Boomerang Kid

If you’d have asked me 10 years ago if I’d be living in my childhood bedroom in 10 years, I’d have said no.

At 18, I had visions of heading off to college, finding a career, moving into a place of my own and living happily ever after.

At 28, here I am, living at home with mom and dad. And, I’m not alone. At height of the recession, 13 percent of parents polled said at least one of their adult children moved back home, and some 52 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds never left home.

It seems 20-somethings just haven’t been able to get a good foot down in life — given the economic instability, skyrocketing student loan payments and a host of other problems plaguing our generation.

Life as a “boomerang kid” — the term used to describe kids who move out of mom and dad’s house, only to later move back in — has taken some getting used to, but, at least for me, has been pretty good.

I had lived mostly on my own for about five years before finishing school and realizing that you aren’t just awarded a job and a home. So, finding some sort of interest/skill-related job was difficult.
I initially came home to go on a few job interviews. A month later, I realized having a separate apartment was a waste and that moving back into home was my only option.

To say it was a low point of my life would be an understatement.
But, I knew it was temporary (or so I thought).

At the same time, other friends were relocating home, as well. Yet, that didn’t make it any easier as many more friends were moving forward on their own.

Despite the continued increase of those doing it, there’s a stigma to living at home in your 20s. It conjures up images of some guy laying on a hand-me-down couch, playing video games, eating Doritos and being proud of his bobblehead collection.

I felt that way recently when a friend learned I live at home. It was as though he had forgotten all of the hard work and time I spend working, as he questioned why I chose to live at home.

You choose what you eat for dinner. You choose what you wear to work. You choose what to watch on TV. I did not choose to move home.

I had no other option.

With mounting student loans, I already was waist-deep in debt when college ended. At that time, I was earning slightly over minimum wage while trying to afford an apartment and food, and still look for a real work opportunity.

I’m no mathematician, but minimum wage paychecks, plus student loans and basic living expenses do not mix.

Since then, I’ve found a career, but instead of jumping the gun and living paycheck to paycheck, I’m trying to build up savings and beat down the student loans. I’m not making millions, but I’m in a career I truly love and want to be in.

I’ve accepted that it’s going to be a bit longer before moving out and on my own, and I’m OK with that.

Living at home hasn’t been difficult, though. I work way too much, and when I’m not working, I’m either out volunteering or being social with friends. I’m not treated like a high schooler by my parents. I have my own space and still enjoy life as I would before.

Sure, it’d be nice to have friends over, make dinner in my own kitchen and not worry about kicking my shoes off in the middle of the living room, but we all make sacrifices in life. It just
so happens these are the sacrifices I’ve had to make.

It also helps that two good friends of mine also live at home — both doing so after years of living on their own.

If for nothing else, I’m cherishing the time I get to spend with my family. Life’s short, and so many friends rarely see their family outside of holidays and special occasions.

I take risks, but living on my own when I know it’s financially not possible is not one I’m willing to take.

I give credit to those who can successfully do it. I do wonder, though, how some are able to live comfortably on their own or with children. I’m not willing to live a comfortable life running up credit cards, so if it means taking several more years until I’m confidently on my own, then so be it.

I don’t define success by having a house, living on my own and watching bills pour in. I define success by having a life I enjoy and knowing I’m not making foolish mistakes now that could ruin my financial life for the future.

If it means cramping my social life for a little bit longer, I’m fine with living at home.


Continue the conversation on you think there is a stigma to moving back home?

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  • erikdolnack

    Mon, 29.08.11 at 12:48PM

    Living with one’s parents well into the 20s is actually quite normal on average throughout the ages, and in different countries.

    It was really only recently when young singles could earn enough money to move out entirely on their own and be self-sufficient without the support of extended family. Economists call it the “Great Compression”. It’s the period between roughly 1935 - 1975 when the American middle class was virtually created due to progressive legislation and Unions fighting for better jobs, job security, and higher wages.

    In 1974, a young man of 22 could easily find a decent paying job just about anywhere that afforded an inexpensive apartment. Minimum wage in 1969 was $1.30. A brand new Volkswaggon Beetle (fresh off the lot) cost $1,300 new in 1969. Do the math: it would take about 1,000 hours or roughly four months of working a minimum wage job in 1969 to buy a brand new car! Today, can a minimum wage job buy a new car (I don’t care how many hours one saves up)?

    Wages have not kept up with inflation. It’s as simple as that. In consequence, an entire generation is learning to revert back to a time before the Great Compression, back when married couples lived with his or her parents because they had to to survive. The idea of every family owning their own separate house is rather new, and was only possible because of much Leftist populist and progressive legislation during the early parts of the 20th century in America. As Ronald Reagan and Milton Friedman talked us all into unequal income monopolization, we now have Bobby: the statistic of millions of 20-somethings that literally cannot afford to be independent at an adult age. It’s a crime and a travesty. America owes you an apology, Bobby.

  • .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    Tue, 30.08.11 at 11:47AM

    Thanks for the comment!

    I don’t mind living at home. I think more people should do it!

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