Millennials often get a bum rap for moving back in with their parents, either after college or in their early 30s. But living with Mom and Dad could help set you up for a better financial future if you handle your money right.
If you’re thinking, “Live with my parents? No thanks!” you probably shouldn’t dismiss the idea. Being under the same roof with your family can be a smart money move — if you can save money that would otherwise go to rent or living on your own.
Do what you want when you’re out, but respect the house rules when you’re home.
START WITH A PLAN
Don’t just move back in with your parents because you don’t know what you want to do next. Have a plan for how long you’ll stay and what needs to happen before you leave.
Set financial goals. You’re moving in to save money? How much do you need? Perhaps you’re trying to get ahead on rent. In that case, you want to have a well-defined number that includes rent for several months, a security deposit (often 1 or 2 months’ rent), and some money saved for your essential expenses (food bill, cell phone, etc.) so that you don’t come knocking again should the bottom fall out of your plan.
Timeframe is important. Have a deadline for when you plan to officially move out, as well as contingency plans in place should you fall behind schedule. While your parents may not want to admit it, they may have an invisible calendar in mind and a date when they, too, can resume life once you leave.
PULL YOUR WEIGHT
If you’ve spent time away from your parents, you may have experienced the freedom that comes from living on your own. Now that you’re home, you have to live according to their rules and expectations.
Take initiative and offer to contribute to the household. That might include financial contributions for groceries. Or your parents may simply appreciate you doing the dishes, laundry, mowing the grass or cleaning around the house.
BE MINDFUL ABOUT WHAT YOU BRING
Depending on your previous lifestyle, you may have accumulated habits and possessions that wouldn’t be wise to bring into your parents’ home.
While you may want to hang on to things that hold sentimental value or that provide value to your life, consider liquidating — or storing — the “extras.” For instance, do you have a large or unusual collection of some sort that would take up a lot of space? Put those items in storage for a while.
FOLLOW THEIR RULES
Part of moving back in with your parents the right way involves being considerate of their rules and preferences. Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you can flaunt the rules as a way of asserting your path to adulthood.
Do what you want when you're out, but respect the house rules when you're home. That goes for having friends over, dating, use of their car, and more.
TALK ABOUT HOW IT’S GOING
Depending on your arrangement, it may be a good idea to have monthly or weekly meetings about your progress. These can be just a quick check-in or more elaborate brainstorming.
Either way, the conversations can help. Most parents don’t want to be kept in the dark about how you’re doing financially or how you’re faring on the job-hunting front.
Since you’ll likely have no rent or cheaper rent, plus the support of your parents, it’s worth communicating openly and getting on the road to independence as quickly as possible.