Why Living With Your Parents Is the Best Money Decision You Can Make
You’ve graduated college and are ready to start your life as an independent adult. But let’s face it: Living on your own is expensive, and the costs can add up fast. And even if you score a job right away, your entry-level salary and lack of significant savings might make it hard to keep up.
One solution: You could always move back in with your folks. It might not seem appealing to a newly minted adult eager for independence, but living with your parents can be one of the best money decisions you make.
Amanda Abella graduated in 2010 and lived with her parents for seven years, only recently moving out on her own.
“From a financial perspective, I wouldn't have been able to do most of what I've done if I hadn't lived with them for a while,” she says. “I graduated in 2010, which was an economic nightmare. Fortunately, I could stay home.”
Abella has been able to save and invest, start a business and take risks — things that she admits she would not be able to do if she was on her own and paying all her bills from Day One. While you may not plan to live with your parents for seven years, here’s why spending at least some time living with your parents is one of the best money decisions you can make.
You Can Jumpstart Your Savings
The most obvious benefit of living with your parents is being able to save a ton of money. This is especially true if you’re in a city with a high cost of living.
You can save money by not paying:
- Utilities — gas, electricity, internet
- Renters or mortgage insurance
Abella says that living with her parents helped her save in the first place. “I wasn't making nearly enough money at my last job to survive in a city like Miami,” she says. Saving is a big problem in America, with most people being unable to afford a $400 emergency. Living at home can help you start saving money so you can build up an emergency fund and lay down a strong foundation with which to sustainably support yourself in the future.
You Can Conquer Your Debt
If you racked up a lot of student loan debt while in college, you’re not alone. In fact, there are more than 40 million student loan borrowers in America, paying back a total of $1.3 trillion. Average student loan payments are around $300 per month, which can take a big bite out of your budget.
Living rent-free with your folks not allows makes those minimum payments affordable, but may allow you to put more toward your debt. Paying more than the minimum can help you cut down on interest and put more toward the principal balance.
You Can Start Investing Early
When it comes to investing, time is your best friend. The problem is many recent grads simply can’t afford to get started with investing, especially if they’re shackled with debt. Living at home with your parents frees up rent money — typically your biggest expense — so you can get started investing for your future.
You can start investing in an IRA or 401(k) as well as the stock market. If you start investing at 25 instead of 35, the power of compound interest will result in a significantly bigger nest egg — possibly even allowing you to retire early. Starting to invest early can give you a big leg up, without much extra effort.
You Can Spend Less on Food
It’s not hard to blow your budget on food, especially if you don’t have experience grocery shopping and cooking affordable meals. It’s likely you’ll be sharing some meals with your folks — and maybe even getting a home-cooked meal instead of greasy takeout. Plus, it’s a good opportunity to get a crash-course on cooking for yourself so you can eat on a budget when you move out.
You Can Afford to Take Chances and Be Picky
Living with your parents has clear monetary advantages. But one perk you might not realize is that living with your parents affords you the privilege to take chances and be picky.
Keeping your costs under control means you don’t have to take just any job, or move into a less-than-ideal place because that’s all you can afford. You can also be more aggressive with investing and take chances on starting a business.
Abella recently moved out, but was grateful to do it at the right time for the right place. “Living with my parents allowed me to be more picky, because there was no rush,” she explains. Living at home means having a safety net to try new things.