When it comes to leaving home, millennials seem to need extra help these days.
Despite falling rates of unemployment and increased median salaries among adults in the 18-to-34 age range, more and more of them are choosing, at least temporarily, to live in their family homes, according to a new analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data released last week by the Pew Research Center.
As of April 2015, the number of millennials living independently — taken by Pew to mean “heading their own households” without having a roommate — was about 67% of the approximately 63 million counted by the Census within this young adult category. That’s even fewer than during the Great Recession.
Take it from someone who just celebrated two months out of the nest myself: “Adulting,” as Kelly Williams Brown calls the process of moving out, is about as awkward and unglamorous as the gerund makes it sound. And to be fair, there’s more than one good argument for why it may be pretty brilliant to live with your family for a year or two out of college.
Yet for millennials looking to leave the nest, here are a few suggestions on how to “adult” well.
1. Play Pretend
Some experts recommend that millennials looking to leave home form good bill-paying habits by paying their way within the family household. And you should pay your parents — by being gracious, being helpful around the house, not sleeping until noon, and perhaps, after a serious conversation about how they’d like you to pitch in, by making a financial household contribution.
But if your parents decide to let you resume your place in the family home rent-free — or if they’re charging you a rent that’s below market rate — be sure to save any earnings that would otherwise be spoken for.
Write down a pretend budget, listing what you might otherwise need to spend on rent, groceries, transportation, etc. Then put that money aside every month as if you were paying the bills. Use that money for two things: to help pay down any student loans or credit card debts (thus boosting your credit score), and to provide a crucial safety net for after you do move out.
2. Jumpstart Your Job Search
You may have a job already, but will it cover your lifestyle shift? Or you may be stuck at home simply because you don’t have a job; earlier Pew Center research found that unemployed millennials were almost half again as likely as employed millennials to be living at home.
If you’re thinking of moving out at any point in the near future, there’s no such thing as starting a job search too early. Job openings may be at a historic high, but employers are getting pickier and pickier about who they hire.
Worst-case scenario, you may end up getting some extra interview practice for a job you don’t want. More likely, you’ll get a sense of what jobs are out there and appeal to you, what positions employers seem willing (or unwilling) to hire you for, and whether there are certain skills you’d like to buff up before you leave home. Maybe taking a coding class would put you ahead in the industry you were hoping to enter; perhaps your design portfolio or your resume could use some work.
Know these things before they get overshadowed by the stress of having to pay rent each month.
Source: Money | Katy Osborn