The Advantages and Disadvantages of Living With Your Parents
Still living with your parents? Thinking about moving in with your folks because you can't afford rent, lost your job, got divorced, went back to school, or for some other reason?
Well, you're not alone. The percentage of people in the US who live in multigenerational family households keeps rising. In 2016, according to the Pew Research Center's analysis of census data, 40% of young adults in the US now live in multigenerational households. Millennials are the group that's most likely to live with their parents or grandparents. 33% of 25- to 29-year-olds live with their parents, and more 18- to 34-year-olds live with their parents than in any other living arrangement.
Boomers (who had it a lot easier) call millennials "the boomerang generation" and see the trend as "a failure to launch," but it doesn't have to be so negative. In fact, many cultures throughout the world think living with your parents is completely normal. As an adult in your 20s or 30s, there are advantages and disadvantages of moving back. It's important to know about both the pros and the cons before you make your decision.
Living at home is losing its social stigma: It's has become a social trend.
Advantages of Living With Your Parents
1) You will save money.
One of the biggest advantages of living with your parents is that you can save a lot more money. You'll save on rent, utility bills, renovations, shared grocery bills, and a lot more. Of course, you should be contributing to the household expenses (don't be a complete mooch!), but you won't have to spend as much as you would if you were on your own.
If you have just graduated and can't find a job, if you are out of a job and struggling to pay your debts, or if you are facing financial problems, living with your parents could be the answer. Think of it as a stopgap arrangement until you get back on your feet.
2) You won't have to do all the housework.
Living in a multigenerational setting means there are a lot more hands to to the work. You won't have to so much housework since there will be more people to pitch in on all those daily chores.
If you are still living with your parents, you may find yourself exempt from some of the more mundane tasks as your mom or dad may be doing them out of habit. If you are lucky, your mom may even do your laundry!
3) Someone will cook a nice meal when you can't.
As a working professional or a busy student, you may not always have time to fix yourself a homemade meal. If you were living on your own, you would probably grab some takeout or a quick bite the local joint, even though that's less healthy and more expensive than eating at home.
Living with your parents usually comes with the added benefit of enjoying warm, home-cooked meals even when you don't have time to cook. Your mom might even have something on the table when you come home from work!
4) Your parents can help with your kids.
Single moms and dads going through a rough patch in life may find it financially, mentally, and physically more comfortable to live with their parents until their troubles are sorted out.
Only a single parent knows how much it takes to be the sole breadwinner and child-raiser. Only a single parent knows how it feels to play both the doting dad and the caring mom. If you find yourself in a similar situation and are burdened with financial troubles, living with your parents might be the best solution, at least for a while.
From picking up your kids from school to giving them food when they're hungry, your parents could be the guardian angels that swoop in to help you scrape through when your life hits rock bottom.
5) The familiar, cozy, safe feeling of being at home.
Besides being cheaper and more convenient, another advantage of living with your parents is that there is a sense of continuity and familiarity. The house is probably the one you grew up in, in a neighborhood you're familiar with. You probably know the neighbors.
Not having to learn to navigate a whole new setting frees you up to do better things with your time.
6) The satisfaction of helping your parents.
The closer you are to your parents, the more chances you'll get to help them, too. From taking your mom to the doctors to helping your dad spruce up the garden, spending time with your parents as they age gracefully might be a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Moving in with your parents could be an opportunity to make a few extra memories rather than complain.
7) You have a caring, supportive community built in.
Sharing a living space with loving, familiar faces is a lot more comforting than being with random strangers. Nobody knows you better than your parents, so you can be yourself. If you're having trouble at work or in a relationship, you can consult your parents and learn from their experience. If you're struggling in school, you can find comfort in your family. Your parents will be there for chatting, gossiping, hanging out, and watching movies.
True community is a rare and wonderful thing in life, and there's no guarantee you'll find it outside the home. It's hard to create strong bonds with random roommates. If you feel like taking time off from renting and sharing housing with strangers, living with your parents could give you some comfort and peace of mind.
8) You have the freedom to take more risks.
Because you're not completely stretched to the limit financially, living at home gives you a little wiggle room to take risks. If you're on your own, the pressure to pay the bills might force you to accept the first job offer you get, but you can wait for a better offer if you're living at home. You have a competitive edge in the job market because you can afford to change jobs or take a lower-paying job for a little while to build your résumé. You can afford to go back to school to get the higher degree required to secure a better-paying position.
Just knowing that you have a home base to come back to if a plan falls through can give you the courage you need to try something new. You might even save enough to travel abroad!
Living at home can set you up for financial success. If you diligently save and pay down debt, you can put yourself ahead. This just isn’t possible for those millennials whose entire budget is spent on rent or mortgage.
More Advantages of Living With Your Parents
- You can learn from your parents' experience. They've already done the things you're trying to do and they'll share their experience with you: career advice, relationship advice, parenting advice, how to dress for an interview, how to cook a fancy meal... any help you need to take that next step.
- If you're sick, your parents will care for you. No one will care for you like a parent will.
- Delaying marriage is probably a good thing. Many people can only afford to move from their parents' homes when they get married. If you don't feel the pressure to move out, you might not feel pressured to get married before you're ready.
- You'll have a bigger down payment for a home eventually. Paying more up front will save you all kinds of money in the long run.
- You can reduce your student loans. The sooner you pay off that hefty student debt, the more money you'll save.
- You can get to know your parents as people... and they can get to know the adult you. When you're a child, you'll have an entirely different kind of relationship with your parents than you might have when you're an adult. Living at home is a great opportunity to get to know each other in different ways and see that parent/child relationship mature and expand.
Disadvantages of Living With Your Parents
1) You don't have any privacy or private space.
Living with your parents will strip you of your space and privacy, and that can be a psychological burden, especially if you are used to living alone.
No longer will you have the freedom to get out of bed and head to the kitchen in your underwear. No more drinking milk from the carton or playing music at odd hours. You can't even expect your parents not to enter your room since it belongs to them.
2) You can't call friends over or have house parties.
Have you always been the guy/girl at whose place friends crash every now and then? This will change when you move in with your parents. You'll can no longer allow your friends to sleep on your sofa, since the sofa is no longer yours.
You can also forget about hosting parties. Neither a cozy get-together of your college buddies nor drinks with colleagues after work will be doable if you're living with mom or dad.
3) Unwelcome advice about your life.
Whether you move in with your mum, dad, or both, you are likely to receive all kinds of advice, even if you don't ask for it. From what you eat to the amount of time that you sleep to the number of hours you play video games... be prepared to get unsolicited advice (and judgment) for just about everything.
The main reasons millennials move back with their parents are unemployment, low income, and high student debt.
4) Potential fall-out with your folks.
Since there is a generational gap between you and your parents, you can't expect them to think or behave like you. They will talk and walk in the same way as they always have. But being so close will exacerbate and highlight your differences.
In close quarters, the difference in your outlooks towards life will be amplified. There will be arguments and petty nit-pickings over trivial household issues. One small problem can lead to another, possibly leading to a fallout with your parents.
Be prepared for a clash of opinions, keeping in mind that it is you who will have to compromise and let go of many things.
5) People might think less of you.
The inevitable disadvantage of living with your parents is that your people might make fun of you. You might be known as the 29-year-old guy who still lives with his mom or the 31-year-old woman who lives with her folks.
Even though so many of our generation are living with parents, there is still a lingering social stigma that comes along with it, and you will have to face it head-on. There is no escaping the negative stereotype and you should prepare yourself for a negative opinion every now and then, especially from people of older generations.
6) Your love life is likely to take a tumble.
Your parents might not be pleased if you invite dates over, especially if you lock yourselves in the bedroom for hours. How thin are those walls? Awkward! Entertaining dates at home will no longer be an option.
As for dates, will you even get them? Some may not want to date a guy who's still living with his parents, and others might make negative assumptions of a 30-plus woman doing the same.
7) You won't learn the hard lessons of life.
This applies especially anyone who has never moved out of their parent's house. There are a lot of tough lessons and curve balls that life throws, and learning to catch them is part of growing up. By living with your parents, you are shielding yourself not only from hardships, but also from the lessons life has to offer.
Not only that, but if you do eventually manage to move out, living alone could turn out to be a shockingly unpleasant and impossible experience. You may not know how to pay your bills, do the dishes, or even wake yourself up on time every single day of the year.
8) You will not make your way into the property market.
A major financial disadvantage that most discussions overlook is that the longer you live with your parents, the more you delay entering the property market yourself. And prices are probably only going higher.
Regardless of the property market or economic situation of your state, the sooner you buy a house for yourself, the quicker you are going to be done with mortgage repayments. If don't think this is a big deal, ask a single dad in his 40s about the burden of a ballooning mortgage and you are likely to get an eye-opening reply.
9) Your parents will always treat you as their child.
You may be 30, but you must remember that your parents will always look at you as their child. You will always be the little guy or girl whose tiny hand they held walking in the park.
No matter how old you get, you will likely be seen as a child, especially if you still live in the same room you lived in when you were a child. Your mom will still nag and dote and your dad will continue acting like a father figure. Your ego may take a hit when this happens, but it is just another thing that you will have to deal with until you find a place for yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is living with your parents bad?
In the US, especially among white upper- to middle-class who are more accustomed to the luxury of living independently, there are some negative stereotypes of those that live with their parents, who are seen as lazy slackers or basement-dwelling, video-gaming trolls. Sure, sponging off your parents forever is not a healthy situation, but there are many mutually positive reasons for multigenerational dwelling, as well.
Is it okay to live with your parents forever?
It depends on the specific circumstances. If it's a parasitic relationship and you are taking more than you give, it's probably time for you to make some moves towards independence. But if everyone benefits from and is happy with the arrangement, why not?
If I live at home, should I pay rent and bills?
No matter where you live, you should do your part to support the system, be it by doing chores, paying bills, or by contributing in some way. Those who do don't have goals and don't contribute to the household do a disservice to those who support them. They can drain their parent’s bank accounts and delay their retirement.
Is it okay for a college graduate to live at home?
Although fewer college graduates live with their parents than those who never went to college, moving back in with your parents is a smart way to save money to pay off your student loan debt.
Is it okay for married couples to live with parents?
Although many people worldwide move out of their parents' home when they get married, many also choose to stay in multigenerational households because, as they say, "it takes a village to raise a child."
How can I become financially independent enough to move out of my parents' house?
Read Getting Your First Apartment: A Guide for Young Adults by a Young Adult for more information.