The Case for Living With Your Parents After College

Ryan Porter

Photo: Joshua Rondeau/Unsplash

A couple long years in your hometown will set you up for the future

ireworks exploded in my mind as I walked the gym floor I’d first seen four years ago. I climbed the stairs, almost tripped on my robe, and made the exchange.

My diploma was in my hands. Well, just a sample one. The real diploma would arrive in the mail in a few months.

I was ready to get the hell out of this college town and move on with my life. I was actually excited to go back home. I ate Thai food with my parents, and we discussed my move-in schedule back to their home.

They were excited for me to come home too.

After moving in, I had a glorious summer. Everyday was an open book. No more late night newsroom shifts, boring internships, or early morning labs.

I had time. I had all the time in the world.

  • I had time to workout everyday
  • I visited my friends who were also graduating soon
  • I went to Las Vegas and Hawaii.

Life was pretty sweet until I ran out of money. Finding a job, as it turned out, wasn’t easy. I was a freshman again, but this time I was in the real-world.

I’ve lived with my parents for three years since graduating, and I’m fine. Regardless of the social pressure my age group feels.

I’m fine. I’m financially stable, and will be after I decide to make the leap.

A quick counterpoint: Why you shouldn’t move in with your parents.

We all have gripes with the idea.

First off, moving back into your parent’s house isn’t sexy at all. In many cases, our parents annoy the snot out of us and ask way too many questions.

There’s a certain sense of freedom one gains during college that is wiped clean after moving back home. You can’t bring friends over and party like you could in your 500 square foot college apartment.

Second, unless your parents moved while you were in college, you’ll end up back in your hometown. This could be to your liking, but I can think of some negatives.

For example, you won’t be able to go to the local bars without seeing someone one from high school. For some, that’s a big deal. However, the negatives do not outweigh the positives.

Put things into perspective

I’m not over the roof with enthusiasm about having lived with my parents for three years, but I’m not upset about it either. In fact, 52% of millennials live with their parents. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Other than constant bickering and barrages of the same questions on a daily basis, things aren’t that bad. In fact, I’m luckier than most:

  • I have a roof over my head
  • I eat well everyday
  • I live in a nice part of LA County
  • I’ve saved up a nice little nest egg

What’s the point of rushing out of here?

Is struggling to make rent every month, pay off a car, and buy groceries worth the stress? For me, right now, I don’t think it is. The pandemic, and it’s uncertainty, also makes me appreciate that which I have.

Remember that virus? Everyone seems to have forgotten. Why risk leaving my little sanctuary when there’s no true guarantee that I’d find a job that’ll pay me enough to afford $1,200 for my share of the rent in LA.

The benefits of living with your parents are abundant.

Living at home prepares you for adulthood

Freedom doesn’t exist. Either you give up a sense of freedom and move home, or you give up your financial freedom and take on rent payment.

Nobody is ever truly ready to dip their feet into the adult world. Either you dive in head first and hope you sink too fast to the bottom, or you gradually go from the shallow to the deep end at a comfortable pace.

There’s no true win-win scenario. You have to balance what’s best for your current, and future situation.

There’s a wealth of knowledge under our parent’s roof

I have a pretty long talk with both my parents at least once a week when our schedules line up. We all work full-time, and are usually pretty tired by the end of the day.

We talk about politics, personal growth, and personal finances. I never had these talks growing up here in high school, and I certainly didn’t have them when I was away at college.

These conversations are priceless. our parents have done all the hard work for us. We can use their experience and learn from their mistakes.

Because let’s face it: our parents aren’t perfect.

Some people don’t have great relationships with their parents, but some put them on a pedestal. As if they are the know-it-all beings that are in full control of their lives.

The fact is that they aren’t perfect. They are only human, and more times than not, they don’t know what the hell is going on either.

There’s real-world knowledge to learn from them if you just spend a little time with them. If a little time means becoming their roommate for a few years while you get on your feet, then so be it.

We need to hone in on their experience. Whether you talk to them or not, learning from their mistakes so you don’t repeat them is essential for our personal and financial growth.

You don’t know anything about the real world

You just graduated middle of your class with a communications degree.

What do you know about living on your own?

That’s me. I’m the one who graduated middle of my class with a communications degree.

Even though I lived in an apartment for three years, with roommates, my parents still paid for it. I technically never lived on my own because I always had my parent's support.

You’ll save tons of money

I am Captain Obvious. Like, duh, of course the main reason to live with your parents is to save money. For many, it’s practically the only reason.

My parents are actually great cooks, so that is a bonus, but that’s not what this is about. Although when I move out I’m laminating a cookbook with all their recipes for my place.

Think about it. Without a rent payment, you’ll save money at an incredibly faster rate than you would have if you moved out on your own right after graduating.

Imagine having $20K to your name before leaving the nest. In terms of having a safety net, that’s huge.

If you lose your job to unforeseen circumstances (aka COVID-19), you’ll have a year’s worth of money saved up to pay rent until you find another job. I’m not saying you’d need a year either, but the more you have saved, the better.

What else can you do?

Money saved won’t do you any good in an inflating economy. You’d be better off learning to invest. Or, better yet, opening a Roth IRA.

Get a job, live with your parents, save your money, and invest it. It’s simple. Down the line, your future self will thank you.

It’s an opportunity to buy back time

Although living at home feels like a precious waste of life, I’d argue that you don’t lose a second for living in your folk’s place. In fact, you gain time.

Unless you plan on living in your parent’s basement until you’re 35, then you are probably a driven person and are doing what you can to get the hell out.

You just need time to get the right job, land your first couple eBook sales, or pay off your student-loan debt.

Rent prices in popular parts of the country (aka Los Angeles where I live), are growing at a rapid pace. In fact, my hometown is practically unlivable unless I strike it rich or land a job that doubles my current income.

I’m not worried about money right now though. Instead, I’m working toward increasing my time for the future.

For me, it’s time. Time is fleeting, but money is always there. The problem is that I don’t always have the time to look for more ways to make more money.

You see, time is what we truly want. Spend 40+ hours a week working a day job and you’ll know what I mean.

I want to make enough money so that I can buy my time back. It doesn't have to be a lot of money, but enough to give me the financial runway I’m looking for.

Our parents can give us that.

For example, I’d rather work a few hours less, and make less money, so I can spend those hours writing. Since I live at home, the few hours of cash I lose doesn’t hurt me. It’s more beneficial to me, in my current situation, to work toward something that will greatly benefit me in the future.

Live at home rent free, and even if you don’t have a job, you have all the time you need to figure out your play.

  • Secure a 9–5 desk job
  • Create content
  • Become a freelance web designer
  • Start a business with friend

The world is your oyster. All your dreams are attainable with a little extra time. Once you start paying rent, your clock starts ticking.

You’ll be playing from behind for the rest of your life if you move prematurely.

Time is the greatest gift we can give ourselves if we ignore the social pressure and move in with the family.

Final thought

Let’s face it: rent sucks. How is it worth dishing out $1000+ every month for slightly more freedom before you’re financially ready to do so?

Living with your parents sucks too, but only if you have an attitude about it.

The first step is to recognize how lucky you are to have parents who are willing to accept you into their house for free (or a small rent payment).

The next step is to take this once in a lifetime opportunity to set the foundation for your future. A few years of saving money can make all the difference. You’ll keep mass amounts of cash on hand, and you’ll be in a great spot to invest in yourself for the future.

Yes, our parents get in our face, but they love us. They want the best for us. We need to recognize their experience in the real-world, and learn from them.

To put our lives into perspective, a few years isn’t a long time. In the moment, living at home may feel like a nightmare. But once you are financially secure, because you bit the bullet for a small percentage of your life, the new apartment smell will be sweeter than you imagined.

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I write about startup culture, productivity, and life's moments. My goal is to serve as a teacher for the next generation of content creators.

Los Angeles, CA

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