For years, moving out of the house by the time we turn 18 has generally been an expected chapter in every American’s life. At 18, an American is recognized as an adult, legally responsible for his or her actions. With that given, it only seems fitting that by then, an 18-year-old lives away from Mom and Dad.
Today, this seems less true.
In one of her class sessions, Melissa Wall, a journalism instructor at Cal State Northridge, said it’s becoming more accepted by society that college students, even those at the age of 20 and older, live with their parents.
One of my classmates in my first semester of college, Josh, was 25. He had lived on his own for a couple of years, but then moved back in with his parents. He previously held a job where he got paid $2,500 biweekly. But, he admitted to being young and reckless, and he ended up blowing off all his money without really saving anything. In 2008 he was living with his parents and helping pay for utilities and rent.
A current classmate, who’s a senior, said he might have to move back in with his parents if he wanted to do what he’s planning to do career-wise after graduating this semester.
Another case is my cousin, who just finished his term in the Navy and decided to go to college. Because of limited finances, he’s moved back in. Sometimes, it seems like he’s embarrassed about living at home again, but there’s really no reason for him to feel that way.
On the flip side, there are people like Ian, a guy in one of my journalism classes last semester. He lives on his own and receives no financial support from his parents, and he’s not on good terms with them. Last semester he was working fulltime, taking 16 units, and sleeping past midnight because he was only able to do homework after coming home from work. He also trained with the hockey team every morning at 7 a.m. He lives with some other roommates and said his share of the rent comes out to around $600 per month, and that he lives off of fast food for the most part since he’s always on the go.
A studio apartment in Northridge ranges around $700 per month. Utilities, cable, Internet, phone, and food are other expenses not included in this monthly bill. Let’s just say all the other monthly expenses come out to an additional $300, putting the total cost of living independently at $1,000. Somebody working fulltime at minimum wage makes a gross income of $1,280 each month, so that would leave around $200 for other necessities like tuition, books, and transportation.
There’s also the option to bunk with roommates, but since everyone has different ways of living and doing things, that may pose another problem.
Living at home isn’t really that bad of an option. Of course cases differ based on each person’s situation, but generally, staying with mom and dad should provide a platform for better financial stability. Chances are parents won’t charge for rent and food. And if they do, then it’s because college students are supposed to be transitioning into adulthood, and need to be more independent and responsible. Also, if mom and dad do ask for rent, it’s probably going to be minimal. That way, students can focus on school and on activities needed to further their academic and post-academic careers instead of working long hours to financially support themselves.
By living at home, students also have the opportunity to save whatever income they might be earning at work or receiving from scholarships. By saving money this way, students can secure finances for when they decide to move out, whether it’s during or after college.