According to some recent statistics, some 49% of 20-24 year olds and 21% of 25-29 year olds are still living at home… and the numbers continue to jump year after year! In 2012, 36% of millennials from the age of 18-21 were still living with dear old mom and pop, and 2/3 of those think it’s socially acceptable to do so.
But enough with the statistics, what’s the real deal? Are millennials part of the spoiled “me first” generation who think they are owed a lavish lifestyle simply for being born, or are they victims of a harsh recession and poor job market that not even higher education can quell?
The answer is probably a little from column A, and a little from column B. So why are millennials still living at home, and why has this become the new normal?
Why you wish you weren’t at home
Before we get into the why you’re at home, let’s first look at the reasons why you wish you weren’t. Living in your parents’ house definitely has its joys and perks, but odds are at 30, you’re getting pretty sick of hearing: “Because it’s my house, my rules!”
Here are 3 reasons why you’re probably just as eager as your parents are to finally get you out of the house!
#1 You’re still sharing a shower. You grew up sharing a house with your family, so you probably won’t realize this until you actually do move out, but sharing a washcloth with your kid brother and picking someone else’s pubes out of the soap bar is totally gross.
#2 The only room you can decorate is your own. It’s pretty great that you have a roof over your head and a room to call your own, but it definitely sucks when you can’t use the kitchen at 2am in case someone is awakened by your foodie smells, or it’s annoying to still have to wait your turn to use Netflix on the big TV.
The point is, you have your bedroom, and that’s pretty much all you have. No awesome decorating can be done outside of your itty bitty bedroom, and that kind of stinks.
#3 Shagging becomes really awkward. At 30, bringing your latest flame over to mom and dad’s house can be a little awkward… and embarrassing. Not only are you admitting you still live with your parents, but the sex can definitely be a challenge.
It may seem fun at first to pretend you’re still teenagers sneaking around and trying to get your shag on while mom’s downstairs, but this role-play gets old fast when you’re forced to stay quiet every single time.
Why you secretly love staying at home
But it’s not all bad, right? Admit it! There are a number of really awesome things that have you second guessing this whole “moving out” thing.
#1 Home cooked meals. Mom’s cooking is still the best, and nobody can tell you any different! There’s something comforting about knowing that not only is there going to be an amazing dinner ready for you every night, but it’s going to taste amazing. Oh, and you didn’t have to cook a thing!
#2 You’re saving money. If you’re still living with mom and dad, you’re probably not bogged down by rent and utilities. In fact, all you have to worry about is your $100 phone bill and what to shop for online!
The fact is, a lot of people are still living at home due to overwhelming student loans and being unable to find a proper job in their graduation field. So if staying at home for a couple or more years means saving a bit of money, why not take that opportunity?
#3 You still get spoiled by mom and dad. If you’re still living with your parents, odds are they haven’t forgotten how to treat you right. In fact, they’re probably still picking up the tab for certain shopping trips and “fun money,” as if you were still 15 years old!
#4 No responsibilities. Aside from cleaning your room, tidying up, and attending work or school, you probably have very limited responsibilities. No rent, no bills, no lawn management, no landlord, no personal pets.
If you suddenly lost your job, you wouldn’t have to spiral into a pit of self-despair wondering how you’re going to pay your mortgage or buy groceries… All house responsibilities have been left up to mom and dad!
Reasons why you’re still living with your parents
Alright, so we’ve looked at the good and the bad, now let’s look at the “how,” as in how did you end up living with your parents at 30?! The answers are more common than you might think!
#1 Late start to school. Not all of us are blessed with the foreknowledge of who we want to be and knowing exactly what we want to do with our lives. Furthermore, not all of us have the financial stability to run off and do it straight out of high school.
For these reasons, many teenagers end up getting a late start into higher education, sometimes even wasting the first few years in an undeclared major, taking different courses to decide where you want to take your educational career.
When you enroll in a 5-year school, this can start to take its toll. If you spent the first few years out of high school working in order to fund your university path and you hit Uni at 23, you’re looking at graduating when you’re 28 – 29 years old!
#2 Saving money living at home during school. The average amount of student debt left after university is $30,000, meaning students may hit their 50s before they finally have these loans paid off! Other schools leave students with upwards of $50,000 or more after leaving the institution.
This number only goes up for students who leave home and live around campus. With those numbers in mind, living at your parents’ house to save a little cash doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
#3 Hard to get a job after graduation. Statistics show that those who graduate from higher education are more likely to live on their own than those who went straight into the work force after high school.
Even so, that doesn’t mean you’ll always be able to land your dream job post-education. You may not even be able to get a job in your field! Side note: While taking Journalism in college, my professor frankly told the class that less than 10% of us would find work because we were in a dying field. Thanks, teach!
#4 You just got out of a breakup. Not all parental home-dwellers are suffering from job woes. In fact, some may have already stepped out into the world of jobs, relationships, and responsibilities, but are on a temporary hiatus.
Maybe you did have a great job, a great relationship, and a great shared apartment… but now that relationship has turned sour, and you’ve lost the apartment to your ex, so you’re just waiting to get back on your feet at your parents’ place.
#5 It’s comfortable. Alright, so it’s not the best thing when you hear it out loud, but everybody has reasons for still living at home. One of the most common? It’s comfortable and convenient. Not only do you save money, but you’re already accustomed to living with your family. You all know each other’s habits and need for space, so why rock the boat when the boat’s so comfortable?
Take this experience as a sobering lesson about how much your parents love you. Your parents definitely win the “Awesome Award” for letting you slink back into your old bedroom, and be fed free of charge while you endeavor to look for work.
So you’re still at home at 30! Instead of looking at the downside, show your family you appreciate their love and support by being the best house guest in the world until you’re back on your feet!