Making it a step forward instead of a step back
3 Important Objectives to Consider When Moving Back In With Your Parents
by Wayman Stewart
Moving back in with parents can be seen as a step backwards by many. It's a common judgment that it's not what real grown-ups do, unless they have hit a particular low point in their lives. In fact, people often look upon adults still living with their parents, particularly those who are in their late twenties and older, as couch-surfing, underachieving individuals in a state of arrested development.
Well, this is not always the case. In fact, moving back in with your parents can be an important step forward in making a transition in your life. Most people fall on hard times financially or professionally and these life stages can occur at a most unexpected time. Family, the people who love us the most, can serve as an excellent source of support during these times. It's a phase where we can heal ourselves and take the proper time to rebuild our lives.
However, this life stage should also be approached with a clear plan in order to maximize it. If not, it can become all too easy to get caught up in the complacency of living in this familial comfort zone. To manage the move back home, you should keep a set of financial and personal objectives in mind to get you through this phase.
Give Yourself a Time Frame
It's important to have a firm idea of just how long you plan on living with your parents. Many people's parents will request a definite timeline from their children, in order to maintain a clear understanding on both sides. In these cases, it will be much easier to approach your time at home in a goal-oriented fashion. Hopefully, you don't have the kind of parents who will, subtly or overtly, make you feel guilty about coming back home. If this is the case, then you'll have much more of a motivation to get out of there.
But, other parents are much less strict or demanding. They might have the philosophy that you can stay as long as you want. They might also not want you to leave, simply enjoying the feeling of being able to play out the parent-child dynamic on a regular basis. No matter how old we get, our parents still want to be needed and take care of us. If your parents fall on this end of the spectrum, then you'll have to work harder to avoid getting too comfortable living there.
The best way to make a time frame is to take a good, hard look at your finances. Think realistically. Based on the money you have now and how much you stand to make in the future, just when will you be able to get back out there and support yourself independently? Give yourself a reasonable amount of time. Don't leave too soon. You wouldn't have to move back home if you weren't already struggling. Set your time frame based on when you can comfortably support yourself again.
It also helps to not be too rigid about the time frame, either. Life is full of surprises. You never know what's going to set you back. Strike a good balance between remaining committed to the time frame and allowing it to be a clear estimate, instead of a die-hard deadline.
Be As Independent As Possible
Our pride can take a beating when we're forced to move back home. One of the great things about being an adult is the inner feeling of strength and independence that comes from being able to support yourself, without having too much help. So, when we're living back under Mom and/or Dad's roof, it can be potentially damaging to our sense of self. It can make you feel like a helpless child, instead of a functioning adult.
It doesn't help that our parents will often offer do things for us. It's a natural impulse, especially for mothers. But, you have to be the one to set boundaries if this happens. It's great if they do something nice every so often. However, if it happens too regularly, ask yourself if this is something you can do yourself. With household chores, it's usually a yes and just a case of laziness. But, if it's financially related, then ask yourself if you have enough money to handle the responsibility yourself. If so, then do it. If not, then try to find a way to do so before allowing your parent to help.
You need to behave on a day-to-day basis as if you are still living by yourself. Buy your own groceries, cook your own meals, run your own errands, and clean up after yourself on a regular basis. It can become easy to fall back on your folks for these little daily duties. However, handling them yourself will help to maintain your sense of self-esteem, reminding yourself that, despite your current situation, you are still an adult and can take care of yourself just fine.
Save, Save, Save
The most crucial element to moving back home is how much money you manage to save up. This should be your primary goal throughout the process. Once you have given yourself the time frame, you should know exactly how much money you will need in order to move out of your parents' house. This is a step that should be taken from the beginning. Having an exact financial goal in mind is what is going to keep you focused, as well as influence all of your subsequent decisions.
How much money you're able to save is dependent on how much money your parents ask from you in exchange for you living there, if they ask at all. Again, parents can differ in this way. Your folks might behave like landlords, asking for a certain amount of money each month. If this is the case, then you need to work out a compromise with them about how much your monthly cost of living will be. It shouldn't be so much that it interferes with you being able to save up enough money in the proper time frame. If your parents are reasonable enough, they will be willing to work with you on this and help support a plan that will get you back on your feet.
Now is the time to start saving for your future.
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However, you might have parents who are willing to let you stay at their home without paying a dime. If they are this generous, be grateful. Not owing them anything financially can help make saving much easier. But, still, you are going to need to stay dedicated to this goal. Saving doesn't come naturally to everyone. Being in a position where you have less financial responsibilities can make it even more tempting to spend. Avoid this temptation as much as possible. It will be temporarily satisfying, but can end up significantly setting you back in the long-term.
Moving back home is an experience that everyone will handle differently. Each circumstance will also be different and dependent on a number of varying factors. However, if you keep your priorities in mind, it's a transition that you can handle with grace and maturity.
Reviewed December 2017
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