American society is built on a value of independence, tracing back to the 1700s with the Revolutionary War. However, in the 21st century, these values manifest themselves in society a little differently. Rather than enlisting in the army and fighting against British rule, young people nowadays get a different taste of freedom by moving away to college and living apart from their parents for the first time.
For millions of Americans, this was the norm. But, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, many college-aged kids were forced home, albeit begrudgingly. Now, there are more young people living at home than ever before. According to the Pew Research Center’s analysis of Census Bureau data, 52% of young adults (aged 18-29) lived with at least one parent in July of this year, up from 47% in February. This is the highest this percentage has ever risen. So, while many Americans cringe at the idea, is living with your parents (presuming a positive parent-child relationship) in your 20s really such a bad thing?
The biggest downside of moving back in with your parents is the social stigma that surrounds it. Americans tend to view adults not taking full advantage of their independence as irresponsible or childish. A TD Ameritrade survey found that most younger generations and parents agree that it would be embarrassing to live with your parents past age 28. But is it really? Looking at the situation quickly, an adult living with their parents may seem immature because they aren’t entirely on their own. However, a deeper dive proves this to be untrue.
“the average monthly rent in the United States this year for a one-bedroom apartment was $1,691.”
Living at home comes with a tremendous financial benefit, making it a fiscally responsible decision. While it’s not entirely uncommon for young adults to help their parents out a bit, the cost of living with your parents is significantly reduced when compared to the cost of living on your own. According to Apartmentguide’s mid-year rent report, the average monthly rent in the United States this year for a one-bedroom apartment was $1,691. Needless to say, this is a significant amount of money that you could save when living at home. The burden of utilities and renter’s insurance costs are also removed, thus lowering monthly expenses even more.
While explicit savings are enticing enough for many young adults, there are even more financial benefits to push over those still on the fence about moving back home. Living rent-free is the perfect opportunity to boost your savings. The stereotype about adult children moving in with their parents being lazy is simply untrue when those same children are working and otherwise financially independent. A lower cost of living can also further your career path by allowing you to take risks. Lower monthly expenses overall mean that you can afford to change jobs, rather than staying stuck in one place for fear of financial instability. You can even afford to take a lower-paying job for the time being, in order to build your resume, gaining a competitive edge in the job market for later. On a smaller but no less important note, the housework is not solely your responsibility to bear and food costs are lower with home-cooked meals.
Outside of financial reasons, moving back in with your parents still has its advantages. Most important of these is the support system built in. Living with your parents makes them directly accessible to you, to help you learn to be independent on an adult level. You can learn from your parents’ experiences in the professional world without making 20 phone calls home a day. Additionally, it’s comforting to share a living space with family.
Living at home in your 20s is not the end of the world. On the contrary, it can be an exceptional opportunity. What you may lack in privacy is made up for in financial stability and emotional support. The American ideal of independence is evolving to fit our modern world, meaning you don’t have to leave the nest the second you turn 18. It’s not a permanent solution, but at the moment, living with your parents proves worthwhile and rewarding.