Should I move out of my parents' house or wait until I've saved up?
June 2, 2013 4:20 PM   Subscribe

Should I move out of my parents' house or wait until I've saved up?

I'm 27 and I haven't moved out of my parent's house yet. Mainly because I absolutely have no idea where I want to end up. I went to college for graphic design but never ended up with a degree. I've been trying to break into freelancing but I've been struggling trying to network and set up a decent portfolio. I grew up with a very small circle of friends who have all since moved out of town and I struggle making new friends.

My home situation isn't bad. My parents are still together but it's obvious that they're starting to wonder when I'll move out. I have older siblings (one who still lives at home, the others live in town) who live very domesticated lives (married with kids) and I'm pretty much surrounded by that lifestyle 24-7. I'm a creative and quiet person who enjoys a lot of alone time. My family is the exact opposite. Countless birthday parties and get-togethers drain me completely. And I always get looks whenever I request that I just want to stay home and be alone. I'm introverted. They don't seem to understand that (though they are supportive of my art) and I've been feeling increasingly alienated. Also feeling tremendous amounts of anxiety because I feel like I shouldn't still be here at this point in my life. I understand living alone won't magically fill me with purpose or make me outright happy - but I feel like I'd be in a better place to seriously think about what I want to do with my life without any distractions.

Here's the question. I have a full time job that pays over $12 an hour and I've been wondering whether or not I'd be financially stable to get my own apartment. I'd really prefer to live alone than with roommates but I don't think that's possible. I'm still paying off a school loan ($5000 left) and I have okay credit (I have yet to own a credit card). I also have over $4000 saved up. I'm also not sure whether or not I should stay in this area or if I should move to a more creative town (such as Philadelphia, which is only an hour away). But I've been having trouble finding any jobs around there. Apartments under $800 near my hometown are almost non-existent.

Can anyone provide any advice?
posted by MeaninglessMisfortune to Human Relations (24 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
It doesn't sound to me like you can afford to move out right now. If your parents are okay with that, that's great. Assuming you work 40 hours a week, that's basically $800 every two weeks, right? You probably shouldn't be spending half your money on rent if you still have loans/car, etc.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:29 PM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

Move out. Get into a houseshare or find a roommate if you can't cover rent by yourself, but move out. There's a point at which you've got to kick yourself out of your parents' house and stand on your own, even if it's in a tiny studio somewhere.

This is the problem with 'good' parents: they won't kick you out, because they're nice people. So, you're going to have to do it yourself, or you're going to find yourself at 40 or 50 and still living in their comfortable shadow.
posted by easily confused at 4:37 PM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

I fail to see any reason for you not to move out.

You're an adult with a full time job that pays OK.

You have some debt, but nothing crazy.

You have savings to pay the security deposit and other associated costs.

This is a total no-brainer.

Move out.
posted by Sara C. at 4:39 PM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

I think you should stay, but only for as much longer as it takes to put together the plan you're going to come up with as your next step.

Even with savings, living alone on $12/hour is probably not feasible. (As a point of reference, I did it on $10/hour and lived by the skin of my teeth, and my apartment was $400. Because it was 1994.) Unless you are lucky enough to end up somewhere where you neither need a car nor hardcore public transportation, that's going to bite hard into your budget.

As I read it, your priorities are:
- Living alone, probably in a different town
- Figuring out what to do with your life
- Actually doing a thing that makes the first two points possible

You may have to give one of those up. Either live with roommates* while you work a non-career-track job in the location of your choice and sort out your life, or get a better job so you can live alone and think, or stay home and think and stay at your job and save.

*In a sense, you have done that before, though they are your parents, but I think living out in the world with roommates is actually an important life skill that you should have on your list of things that probably need to happen. You are at least old enough to find roommates who are full-time employed rather than students, which doesn't necessarily teach you much.

But unless you plan to marry for money and have the necessary connections and attributes to do so, you're going to be working for most of your adult life, and I think you need to make that the top point of your triangle. You don't have to do the same thing all your life, and you probably won't, but you need to pick something to get better at for now. If you have the skills for office admin work, that is one way to get exposed to a cross-section of some industry, which may help you find your strengths and career paths that interest you, as well as attract mentors to help you find your way.

Pound the pavement in Philadelphia, find a roommate situation, keep saving so you can move somewhere else once you get some momentum. I think you're going to have to kick your own ass here, nobody else is going to do it for you. It's the best kind of ass-kicking.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:42 PM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

My advice: move out and deal with having a roommate or two, and set a concrete goal of living on your own after (say) two years. You really need to cut the cord and start living out of your parents' home (there are basic life skills that just cannot be learned as long as you live at home, and if you're 27 and have a full-time job, it's time for you to start learning them), but if you can't yet afford to live by yourself, then that's (IMO) the only sensible option.

To get a more specific idea of what you can afford in rent, check out the book All Your Worth, which offers what I think is a very workable and sensible 50/30/20 model of budgeting (50% of your monthly income goes to essentials, 30% goes to non-essentials, 20% goes to savings).
posted by scody at 4:46 PM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

The first step in all of this is really nailing down you financial situation. Make a budget. You say you have a range of apartment prices, but have you really look hard at them? I'm sure you could also settle for a cheaper area or a smaller place.

Part of being a grown up is getting what you can afford, and dealing with it. It sucks I know, but if I would have lived with my parents I wouldn't have incentive to move up in the world. Hell, you even have savings right now! I have lived paycheck to paycheck in crappy college roommate situations because it's what I could afford and so I had to deal with it.

If your parents are fine supplementing your income for food, etc, while you live with them then they may be fine helping you out in a pinch. Talk to them. Say "I want to move out, here is my financial situation, do you think that if I get into a bind you can help while I get on my feet?" They may be glad to help with groceries, cell phone bill, etc if it means getting closer to being empty-nesters.

I agree, find a roommate or a small studio apartment. If you don't like having social things at your place, then a small studio is fine! You need to get out of there. You can't grow nearly as fast as a person if you still live with you parents, not to mention building close (read: sexual, intimate) relationships.

Either way, you need to get out on your own. There is no reason - that you have listed - to still live with your parents at 27.
posted by Crystalinne at 4:49 PM on June 2, 2013 [7 favorites]

It looks like you are all set to start life on your own. You have a job that pays well, you have have saved enough. My friend started on her own when she have 3500 saved and I think you can do it.
posted by dolilmao at 4:52 PM on June 2, 2013

I lived alone, paying $800/month for rent, on $25,000 a year (before taxes). Get some roommates and you'll be just fine.
posted by baby beluga at 4:55 PM on June 2, 2013

I have a full time job that pays over $12 an hour and I've been wondering whether or not I'd be financially stable to get my own apartment. I'd really prefer to live alone than with roommates but I don't think that's possible. I'm still paying off a school loan ($5000 left) and I have okay credit (I have yet to own a credit card). I also have over $4000 saved up.

how much interest are you paying on your student debt? i'm going to guess 3.5% or more.

i'm not a financial planner, do you own research, etc. ...

if i were you i'd use your $4,000 and put it all towards your student debt. then i'd apply for a credit card with a zero percent intro rate, citibank has some, for example. that will put your minimum payments for the credit card and student loan to something negligible compared to your other expenses. then i'd start saving cash, cut discretionary expenses as much as possible (no eating out, going to movies, buying new cloths, etc.) and any expenses you can, you charge to the card. this will help you build up enough cash for a deposit and first month's rent. then, start looking for a room mate. give yourself two to three months to look. this will let you go on "room mate dates" to hang out with the people and see if you get along. i know you don't want to have a room mate, but making sure you're compatible should lessen the impact of having one. know that once you move into a place you need to pay off whatever balance is on your card before the into rate expires.

if all that goes well, i think you could move out in two to three months.
posted by cupcake1337 at 5:00 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't think there's anything wrong with living with your parents in itself, but I do think you could be working on goals that will lead to more happiness. Slightly higher paying job and established credit can lead to a small studio and decreased social pressure (both on the events front and the social stigma front). What are your goals? What steps are you taking to achieve them?
posted by asciident at 5:38 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

How about an internship in a-creative-city? You could try out living alone (or with roommates!) for a few months, learn to network, build your portfolio and try to figure out if this feels right for you at this point.
posted by travelwithcats at 5:58 PM on June 2, 2013

I don't have strong feelings on whether you move out now or 6 months from now, but I suggest whatever you do, that you do not decimate your savings (by throwing it all at your debt or for anything else). If you do not have an emergency fund as a cushion, any short term significant financial need (car breaking down, stolen computer, trip to the emergency department, etc) is going to put you into debt - and not the reasonable interest educational kind, the high interest consumer kind. So just make sure you hold onto an emergency fund (I'd suggest 3 to 6 months worth of expenses) separately from the savings that you need to get yourself started in a new place.

Let's say that you're dead set on living alone and the apartments you're looking at are about $1000/month, you're going to potentially need first and last month's rent plus a deposit. Then tack on an additional $500 to $1000 depending on your tastes to purchase things you'll need in an apartment that you didn't need at your parents' house (cleaning supplies, kitchen items, furnishings). In this situation you might consider saving $3500 + 3 months of expenses prior to moving out of your parents' house.

I am not in a creative field of work, but from what my friends tell me, you need to go where the jobs are in those situations. So yes, I would give strong consideration to moving to the city if you truly want to pursue graphic design.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 7:58 PM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

Regarding the no-roommates clause you put up: have you had roommates/housemates before? I'm assuming you haven't, because you said you haven't moved out of your parents' place "yet".

Either way, in addition to the advice from others about searching for a new job, establishing credit, etc., have you talked to your parents about your situation? If you end up in a serious bind, you could say something like "Hey mom and dad, I want to live on my own and be independent. Can you help me out a bit?" I know you and your parents are polar opposites, but don't be afraid to discuss with them.

(FWIW, I don't think being in your late 20's and still living with parents is an odd thing. I have friends in that age range still living with theirs! But maybe it's a culture thing...)
posted by curagea at 8:04 PM on June 2, 2013

I think you're very lucky to have parents who are willing to let you stay with them until you can find a steady career. Considering that you have a -$5000 value attached to your name, I think it would be wise to stay put until you pay off your debt or until you feel comfortable with moving out with enough in your savings to pay off your debts and future expenses. I understand it must be very difficult to live with your family since you have different tastes, but if you plan on staying, it may be worthwhile to look into different things you can do to cope with your feelings of alienation (hang out with friends, compromise with your family somehow?).

Oh, establishing a good credit history as soon as possible will also help you when you plan on getting your own place, car, etc. Getting a credit card (with the intention of paying it off in full each month) will definitely help. Good luck!
posted by satine at 8:13 PM on June 2, 2013

Considering that you have a -$5000 value attached to your name, I think it would be wise to stay put until you pay off your debt or until you feel comfortable with moving out with enough in your savings to pay off your debts and future expenses.

This is an odd way of looking at this to me. Many (most?) college-educated people in their 20's have student loan debt, this is not an unmanageable amount of debt and shouldn't leave you feeling chained to your parent's house. You say you have absolutely no idea where you want to end up, but you won't ever know this until you try some things out! Doing the same thing is going to get you no closer to figuring out where you want to end up.

It depends on the cost of living, but full time $12/hour is a do-able budget for most places if you don't expect a whole lot. There are lots of great questions on ask mefi about formulating a budget for the first time. However, to make that budget less on-the-edge I would definitely get a roommate or two-- run a craigslist ad specifically saying you're pretty quiet and introverted but otherwise a great roommate and I bet you can find some people who will be a good fit. Think of getting your own place as the reward for paying off your loans.

You can take all of my advice with a grain of salt if you like since I'm actually a couple years younger than you (though I've moved a half a dozen times for as many jobs in the time that I've been living away from my parents), but if I personally were in your situation I would bide my time at my parents' by formulating a budget and feeling out the Philly housing market and saving what money I could to expand my cushion and getting a credit card and starting to use it a bit (paying off the balance each month of course). Meanwhile, I would be aggressively applying to jobs in Philly and going to interviews as needed. If nothing panned out I'd probably just move and find a service job while I continued looking, but I won't necessarily recommend that.

Good luck!
posted by geegollygosh at 8:48 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Your parents will never tell you this, but you're being unfair to them. They finished parenting you a long time ago. It's time for you to fly the nest.
posted by Houstonian at 9:02 PM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

Your parents will never tell you this, but you're being unfair to them. They finished parenting you a long time ago. It's time for you to fly the nest.

Yeah. Look, I'm trying to avoid being a tough-love AskMe jackass, but you seem incredibly risk-averse and like you don't have much hustle. You have more savings and less debt than I do, and I'm an underemployed creative living in a super expensive city (not with my parents).

I went to college for graphic design but never ended up with a degree.

What happened there? (Serious question. Not trying to be a dick). How close are you to completing a degree? Do you think it would be worth trying to complete your degree?

I've been trying to break into freelancing but I've been struggling trying to network and set up a decent portfolio.

What an incredibly unique problem! Just kidding. Freelancing is really hard. The times in my life that I've freelanced have been very stressful in a particular way.

I grew up with a very small circle of friends who have all since moved out of town and I struggle making new friends.

Well, most adults have such an easy time making friends. You are such a special snowflake. Oh, wait - no! It's hard to make friends as an adult. I've always been a very social person, and life in the city I moved to after college, four years after college, is unbelievably lonely at times.

Roommates?!? Quelle horreur!

Oh wait. Nope on that one, too.

In short: Your problems are not unique, and not insurmountable. But you need to locate your hustle and have some sort of a plan. Don't blame your malaise on living with your parents - they are doing you a huge favor. And don't beat yourself up for not having a rocking career, a ton of friends, and having to live with a roommate - it's life in the big city.

And I wouldn't blow your savings on paying off your student debt ASAP. That is a horrible idea.

You'll be fine. But you gotta hustle.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 9:29 PM on June 2, 2013 [4 favorites]

Extra thought re: roommates. You say your family's "countless birthday parties and get-togethers drain [you] completely", and seem to assume that having roommates will be exactly the same..... the answer to that is, Not Necessarily. It all depends on the individual roommates: some want a party house, full of extroverts on the go all the time; other roommates just want someone to split the bills and clean up after themselves and say hello when you pass in the hall.

Re-reading your question, it sounds like you're making excuses about why you Need Your Space from your family, but can't (won't?) move out. Are you parents charging you even a *nominal* rent? Are you, in any serious way, currently paying your own way and contributing to the household expenses?

You need to move out and become a full-fledged self-supporting ADULT, and that isn't going to happen as long as you stay where you are. Find someone looking for a quiet roommate and move out. Don't ask your parents for any kind of subsidy or help with apartment rent: learn to support yourself, instead of leaning on them. If you end up renting a single room where half your furniture is cardboard boxes and you eat a ton of ramen, well, big deal: we all go through that, it's part of growing up.
posted by easily confused at 2:44 AM on June 3, 2013

I lived at home into my twenties, but I paid the going rate for rent. ($450 in the San Francisco Bay area in 1982.)

I was working and going to school full time, so having my own place wasn't on my radar. I was out of the house from 6:00 AM until 10:00 PM at night M-F. I slept at home and hung out doing homework on weekends.

My parents and I got along and as I was an adult they treated me like one. When I did move out, it was into my own place.

I will note that I had a full-time corporate job with benefits.

I think I'd work on getting a good job, with benefits. Discuss your situation with your parents. Be honest and encourage them to be so as well. Perhaps they want to sell the house and down-size, but they don't want you to feel rushed. Work out a plan that you all can live with for your eventual move.

Once I was out, I was OUT! I will say that I moonlighted at Macys for a few years to make ends meet.

I'm not ashamed of that arrangement, it worked out for all of us. I once said to my Mom, "I always thought you were going to give me the rent money back." My Mom said, "Yeah, at first I was thinking about it, but you know, we needed the help and nothing in life is free."

I'm cool with that.

So talk to your folks. If you can stand to stay, and they don't mind, that's the best. But, if it's a problem, then make a time-table for getting out.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:36 AM on June 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

I would suggest to you that if you are such an introvert and such a loner that even your family finds it odd, and you struggle making friends -- you might want to consider living with room mates. Even if you don't want it, it sounds to me like you need the socialization and exposure to new people your own age. Regardless of whether you end up friends with your room mates (which sometimes happens!), the experience of living with people who are not your family is a really valuable part of the growing-up process.

I have two brothers who failed to launch. One is 55 and the other is 52 and they both live at home with my father, who is now in the position of having to move into an assisted living facility and figure out what to do with them - at 82. They basically stole my parents' lives while abdicating their own. It's heartbreaking in a million ways I can't express to you without a lot of time and alcohol we don't have here.

Don't do that to your parents, and don't do that to yourself. It sounds like you've got a good financial foundation for moving out. Get out into the world and be a person, as soon as you can.
posted by kythuen at 6:06 AM on June 3, 2013 [4 favorites]

Lots of good advice here, but I want to add that, your question says to me that you a) can afford to move out, and b) want to move out. So, you should move out!

Just as a data point, my cousin lives in Philadelphia with roommates making about the same as you. I think she pays around $400-$500 per month in rent. Philly can be quite cheap. Pound the pavement down there and see if you can find something - it's cheap enough that even a service-sector job would probably be enough to make rent, provided you have roommates.

Another option: could you maybe tolerate reverse-commuting from Philadelphia for a little while, at least until you find something else? I think living in a big city would be good for your social life and creative/career opportunities. And if it doesn't work out with the city, the commute, your new job, or your roommates - well, you can always leave!

In sum: move out, and try to move to Philly if you can. You seem to want to, it's the right thing to do, and I don't see any reason why you shouldn't.
posted by breakin' the law at 10:07 AM on June 3, 2013

If you decide to keep living at home for a bit, get a second job with a quiet atmosphere so you can have some more time "to yourself" and save more money.

Night hotel clerk is a good thing to look into for that.

When you move out, get roommates! It's a good way to learn about different ways people approach life. You can find roommates who like to keep things quiet at home, and you aren't expected to go out to different social events with them like you are with your family.
posted by yohko at 10:12 AM on June 3, 2013

I lived at home at your age. I don't think there's anything wrong with living at home. I am also introverted and after having a roommate during college, I decided I would never again live with a roommate. On the other hand, my parents aren't super social either. As an introverted person, I would much rather have lived at home than with a stranger. A large number of people didn't understand why I would rather live at home than with a roommate.

That being said, I now love living on my own. It's wonderful to have the house just to myself and my dogs. It feels great. I saved up for many years so I could afford a down payment to buy my own place and live a comfortable life.

I think you might want to focus on getting a higher paying job and saving more money so you can buy a place or rent a reasonably nice place. If I hadn't lived with my parents while I was in a lower paying job, I would not be in a comfortable financial situation now.
posted by parakeetdog at 11:36 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

it's obvious that they're starting to wonder when I'll move out. Do you pay them any rent? Your use of your old bedroom has little or no cost to them, but you eat, you keep the lights & heat or a/c on when you're home, etc. As much as they love you, you probably create your own set of annoyances - everybody does. Buying food and paying rent, even if it's nominal, helps you feel more independent. As far as being an introvert in an extroverted family, I recommend saying things like, You know me, I enjoy alone time / As the introvert among you extroverts, I need some solitude / Quiet time is pleasant for us introverts. They probably have no idea what introversion is, and non-defensive discussions might help. I'm an extrovert with many introverted friends, and have learned their interesting ways.

Define a goal for moving out. When you've saved 3000 or so would give you a great cushion to have in savings. If you need a car or have another big expense coming up, keep that in mind, too. I loved having roommates and when you decide to move, you can make it clear to potential roommates that you're an introvert and it's not personal if you don't always participate in group activity. There are introverted roommates out there, too.
posted by theora55 at 11:51 AM on June 3, 2013

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