To Move Out, or Not to Move Out, that is the Question

And what a doosy it is! On one hand, free rent, free electricity, free food! On the other, free phone calls at midnight asking you where you are, who you’re with, and when you plan on returning to the cradle. It may shock you, (or perhaps validate you), but more than ever, young 20-somethings are choosing to live at home. According to Monster Trak,

* 48% of 2006 college grads moved back home after graduation
* 44% of 2005 grads moved back home, too, and are still there
* 1/3 of all college grads under 24 live with their parents.

Those are substantial figures. And, most importantly, nothing to be ashamed of; making ends meet is harder today than it’s ever been. Karen Burns, a blogger I like, recently referenced a Seattle Times’ January study of incomes and inflation, finding some hard facts:

“Inflation-adjusted earnings for young men with high school degrees were $42,630 in 1972; In 2002, they were $29,647.
* Inflation-adjusted earnings for young men with college degrees were $52,087 in 1972 and $48,955 in 2002.”

Your grandfather may have walked to school in the snow for 10 miles because cars weren’t ‘invented’ yet, but he could afford to buy a house by his 30’s, something that many in our generation will only dream of. In the Move or Not debate, there are really only two factors to consider: Social Life/Sanity vs. Economics. Like any decision, you need to decide what is most important to you. If you can stand to live at home for a few months, that’s a nice nest egg should you decide you want to go to Europe in the spring or be able to fix your car when the alternator breaks. And, there’s nothing wrong postponing that big move, as evidenced by the statistics.

But, wait, you say, I feel trapped and hopeless about ever moving out. Answer? To keep your hopes up, set a dollar amount that you are saving towards. Make it something reasonable and attainable within a year. In a way, it feels like paying off credit card debt, no? Saving now for a better life later? Setting goals is super important though for one’s mental state, as that way, you’ll feel like you’re progressing towards something–adulthood–a life of urban delinquency–whatever you wish to call it, instead of reverting back to the place you lived in while 16 and drooling over JTT. Or, you know, Pam Anderson.

Obviously, you readers are familiar with the internet–you’re reading this column–but participating in a discussion with others in your situation could really improve moral. Truth be told, I lived at home for 5 months after returning from teaching abroad last year and felt isolated for most of that time; the internet would beg to differ with such feelings of abandonment. One discussion I found on the Web, from December, is here. If you decide to live a home, you’re doing something really economically smart right now and you should feel darn good about it. I mean, $600 rent X 12, plus electric, plus cable, plus heat–you could take that money to Vegas if you wanted to–you have that choice. In fact, you have many a choice: don’t let your parents let you forget it.

And, when you feel economically secure, we have plenty a tip and a checklist to get you started.

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Author My First Apartment

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I've lived in apartments in 6 cities (including 2 foreign countries). Does that make me an expert? As of now, my ceiling isn't leaking and I don't have rodents (knock on wood) -- so I'm going to say yes . . . but ask me again tomorrow:) These days, I'm enjoying life Chicago style, but my years in Brooklyn are never far from my mind. P.S. By day I work at, but these opinions are totally, 100% my own.

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Comments (5)

  1. Avatar herman

    nice website, im 24 still living with my parents I just recently graduated from college and now im making decent money where I can afford a new car and a good nice nongetto apartment… the hard part its letting my parents know I want to move out since we have a really good relationship, but what really bothers me is that my privacy is not exercise at its fully at my parents house.. I could invest into a house but im not really committed to anybody right now and feel like a house is more like a thing of two individuals… my friend is also pressuring me to move out since she wants to do the same from her parents house.. I already know I have to pay for most of the stuff since im more financially stable than her, and im also sure im going to have problems with her later on lol but that’s the least of my worries since the apartment will be choosen to my convenience(close to work and family/friends).. this website gave me good tips for moving out I will keep on reading post and info from this website, it covers some stuff that I had no idea I had to do/buy for moving out..

    • Alex Alex

      Hi Herman,

      Glad to be of help. Not to be too nosy, but if you’re already worried about your friend not paying her fair share, perhaps you should consider getting yourself a nice studio or one bedroom and living alone? If you can afford it, it may be the better choice.

  2. Avatar Sisko

    Hi Tim,

    Check out the Moving to Los Angeles section on this site. It’ll give you quick thumbnails on several LA neighborhoods. Good luck!

  3. Avatar Anonymous

    Great post, the major reason for the drop off in relative income for those with college degrees is due to the deindustrialization of America in the 1970’s. Available jobs for less educated diminished drastically when we shifted to a service economy.

    I just graduated, and while I won’t be living at home, I certainly won’t be buying a house any time soon. Renting in Los Angeles this month, let me know if you have any tips.


    tim sheridan

  4. Avatar Anonymous

    Karen Burns here, drawn here by your link. What a nice site!

    Moving out vs living at home–this seems to be a bigger decision than ever. Part of the reason is how expensive housing has become. Part is the exponential growth of things we “need” to have (cell phones, Internet access).

    And part, I think, is that for many young people living at home is quite pleasant. This is good–it means parents and their young adult children have good, strong, loving relationships.

    Relationships between parents and adult children used to be–how to put this?–more “adversarial.” It used to be you moved out ASAP after high school graduation because living at home was so constricting. You wanted to get away! You wanted to be free! Living with your parents seemed unbearable and you would put up with fairly miserable living conditions to avoid it.

    Now it seems young people can feel free while living at home. At least that’s my impression–what’s the view like from where you are on the age spectrum?

    The money thing is huge, though. If you want to have a laugh, and don’t mind scrolling back through my blog to the entry for Feb. 1st, read “A Blast From the Past.” It’s a list of all my expenses from my first apartment. Seems hard to believe now. But it’s all true! My site’s at

    Thanks for the link! K