Living at home is no longer taboo. Tuition and transportation are enough to leave a post-grad millennial with depleted funds and a defeated attitude. Paying astronomical rent or mortgage fees on top of these expenses can transform some wallets into sinkholes, no matter how small or remote the space.
The challenges of living alone are intensified for folks who are single and can’t split expenses with their significant other. And as the unpredictable housing market continues to evolve, many are finding that the desire for independence is eclipsed by the psychological need for stability.
This certainly isn’t meant to lament the hardships of life as a millennial. However, it’s important to acknowledge that the search for affordable housing can be an insurmountable hurdle for people all over the GTA and moving back home is the only feasible option.
Last year, StatCan found that 4.3 million Canadians in their twenties are living at home, bringing the total to 42%. In contrast, only 27% of young adults still lived at home in 1981 and 31% were shacking up in 1991. This figure includes people who haven’t moved out yet and folks who have boomeranged back home after leaving.
Once you grow accustomed to living on your own, moving back in with your parents can be an unpleasant adjustment. The circumstances surrounding boomeranging vary but one consistency is that it almost always sucks.
But it doesn’t have to.
If you’re experiencing failure to launch or intentionally delaying your departure from the nest, put these tips into practice to make sure that your stay goes smoothly and that it doesn’t last longer than it needs to.
1) Have a plan
It’s obviously going to be hard to strategize your next step when developments in the real estate market have such unpredictable tendencies but it never hurts to have a plan. Keeping timelines and goals in mind can help put things into perspective and motivate you to stay positive during tougher times when you may be clashing with your parents or siblings at home. Planning also keeps you from getting too comfortable or stagnant and even discourages frivolous spending, since you’re now saving towards a tangible goal.
Be transparent with your parents by filling them in on your plans and keeping them posted with your progress.
Also, be realistic; does your plan span over six weeks, six months, or six years? No matter the timeline, don’t try to condense it because you will be prone to side-eye from family and friends when your estimated move-out date comes and goes without fruition. With that, be patient and flexible because your plans can easily get derailed.
2) Pay rent
Even if your parents insist otherwise, try to contribute to their monthly expenses while you’re living with them. It’s not only a sign of gratitude, but it also gets you in the habit of paying bills and keeps you from overspending the excess disposable income that you are sure to acquire from living at home.
It won’t be the equivalent to rent or a monthly mortgage payment but it is respectful and good practice to pay your keep and acknowledge your parents’ hospitality.
3) Set boundaries
Boundaries are essential in any relationship and it’s always best to establish them right away. The same applies to family. As soon as you move back home, chat with your parents about their specific rules and standards for their home in order to avoid misunderstandings. Will you have a curfew? Can you have guests over? How much will you be contributing each month? How long can you stay for?
It may be annoying and even disappointing if your parents are rigid with their rules, but it’s always better to have the discussion than to allow their gesture of allowing you to move home to be misinterpreted and cause stressful disagreements.
4) Be grateful
The entire process of moving back home can be a hassle; but don’t forget that it’s a privilege that many people don’t have. Despite the difficulties, remember that it will be big sacrifice for both parties that will require a lot of readjusting and flexibility.
It may feel like a failure, but moving home is a great opportunity to rehabilitate your finances and strengthen family bonds. Most importantly, you get home-cooking every night. How great is that?
So, until you're ready to jump into the new home market, find ways to make the best of your situation at home and start saving up!