Whether by choice or not, the economic reality facing many Millennials has meant prolonging their stay at home with their parents. And, although in many parts of North America there’s a stigma attached to living at home in your 20s, or into your 30s, there can also be some serious financial advantages.
Here’s a look at how Millennials sleeping in their childhood bedroom, or in the basement of Mom and Pop’s place, can use their housing situation as a financial stepping stone.
Take advantage of the financial margin
Perhaps it was just a temporary solution right after graduation, but you somehow found yourself back at home, having to abide by the rules of your parents’ house. Or, maybe it’s in your culture to live at home with your family until you get married. Regardless of why you’re living at home with family, it’s important to have a plan, with at least a rough idea of a timeline for when and how you’ll make your next move.
Typically, living at home means cheaper rent (or free, if you’re lucky). Utilities and resources like groceries, toiletries, and other household items are shared, and far easier on the wallet. Having this level of financial margin is unlike any other time in your adult life, so taking advantage of it is critical. Use the money you’re saving from not having to pay rent, and put it to work! Perhaps that means saving up for your own first and last month’s rent, plus security. Or, maybe that means using that time to absolutely slay your student loan or credit card debt. Whatever your goal, make sure you’re going all in with it.
Have a set timeline
Ask yourself: How long do you plan on living at home? Are you comfortable living with your family through your 20s? How about your 30s?
Have a realistic timeline based on your goals, savings, income, and lifestyle. Are you living at home to pay off debt? Or do you want to save to live on your own? Figure out how much you need to save, and by when. Whenever possible, be as specific as you can. In fact, set a date for when you plan on reaching that goal, that way you’ve set parameters, and can measure your progress as you move forward.
If you plan on moving out within 2 years, your savings goals will look different than someone who will be living at home for 5 years. Have open communication with your parents to let them know your savings goals and see how you can meet your goals with their support.
Set limits and boundaries with your parents
Living with roommates can be tough; it can be especially tough if those roommates are your parents. A common argument between roommates is who is paying for what. To minimize conflict, formulate a plan together with your family to set limits, boundaries, and expectations.
Address who is buying groceries, toilet paper, and common household items. If you’re lucky enough to have your family pay for these items, consider saving the money you save on these expenses for something specific, like the costs of moving, a new mattress, or whatever else you’ll need to kick-start your own, independent living.
Carefully assess your finances before you move
Before making the jump to move out, ensure that your income is sufficient to support you in your day-to-day life. Depending on which city you choose to live in and if you will be living alone, it’s fair to assume that you will need to save at least $700/month to live on your own. If you want to live in a popular city especially in the downtown core, expect to be paying more. Ultimately, you need to make sure that your income supports your lifestyle, but also enables you to have the margin you need to be able to save.
Living at home with your parents doesn’t have to be the death sentence that society makes it out to be. While you’re there, enjoy the time you have with your family, and make the most of the margin that comes with living at home, using it as a financial stepping stone towards the life of your dreams.