommate; and you probably won’t have to get a job that would take you away from your studies to pay bills.
Cons: You’re Not Ready
Some college freshmen aren’t mature enough to live alone. There are a lot of decisions that need to be made, and some 18- and 19-year-olds still need their parents’ structure and rules to get their work done, to feel secure and to thrive. Living alone or in a dorm where you don’t know anyone can be lonely, if you’re shy and have difficulties with social interactions. Sometimes a few extra years of living under Mom and Dad’s wing are the extra nurturing you need to succeed.
Pros: Being a Part of a Community
Living on campus means there’s always something going on nearby, be it entertainment offerings, social gatherings, study groups, music jams, literary readings, clubs, sports games or impromptu chances to meet new people. Most colleges have a thriving, close community specifically designed for those who live on campus. Commuting to your parents’ home means you will be out of the loop.
Bonnie Crowe is a mother of two teenagers; a teacher and author of children's books, curriculum and articles on English grammar, literature, technology, art, parenting and career guides for high schoolers. She's a former director of AOL Parenting, a member of SCBWI, and a graduate from the University of California,Berkeley.