Aspiration & Struggle

The Tough Choice: Moving Home After College

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Moving home after college has traditionally been seen as a last resort and misinterpreted as failure. With more college graduates moving home than ever before, this misconception couldn’t be further from the truth. Nearly half of recent college grads in the U.S.—45 percent—were living at home with their parents in 2011, according to Pew Center economist, Richard Fry. This was a 45 percent increase from 2001.

The Perks

Moving home after college does not hold the same social stigma as it once did. Many see it as a financially responsible decision, especially after the recession hit. If you’re considering moving in with your parents, there are many positive reasons to do so:

  • To save money: Many Millennials graduated during the worst recession this country has seen. As a result, finding a well-paying job right out of school has proven to be difficult. With the added burden of student loans, the main reason for moving home for Millennials is out of financial necessity. Living and renting in certain cities can be expensive, so bypassing the expenses for rent or food can go a long way while you’re job hunting, paying off loans, or saving for a house.
  • To regroup: Not being able to find good opportunities out of school can be stressful, and worrying about where to live doesn’t help. Being able to live at home not only saves money, but it can also provide much needed time and space to figure out your next move. Graduates can use this time to experiment with different opportunities, without the stress that comes with relocation.
  • To reconnect: One of the social benefits of being back home is the ability to reconnect with loved ones. Many people appreciate their parents much more once they grow up. Use this time to learn from your family and create meaningful memories. Being back home also allows you to reunite with old friends. You never know if networking with friends might lead to a local job opportunity.

The Drawbacks

Moving back home may be financially responsible, but not necessarily socially rewarding. Here are some potential cons to consider before moving back in:

  • Stagnation: Being back in the comforts of your old bedroom can be refreshing, but it’s easy to fall back into old habits and become complacent. If this causes you to scale back on your job search and leads to increased down time, you’re moving in the wrong direction. To avoid this, let your parents know—in writing—how long you plan to stay. Staying with them should not be a destination, but a brief respite until you find your bearings.
  • Financial conflict: If you’re living rent-free without a word from your parents, know that they’re probably hoping you’ll pitch in around the house. Make an agreement before you move in, listing ways in which you’ll help out.
  • Lack of privacy: One reason students decide to live on a college campus is to gain independence. However, don’t expect this same level of freedom once you return home. While you technically are an adult, your parents will still want to know what you’re doing and when you will be home. Make sure your lines of communication are open so that your lack of privacy doesn’t lead to conflict.

Moving home after college has its definite disadvantages. Though with the financial strides you will be making, you have the potential to make yourself more financially independent than many of your peers.