The American dream of leaving home at 18 to embark fresh-faced into adulthood is no longer as commonplace as it once was. In fact, more adults are moving back home in their 20s and 30s because the cost of living coupled with student debt isn’t worth the struggle. But moving out and branching off is still an important adult milestone, and it’s fundamental if you have plans to get married and start a family of your own someday. Rather than taking a huge financial risk that could leave you worse off than when you began, consider these points when deciding the right time to leave home.
Does Your Salary Support Your Ideal Lifestyle?
After taking rent, taxes, utilities and living expenses into account, does your take-home pay allow you to live comfortably? You may have enough money in the bank, but that doesn’t mean you can necessarily afford to live well. Think about the difference between having hundreds of dollars a month in your account and having to steal toilet paper from work in between paychecks.
You also need to consider the added cost of living alone. You’ll need to think of things like renter’s insurance, emergency repairs and a savings account. Even groceries for a single person can equal over $500 a month in some areas. If you plan to get a pet, you’ll have to pay for their food and supplies as well. If you think you could move out if it weren’t for your student debt, it might be a good idea to consider refinancing. This process can make your loan payments much more manageable, and the entire process can be done online. You’ll be able to view offers for a new loan from a private lender that covers all your debt and allows you to reduce what you are currently paying to free up extra money.
You Know How to Manage a Budget
You shouldn’t have to still ask your parents for money when you overdraw your account or spend too much out with your friends. Adults don’t report back to others about their purchases, but they also don’t needlessly waste money simply because it’s available to them. If you’re able to maintain a flexible but solid budget, then you’re one step closer to being able to maintain independence on your own. Think about how you’ll need to remember to pay your rent on time along with all your other bills. You can automate this process for some expenses, but you’ll still need to be comfortable routinely checking your bank account, staying on top of your credit cards and being financially accountable.
You Genuinely Want to Move Out
Don’t leave home and security just because you feel like you should have already left by your age. Everyone’s family is different, and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying living at home with your parents. As long as you don’t allow them to live life for you, e.g., doing all the chores and paying your way through life, then there’s nothing wrong with staying home until you’re more financially stable.
There are also benefits to living at home that help many adults, including improved mental health, less social isolation and better housing and access to resources than they could afford alone. You might also find that this time with your parents is invaluable. Enjoy getting to see them every day and build a relationship with them as an adult. It’s an entirely new dynamic that you’ll appreciate when you’re all older.