This post is a part of our special personal finance series, Moving In or Out? Young people are faced with mounting student debt and high costs of living, which affects the decision to move out. This series of personal essays offers different perspectives on living situations, showing that no one choice is the same — or the right one for everyone.
Since leaving the college bubble, I realized that we are the first generation to not have it easier than our parents. We might have smart phones and Netflix and rolled ice cream, but we are also entering the workforce with trillions in student debt that previous generations have not had. We might be a generation of smart savers, but we don’t have much of a choice. As costs of living increase, incomes have not kept up, and many millennials such as myself are living at home. And when I say “home,” I mean with my parents in the house where I grew up.
To be honest, my parents also lived at home with their parents when they were about my age; they don’t mind me staying, and they never make me feel guilty or inferior for it. Regardless, I still feel like I’m a part of the exception to what is expected in your mid-20s. Most of my peers at work have moved out and live with roommates — whether they are friends, significant others, or strangers — and commute from one of the five boroughs of New York City. Luckily, my family lives close enough to Manhattan that I can stay home, save money, and still be able to commute into the city. I have friends from high school that are also still living at home, so not only do I know others in the same situation as me, I still have friends five-to-ten minutes away as well. My fiancé also chose to live at home and save money, so hopefully we will have saved a good amount for when we do eventually move out.
Many people have advised staying home for as long as I can because of how much I would save, and they were right. Instead of paying rent and utilities every month, I put more toward paying back my student loans. I’m happy to say that I finished paying off my student loans about a year ago — two years after graduating from college. I know it is a privilege to live at home and still be within a commutable distance from my job, only paying for my monthly bus pass instead of monthly rent. I am grateful to my parents for this situation that freed me from student loan debt sooner.
Many people have advised staying home for as long as I can because of how much I would save, and they were right.
While I wonder if I am missing out on living in ~the city~ and everything that entails — if I am missing out on a great brunch place or closer friendships with my peers at work who live in the city — I don’t think I would be comfortable living there. I also don’t think I would be comfortable living alone, or be able to afford it. I don’t see myself being happy living in a walk-up with roommates on a bustling street that never sleeps. Half of the time I don’t even like the city, though I’m not sure if that’s partially because of my long commute (four hours round-trip sometimes). And even though my long commute makes me feel like I’ve lost control of my life some days, I enjoy sleeping, or reading, or playing Animal Crossing, or watching Netflix on the bus, instead of driving or taking the subway.
I also fear that if I moved out, I would come home every weekend. Since my main motivation would be to shorten my commute, I would probably move to a neighborhood in one of the five boroughs, or one of the cities in New Jersey that provides an easier commute — but this would place me further from my closest friends and from my fiancé. And while I might have some FOMO (fear of missing out, in case you didn’t know) over not moving out yet or living in the city, I think I would have FOMO over whatever I choose. I am glad I’ve been able to save money, pay off my student loans, and still hold my dream job. And, I get to sleep on the bus ride there.