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June 03, 2008


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As a 20-something myself, I think it's pathetic.

I'm one of the twentysomethings in question, and I know we've had this discussion in the past in the comments section. The majority of my close friends - all college grads with varying careers - have moved in w/ their parents and it has been relatively seamless. Sure, there was the original shock of having your parents present after four years of freedom at school, but we have all matured to the point where living with our parents isn't a necessity but a choice. It is a choice that we appreciate and our parents encourage. They would rather see us save the money for bigger things down the road than to cast away large portions of our salaries on rent payments.

I know I certainly appreciate their offer and in fact, I have a better relationship with them now than I ever had growing up. Perhaps it's the maturity previously mentioned. Whatever it is, if possible, it's a move I'd strongly suggest to any recent grad.

I don't get this trend at all. I wouldn't WANT to move in with my parents, whom I love.

Reckon, I'm LDS (Mormon) and attended BYU, got married, graduated, and am pregnant with my second child while my husband finishes his Master's degree.

So as a 20-something who's married, I would never in a MILLION YEARS live at home with my folks. Establishing a solid marriage is too hard to do if you're living with a set of parents. And being married with kids, I feel an acute responsibility to economise such that we can manage our household by ourselves on minimal student loans and a small income.


I understand where you're coming from in that regard, but if you're single and have no plans to get married for a number of years - it makes it a lot easier. I agree that trying to be married while living with parents would be a bit ridiculous, but I'm sure it's been done.

Also, some associate living at home with avoiding/not experiencing real world finances. Don't forget, we all payed rent during school and now make car payments, insurance payments, etc..

I'm at a loss for words. I think a short-term stay right after graduating is ok - particularly if you live in a high-cost area like NYC or the Bay Area, but the article is talking about something else entirely. This bothers me viscerally for reasons I have trouble articulating; it just feels like we're keeping fully grown adults in a state of perpetual adolescence. I have trouble taking someone seriously as an adult if they're still living with Mom & Dad; the whole point to adulthood is to make your own way through the world.

I think it's perfectly normal to live at home for a few months after graduating to save for the deposit on your first apartment; I think it's commendable to move home to help take care of elderly parents. The whole notion of staying for years while you 'grow up' in you twenties, though, is anathema to me.

I think charging your 20 something year old kids for utilities and rent kind of defeats the purpose of having them live at home. If you're going to do that kind of as a "living on your own but with training wheels" type of thing then I'd just decline their request.

I envision 20 somethings coming home to live so that they can save up money faster for things like a down payment on a mortage or paying cash for a car.

My daughter turns 17 this month and is a senior in high school so this is something that's on our radar. She'll be attending a local community college for two years then transferring to the University of Tennessee to complete her under graduate degree.

I'm a twentysomething and a number of my friends still live at home with their parents. I live a couple states away so it's out of the question for me. I think the decision comes down to why is the kid still living at home. Is it to save money for a large investment or to pay off debt faster? Or is it a tactic to delay the responsibilities of adulthood for a few more years? I've seen both.

Personally I'd love to move back home to save up some cash for a down payment on a house. Paying rent and saving up for a house is quite difficult. I can't and won't, but I empathize with the rationale for living at home to save money. I don't respect living at home for cheap so that you have more beer money.

I am also one of the 20 somethings in question, but in my situation it's a little reversed. My father passed away a few years ago, and left my mother with very little. I worked as much as I could to pay the bills for a couple of years, and shortly after that my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer, so we both moved to FL to take care of her until she died. My mother took the little money left over from our house in IL. (100k) and bought my grandmother's house from her.She will not get a decent paying job, has a paid off house (that's way too big) but she can't sell it in the condition it's in. Not to mention the fact that she is an incurable pack rat, and has way too much stuff (FULL garage, closets, etc. won't get rid of it, and keeps buying more crap.) But on her own she can't afford the taxes, insurance, utilities, etc. Any time I try to broach the subject of going off on my own, I get a guilt trip about how she can't afford the expenses, she's all alone, can't sell her house, etc. I am getting extremely tired of it, and am at a loss for what to do. There are no other family members, virtually no friends in this area, and I just feel stuck.

I lived at home while going to college, so I was looking forward to moving out. I graduated in May, got married in June and then moved into our apartment. Even though I didn't have a high paying full time job, I think that I would work 2 or 3 jobs to keep from moving back. Not that they were bad to live with, it's just we like being on our own.

Fred, sorry to hear about all your struggles!

I think the living with parents thing is really up to each individual. If someone is living at home to save up money, and they are contributing to the household (via paying part of the expenses and helping with daily chores like cooking and cleaning) and/or they are in school then I think it is totally acceptable. But some people do it just to extend their adolescence then they need to be kicked-out and learn to be adults through hard-knocks. My friend had her son living with her while he was getting his associates. But six months after graduation they kicked him out because he wasn't seriously looking for a job and was partying. They gave him a month or two notice before kicking him out. He grew up fast after that.

I moved home for 6 weeks last year after being "out" on my own for 8 years. My mom and I didn't get along that well in those 6 weeks (it was just a stressful time), so I do not forsee that being an option again in the future unless there was a definite reason and set time-period for me to move home.

I just think that people mature faster when they have to budget and learn from life. After graduating college my parents made it clear that moving back home with them would only be temporary. They helped me with my rent for the first few months until I could do it on my own and then I paid them back. Last year, they offered for me to move home until I could get back up onto my feet. For my siblings and myself, their motto once we graduated high school was: We will pay X amount towards your college (very little), and we won't let you become hungry, naked or homeless. Which amounted to occassionally taking us grocery shopping and loaning us money for rent (which we needed to pay back).

There is no need to live at home after college while saving up for a down payment. That should have been accomplished long before graduation. It's called a part time job. Start working as regular as you can when you turn 16 through college graduation and you should be all set to put a down payment on a house. I bought a house almost immediately out of college. A nice one too. And I didn't have to live with my parents. I think it comes down to responsibility. If you want to spend your time screwing around and scoffing at the idea of future responsibilities, then sure, you may find yourself in a position where living at home is the best option. But it's your own fault and I don't care if the perception is changing, you're a loser.

This is one of those situations that probably works great in some families, and would be a disaster in others. I emigrated after college, so it was never an option for me; but my parents have a large house and a lot of tolerance for youthful excess, and all parties enjoyed my sister living there for a couple of years until she moved in with her boyfriend.

I moved back home for a couple years after graduating, and did pretty much all the above: paid off my (small) student loans, bought a car with cash, and saved for a 20% down-payment on a condo, all while paying rent. It worked out decently, although I was more than ready to leave when I finally bought my place. By the time I was 25, I had a place with decent equity, a good job, a paid-for car, and no non-mortgage debt.

Given RE run-up since those days (late 1980s), I'd have to live longer at home to save that kind of money, but I'd still do the same.

My brother has had a rougher time; he lives at home while finishing college and helps to take care of my mom, who's health isn't so good these days.


Probably the best thing is for your mom to sell her house and move into an apartment, condo or trailer park. There are auction companies you can call and they'll bring a crew to the house and load up as much stuff as you can convince your mom to part with, and you'll end up getting a check (not a big one, maybe just a few hundred) instead of paying them for hauling it off.

Then find your own place.

It won't be easy, but the longer you wait the harder it will be.

It is sad to hear people bad mouth the whole idea without looking at different situations. I think there are a number of cases where moving back home after college is a great opportunity for everyone involved. It doesn't have to be a "training-wheels" event for the 20-something. It can be a wonderful experience. Growing up, you are the child and are under the control of the parent. Moving back with your parents is a chance to live with them under a different setting. You are an adult now and can have adult interactions with your parents. In many Asian cultures, this wouldn't even be a story. Many children live with their parents until they get married (and many more past that even). And then, as the parents get older, it is expected that the elder parents move back in with their children. I wish Americans had that cultural influence to take care of family better. I personnally moved back home after college, only it wasn't my parents home. It was my in-laws-to-be home. And I loved it. I got to know them better. They got to know me better. I helped around the house where I could. I paid rent (although they ended up putting all that money away and using it towards our wedding). Was I some slacker bum out of college looking to free-load? I don't think so. I graduated with a $50k/year job in hand. I paid off my college loans within three months and was able to save for a downpayment on my first house within 6 months. All made possible because I stayed with my "parents" after college. It was a wonderful experience and I would do it all over again if given the chance.


I wholeheartedly agree that she should take what she can get for the house, but she is unwilling to compromise. As far as the "stuff" a lot of that is heirlooms, things that belonged to her deceased relatives, and she is unwilling to part with most of it for sentimental reasons. I really see it as either a subconcious or maybe concious way to guilt and manipulate me into staying with her, so she won't be alone. Whenever the issue comes up, the inevitable result is always "what will she do if I'm not there to support her, she can't afford it on her own, the housing market is down, etc."

It's completely unnatural to move away from home, be at least somewhat independent for four years during college, and then move back home. I tried it while going to graduate school, it was a disaster because I was an ADULT by that time and adults don't live with mommy and daddy. I have several friends (over 35 years old) who still live with their parents, they are without exception much less motivated to be successful than those of us who live on our own and have to make our own way.

I can't imagine anyone wanting to move back with their parents either. I left to go to college when I was 18 and other than visiting at holidays I've never lived with them again. I was just really anxious to get a place of my own and get started with my own life. I also have always had a fantastic relationship with my parents (maybe this is part of the reason).

I just graduated and had the opportunity to live with my dad. But I can't stand him and passed on the offer. I did try and get my mom to let me live with her for a little while but her boyfriend wasn't to keen on the idea. So they gave me some cash to help me out while I look for a job.

I grew up in an Asian immigrant neighborhood, so this may have influenced my thoughts on the subject. "Adults" in Asia and often in the US frequently live with their parents until they've saved enough money to properly get married and buy their own place. Even though I'm not Asian, I figured this made far more sense than stretching to live in an icky apartment with annoying deadbeat roommates like many of my non-Asian friends.

That said, there is a big difference between moving home to save up and get solidly established versus limping home after blowing out one's debt, which seems to be the thrust of many of these "return nester" articles.

"Start working as regular as you can when you turn 16 through college graduation and you should be all set to put a down payment on a house." Idaho.

Which is great if you're living in Idaho, not so great for everyone everywhere else.

Seriously, you think you're going to save a down payment and closing costs while covering college expenses and not flunking out of college because you're working three jobs anywhere where real estate has any value?


I hear you and feel your pain. My mom passed away last year and to her dying breath she planned to move back to her house from the nursing home (she couldn't dress or bathe herself the last few years). She never allowed us durable power of attorney for health care, although she did allow us access to her funds in order to pay her bills. She would never consider selling the house. She wouldn't even let me move a chunk of her money from CDs and a checking account that were paying less than 1% to a money market account that would have paid 5%. I had the authority to do so, but it would have been against her wishes so I didn't. And the sad thing is, most of the stuff in the house was just stuff, and it went to the auction house anyway. And the house sat vacant for 5 years, accumulating damage that cost thousands to repair before we could sell it.

And my elderly aunt is EXACTLY the same!

So there may be nothing you can do about your mom, but only you can decide to move out and get on with your life without regard to your mom's opinion.

It's up to you at this point.

Fred...if you can find a copy of it, take a look at "Rightsizing Your Life" by Ciji Ware. In addition to covering practical issues like HOW to sort out that stuff, it opens with a section on WHY to rightsize...all in a positive tone. If your mom is clinging to the present arrangement for fear of change or fear of being alone... perhaps with some gentle, non-threatening discussions, you may help your Mom discover what she'd like to do in her future and then you can together find a way to make it happen. I know the market is bad right now, but she can still start dreaming about what she could do/have in the future when she can get out of this house.

Good luck.

Fred - Certainly you are in a tough position with your mother/housing situation. Just curious, but are financially able to still support your mother partially while you move out and get a place on your own. My suspicion is that this might help motivate her to get a smaller place within a few months and help her realize she cannot just keep living at this level in a house that is too large while holding you back. Best of luck with your situation in this hard time with your family

I'm really suprised how appalled people are by this (@Jo- you must be crazy. Saving for a house starting at 16, when you're in college your part-time job goes to paying for food and other necessities.)Anyway, I'm currently in this situation right now. I was going to move on to grad school, but after I got rejected and had to scramble to find a job. I've been living with my parents for the past year, and have been saving money the whole time. It works for both of us, since they have two other small children who I watch for free, clean up, etc. I'm getting a house in September, and my parents knew I was motivated enough that I would see this only as temporary. Its nice to save, but I'd rather be on my own two feet. This is one of those topics where you need to look at the individual cases before you judge.

I was out at 22, and stayed out. My sister moved home after college. She whined when my Dad asked for $100/rent (he still got it). When she didn't change her oil for 7 months and her engine melted down, Dad said "wow-that's gonna cost you." She pouted. Mom bailed her out to the tune of $2000. Dad told her not to get a mortgage that was over her head. She borrowed too much for her salary. Mom paid her cellphone bill each month to make it easier, and may have helped out on the mortgage payments.

Dad passed away in 2006, God rest his soul. Sis got married in 2007, and the fiance moved into the over-mortgaged for one condo, so at least they've got the mortgage covered. No word on whether or not sis/hubby pay her cell bill, or whether Mom still picks that one up.

This is merely a personal anecdote, but in my experience, without really hard and fast parental guidance about childhood/adolescence ending and adult life at home beginning, this arrangement infantilizes young adults and turns them away from responsibility.


I have considered that myself, actually. It would be tough, but I may be able to swing it. I also have been trying to get an ebay account set up for her to sell some things she is willing to part with. Thank you all for your suggestions, I appreciate them.

I'd be interested to see the stats broken down by college/no college. I'd also be VERY interested to see the stats broken down further by age. 18-to-34 is a pretty broad range.

If you're living at home past 25 or 26 then something is very wrong.

"If you're living at home past 25 or 26 then something is very wrong."

Yeah, there is: your job doesn't pay a living wage and demands extra expenses (as in, car and gas). :P

"If you're living at home past 25 or 26 then something is very wrong."

Yeah, there is: your job doesn't pay a living wage and demands extra expenses (as in, car and gas). :P

Oops, sorry for the double post. Stupid Internet.

I am a twenty year old student, married, and about halfway through school. My husband is trying to get into medical scool and working at a research lab in a learning hospital. I work a "part" time job as a nanny (babysitter) after school. With the tw of us livig on a very tight income, we are contemplating moving in with my in laws in order to save to buy our own house. We have budgeted to be able to save around $20K if we stay for a year. My father in law and my husband have busted down a wall in my husband and his sister (moved to college a year ago)old room to make a small "apartment" type feeling for us. I think this is going to be so beneficial for us. Not only will we be miving closer to my family, but I may not even have to work and be able to focus on school 100%, which I have not been able to do. His parents are very cool and open to our relationship. We were high school sweethearts, so I have known them for about 6 years so everything should work out okay. Right now, my husband and I live in an apartment in DFW and are living paycheck to paycheck and then some so I think the benefits of saving will do us better than any conflict that may arise!

I'm kind of in the same boat as you Tuesdee. I'm 23 yrs old and I had my son when I was 20 when I was not in the best place. Now, I'm married and am finishing up my last year of college and am pregnant with my second. My husband has a severe back injury and is unable to work leaving our income up to my $1400/month working as a receptionist. We've been renting a house for $850/month which is a very good deal as it's my father's friend's home but I'm having to borrow money on a monthly basis from my father. Moving in will allow us to get out of debt and save up to buy our own home.

im in a rut right now because i moved out at 18 and have managed very well. ( it has almost been a year ) and i am going to school .. but my 16 yr old sister just found out she is pregnant and i feel led to move back in with my family to help everyone out. * they 14 hours away* I dont want to move back home, only becuase i hate the town they live in and I will miss living in florida.

I dont know what to do.

We have my husband's 22 year old daughter living with us. It's now been a year of which she has had a well paying job for over 5 months. She started paying rent after getting the job, which is great. What doesn't work is the fact that she - in my opinion - lives with us like a teenager: cleans up only her room, leaves dirty dishes around, kitchen & bathroom in a mess after using it etc etc etc.

We have talked about this twice and no change. My husband isn't ready to let her go out of the nest yet, so he won't even suggest it. Personally thought a year would be a natural deadline, now it looks like it's not...

I am 25 married and have no children. I just graduated and was hired by a good company in my home town. My wife and I live near by and I planned to commute while we looked for a decent apartment. While at dinner the other day we were talking about our plans when my father asked "why don't you two just come live with us?"
My parents have been empty-nesters for a long time and I am the only child that even lives in the area. I hadn't considered living with my parents as an option and certainly didn't expect the invitation. We can afford an apartment, even an upper scale apartment but living with my parents would allow us to put away over 1k a month.
I have always been prejudice of married adults that live with their parents, thinking that they must be lazy or failures. Neither my wife nor I are either of those and we will probably accept their invitation.
I really like my parents (a lot of people love their parents but don't like them) and so does my wife.
Am I right to think that my situation is the exception for married adults or is it not as uncommon as I thought.

Alex --

I'll post your question as a "Help a Reader" post. Look for it in mid-September.

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