If you just started your first job out of college, you’re probably waiting for your first few paychecks to hit your bank account before you start looking for your first apartment. But before you get to scouring Craigslist or asking friends if they want to rent an apartment with you, take some time to think about the benefits and drawbacks of living with your parents for the first 6-24 months of your career.
Benefit: Take the time to stabilize
Staying at home for a few months after you find your first job can give you time to stabilize and acclimate yourself to post-college life. College was a time in your life when you could afford to be careless about what you ate, how often you cleaned, and how you spent your time. Now that you’re out and joining the workforce, the rules and best practices are changing around you. You’ll wake up one day and no longer have that uncanny ability to sleep late or drink several nights in the week without feeling like you got hit by a train in the morning.
The support system of a life at home is a great way to stabilize before you fully move out. It allows you to make a few financial and career mistakes without the potentially negative effects of long-term leases and a significantly higher cost of living. It also allows you to get settled into a routine, acclimate to your work-life balance, and build healthy habits like waking up early, exercising, and eating properly.
Drawback: Sacrificing your privacy
Parents and siblings are used to a lack of boundaries at home. Your whole life you’ve been under the watchful eye of your family, and college was a time when you could avoid that eye and have your own private living quarters. Returning home after four years away can be a shock for people who value privacy and want to be able to close their door, cook in their own kitchen, or entertain guests.
You can fully expect that the way your parents behaved before you started college will be the way they behave afterwards. Think about your summers and vacations between semesters over the last four years, and you’ll have a good picture of what life at home will be like even if you are working and have your own paycheck. If any of that parental or family behavior bothered you before, it’ll be a little more unbearable given your expectation of more independence.
Benefit: Ensure your financial stability
Before you decide to put down a deposit on an apartment, take some time to think about your financial state. You might have some savings and your paycheck is now funding your debit account, but you may be forgetting about credit card debt or your soon-to-be monthly college loan payments, which begin the January after you graduate and accrue interest continually.
Staying at home for a few months is a great way to ensure your financial stability. You’ll be cutting your cost of living to near-zero, allowing you to save a lot of your first year of paychecks and future-proof your situation. You’ll be building up an emergency cash fund to allow you to crank up a higher cost of living later on down the line. Finally, that extra cash saved every month is a great bonus when you start paying your college loans regularly. You’ll be surprised at how much those monthly payments can sting, and you’ll definitely want to avoid late fees and missed payments.
Drawback: Your social life will take a hit
No more partying till the break of dawn. No more pre-gaming at your apartment. No more random, spontaneous gatherings at your place. Or, at least, fewer of these things will happen when you go back home after college. Your family values the privacy and cleanliness of their home in a way that you may not be used to after college, and you’ll still be held to the same or similar standards that you were as a child in their home in the past.
Living at home takes away a lot of the things you may have gotten used to, like having a boyfriend or girlfriend over, cleaning the house on your own schedule, or even lounging around all day in your underwear. Carefully consider the importance of your social life and how much you’re willing to sacrifice in order to live at home for a few months.
When deciding whether or not to move out, you should weigh what is more important to you: the continuation of the privacy and separation from your family that you had in college, or the emotional support and financial benefits of staying at home for a few months more. Whatever decision you make, do it with input and suggestion from your family. After all, if they’ve helped you get this far in your life, they will want to help guide you onward as you strike out on your own.