This is the final installment of the series titled, Moving home after college, where reasons for moving home other than profuse amounts of student loan debt were examined. While not every college graduate has the option of moving home, quite a few are as described in an article published by Tyler Durden, who cited Gallup’s data that 14% of adults between the ages of 25 to 34 are living at home, a major reason for which is having to regroup after their degree completion.
“Just hang in there for a little while longer. I know it’s hard but you’ll feel better afterwards because you’ll have money saved up when you move out for good,” my friend Randy who also moved back in with his parents for a stint, after earning his Master’s degree and could identify with my situation.
Randy’s encouraging words helped me to hang in what was at times a difficult living situation, one of the toughest in my life. We both found that there were non-financial costs to moving back home.
Both Randy and myself came from communities (inner-city Buffalo and Detroit) where we went further educationally than most, including our parents. As such, preparation for our college educations was minimal in multiple important aspects. Many parents from our communities were first generation college graduates themselves or not at all, and they couldn’t really prepare us for what lay ahead financially and socially after earning our own advanced degrees. Likewise a recurrent them in my writings is that parents can’t teach you what they themselves don’t know.
We both found that there were non-financial costs to moving home, and the biggest two were probably our personal health and peace of mind, which were tested by the parent child relationships.
The biggest consideration to keep in mind when moving home is that both the graduate and their parents change. If a graduate went away to college, earned a bachelor’s degree and returned home then they would have only been gone roughly four to five years. If a graduate returns home after earning a higher level degree, chances are they would have been away for five years or more.
Graduates who have gone away to school, develop their own experiences, and have usually gotten used to autonomy and privacy. During this time, parents have become what are called Empty Nesters, and have gotten used to not having anyone else at home using the utilities, eating the food, making noise, etc. Moving back in with your parents can thus be a life-style shock for both sides as the situation undoubtedly compromises the privacies that both have come to appreciate. But there are other things too.
One of the hardest dynamics for any child no matter how accomplished they become, is when parents continue to see them as children and behave accordingly. Often parents can understandably see the world only through their own perspectives and experiences, and don’t necessarily understand the child’s career path and struggles (and the opposite is true). This applies to college but also to life in general.
As described in part three of this series, graduates who are moving back home would do good to expect to contribute something to the home. Furthermore, as described by Stephen Covey, it’s important to be proactive and discuss the living situation ahead of time. Early discussions can save hardship later on.
In closing, for most graduates, the intent is to secure employment and establish independence immediately after graduation from college or after attaining their advanced degree. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work out so simply. What’s often not foreseen , are the student’s job prospects and financial health upon graduation.
As described in a recent article by Jordan Weissman, today’s crop of B.A.s are staring at roughly 8.5 percent unemployment and 16.8 percent underemployment. Put another way, quite a few graduates can’t find jobs and those who do, don’t always find employment in their field and or earn enough money to pay their bills, necessitating the need to move home. While moving home has the obvious advantage saving money, there are often unforeseen complications associated with it which have to be navigated.