1. Oh this is just beautiful and amazing and all of the good things. Thank you for sharing this perspective with us Penny!

    May all of our parents live long enough to rely on us and for us to give back a tiny bit of what they’ve provided us.

    No you’re crying.

    • Thanks, Amy! It’s what worked for me and my family. Obviously, there are plenty of other ways to do it, but I figured maybe it was a perspective worth putting out there 🙂

    • I loved coming home. I always joke that having roommates in college made me realize how much of an only child I truly am. Ekkk! I practically wanted to run back home after one of my roommates left her food in our microwave before we went out of town for the weekend. I will never forget that smell!

  2. I lived at home until I was 25 and my mom passed away. She even moved with me when I went to grad school so that I wouldn’t have to take out loans to live on. Like you, I paid bills, but I didn’t have to pay rent. I am pretty sure if my mom was still alive we’d be living together (she used to jokingly call me Little Edie.)

    My family doesn’t have a cultural tradition of multi-generational living. I’m surprised it’s so frowned upon in the US. I don’t understand parents who push their kids out at 18. My mom couldn’t give me a ton, but she could give me a place to live and I think she saw that as just a part of being a parent. I wish I had more time to repay her.

    • That’s such a bittersweet story, Jax. I’m sure she absolutely cherished your time together. My husband and I currently joke that we need to get the baby’s room ready for Baby and the guest room ready for my mom 😉

    • That’s fantastic that arrangement worked for you. I really think people have to do whatever they (and the parents or other family members) are comfortable with.

  3. Don’t let anybody make you feel bad about this. I see nothing wrong with taking your parents up on a very generous offer. I had the option to move in with my dad after college, but I didn’t take him up on it for various reasons. It made a liiiiittle more financial sense, but I wanted to stay in the same town as Mr. Picky Pincher and assert my own independence. That does mean I learned a few lessons the hard way, like saving an emergency fund while paying rent!

    But ultimately it comes down to what’s right for you. As long as your parents consent and everyone’s on board with it, there’s nothing wrong with living at home.

    • I don’t. I genuinely enjoyed my time with them. I know that I am so privileged to have such good relationships with both of them. Hopefully, we’ll be in a position to offer the same opportunity to our kiddo.

  4. Oh, I had to chuckle at the conversation between you and your dad, Penny! I have the same one with my parents on a regular basis. 🙂 It sounds to me like a situation that really worked well for you and your parents. So, why not? I could see it working out in my family too – I would welcome my kids living with me in their 20s. I’m pretty sure they’d be comfortable with it too.

    • Ha! Yup. He’s a character. 🙂 Whenever I offered to pay rent, my dad reminded me that they’re not the type (nor is their house really the type) to take in a “boarder”. I try to continue to pay them back in other ways and hope to be able to do so in the future. But every family has to do what works for them. I think that’s most important – instead of trying to fit a particular mold.

  5. I’ve never been shy about sharing my opinion that everyone should live at home as long as their parents will let them. It seems horribly wasteful to have all those extra bedrooms go unused while paying full price rent somewhere else. Especially if you have massive debts to pay off.

    Exception being when safety comes into play of course. I stayed at home until 24, and I think my parents were probably ready for me to be out by then.

    My experience though is that many parents just want to spend more time with their adult children and many would be thrilled to have them live there for a bit after college (and I would assume that’s probably better than finally accepting that your kids are out, converting their bedrooms into something else or downsizing, and then suddenly getting a call that your kid needs to move back home).

    It’s usually kids who want to leave asap out of some sort of stubborn and prideful pursuit of independence. I think we can learn a lot from the Asian and Hispanic (and apparently Italian) cultures where multi-generational living is socially accepted and normal. it’s obviously a more fiscally responsible choice, particularly if everybody pitches in vs. just expecting your parents to pay for it because they are more successful.

    I don’t think I feel any more of a burden to take care of my parents in old age because I lived with them longer than some people choose to take care of their parents. I think if you’re a “good person” you help your parents or siblings whenever you can.

    So, I guess I would say I feel like a person has an “obligation” to take care of the previous generation of family because you were born and you survived. Certainly circumstances might occur where that obligation is erased (being disowned, for example), but for most people, family takes care of family, and I think if you got married right away at 18 you would probably feel the same “obligation” because you are very close with your family and it would break your heart to see them suffer and you were able to help out.

    • I hope people are willing to help their families. I see some posts in the PF world warning about it. And I’m not sure I agree with the tone, but I suppose I don’t really have to. I’ve always thought of it as a responsibility I would welcome. I know my parents will both go down swinging, but we’ll support them (and my in laws!) however best we can.

  6. I moved out very early, although I love the idea of multi-generational living. Our long term goal would be to have a home that had a potential mother-in-law quarters. We could rent it out for extra income until our family needed it. Then we could use it in our retirement and pass the main home on to our kids. It would make traveling in retirement a breeze because we would have built in house sitters. =)

    • That’s genius! I love living so close to my parents. When they were traveling for a few weeks, we could pop over to check on their house while running our usual errands. Right now, they’re way too independent to ever consider moving in with us. The same is true for my in-laws. But who knows what the future holds!

      • For us something semi detached would perfect. Like a 500-800 sq foot apartment, handicap friendly. When we move into it, I won’t have to host the big holidays anymore, or do all the cleaning of a big house. Low maintenance while we gallivant around the country/world. But still easy to have tea with my kids and maybe watch the grandkids after school. We shall see. =) Just have to find the perfect property to make it happen in the next 10-15 years.

  7. I get it. When I graduated college, I spent a year or two living at home and only moved out to be closer to my fiancée. Had I not gotten married as young, I might have stayed longer. As long as it’s agreeable to everyone involved, I see nothing wrong with this arrangement. When it came time for my mother to give up her home, assisted living was the best option for her, but I was there nearly every day. I hope that everyone will take care of their parents when it comes time, not out of obligation, but out of love.

  8. You must be a cousin! In my family, you DO NOT move out until you get married, and that better happen by 27. Not only was I the first one to break that rule – when I moved to Northern CA for a job, at age 27, I didn’t get married until 30-something. I don’t remember how old I was but it was way past my expiration date. My first cousin who broke that rule was only in that limbo for maybe a year, his mom made sure to marry him off within a year of his leaving so he was legitimized again.

    Until then, I was living at home, but our roles had been reversed for the previous ten years, so I was living at home because I wasn’t stupid enough to want to pay for 2 households like I had to once I left. Under better conditions, under normal circumstances, I would have been able to save ohhh $200K during that time. I try not to think about that too much. Or too frequently.

    I think multi-generational living has its flaws just as much as the American tradition of giving kids the boot at 18, but I lived it with my grandparents, and sort of my parents, and in general, I think it can be better. Weird at times, but less isolating and enough support to outweigh the extra work of having more bodies in the home.

    When it’s our turn? I don’t know. I had always expected to take in my parents because my sibling is a perpetual trainwreck. I suspect MIL expects to live with us, too, probably. I don’t know what my dad’s expectations are but given his refusal to give up smoking or leave my brother or … not betray me, I’m really not sure what I’m going to do with him. I felt like a complete heel that I didn’t move Mom to Northern CA with me before she died because I knew that she would be too isolated and I couldn’t supply round the clock care she needed, but I think the situation is different with Dad.

    As for JuggerBaby, it’ll be a balance. Ze will have to pay rent, because I think it’s too easy to skirt the responsibilities of adulthood, but that rent money may turn into a gift later. It depends on how ze turns out!

    • Your perspective is always such a welcome addition here! I think both my parents and my in-laws will both go down swinging before they move in. But they’re close enough where we can bop over to both in 10 or 15 minutes. Only time will tell.

  9. It’s not something I had truly considered until I discussed it with a friend of mine who is first generation American (born to Mexican parents). It’s definitely a cultural thing, and definitely something people might judge until they know a little more about it! Since I went to grad school right after college, I stuck out on my own at 22. It would have felt weird moving home since I’d already lived away from home for two summers at that point. But, I can see how there are cultural pressures and financial priorities that make it a good choice for some people.

    • I lived on my own at college and with roommates. It was a good experience, and it helped me build relationships and network. There was a bit of a transition coming back home, but I’ve always been such a homebody bookworm that it wasn’t that much of a shock. There is a great story about a belly button ring that’s just waiting to be told, though 😉

  10. Angie

    I moved home for a few years during the recession. During that time I changed jobs twice and then was more freelance, but I also saved enough money to pay for my wedding. Like you, I paid some bills but not rent. I enjoyed that extra time with my parents as an adult. My brother was also living with them, as was my sister between out-of-state jobs, so it was time with them as well.

    The house that my husband and I bought (while we were engaged) has an unfinished basement and I always figured that either my MIL or mom would end up living there in the future. Circumstances have changed so that seems less likely. (My brother could need to live there – whether or not I’m open to that is another question.) One of the things that drew my husband and I together is that we have similarly close knit families and understand what goes with that.

    • Yes, Angie! That’s such an important point that you made at the end. My husband’s family and my family have similar values (my sister-in-law moved back in with them many times), so we both knew what we were getting into.

  11. Ranya

    Ohhh man this is so relevant for me right now! I am living with my dad and stepmom (and my three very young brothers…the youngest is 6 years old) after living at college and then on my own for a couple of years. I love getting to see my brothers regularly and not having to pay rent, but I don’t feel completely comfortable at home. This probably has something to do with how my stepmom told me outright that she did not want me living there, but I had no other options really so I moved in anyways. (She’s since apologized, but I still can’t shake the feeling in the back of my mind that I am not wanted there.) My dad insists that I live with him as long as possible to save money which is so sweet and I am so thankful!
    The other part of it is that I don’t feel like I have my own space. I mean I have my own room and bathroom and no one really cares when I come or go, but I guess I am an extreme introvert because sometimes I just need to be ALONE alone.
    Anyways, I like the concept of intergenerational living, and its good to hear that it works for some people, but right now its not really my cup of tea…even though I’m living it, hah!

    • That’s definitely a difficult situation, Ranya. It sounds like you’re making the best of it, but I can understand why you’re not loving it. Though I didn’t like being an only child very much growing up, I did have a lot of space when I moved back home. That probably makes a big difference, too!

  12. I think that this makes sense for so many reasons! My husband is from France, where living at home is much more the norm (or was, anyway). When his oldest sister went to college, his mother moved the family to her university city so that she could continue to live at home. A good friend lived in Costa Rica for many years, where her now 29-year-old son was born. He comes and goes from home, for work and education and travel, but the door is always open to him (he’s not yet married). It’s much more the norm in some cultures than others. That said, my sons are now nearing this stage. One is in college, one still in high school–I’m in no hurry to see him go.

  13. I lived with my mom between 26-31, and there were some really good things about it and some not so great things about it. I probably needed to contribute more to the household than I did, and there probably should have been more communication between us when I first moved in to set up a slightly different relationship (I had last lived with my mom when I was 15. I lived with my dad and stepmother for high school and lived away for college and grad school.)

    That’s one of the things I hear from a lot of friends that have kids who move home: that the expectations on both sides aren’t really clear about the purpose for their kids to move in. Is it a short term situation while the kid saves enough money to get their own place? What if the kid doesn’t save their money? Is it a longer term arrangement? How much should the kid contribute and why? It seems it works best when all of these things get laid out ahead of time when the decision to move back in happens.

  14. Love the post as always, Penny! I think it’s a matter of maturity. For some, living at home can be a very beneficial time of preparing for life on your own, with the understanding that that life is indeed coming. I moved back home after living with roommates for a couple of years expressly for the purpose of saving up for my wedding and honeymoon, and I’m super grateful that my dad was able and willing to take me back in for a bit. For others, though (and I feel this is probably where the negative stereotype comes from), living at home definitely does enable some bad behaviors and causes tension between family members. I’ve seen it firsthand, where a generous offer was taken advantage of, even after marriage (and kids!), and the parent now feels like the outsider in their own home.

    Living with parents as an adult definitely doesn’t need to be a bad thing, but it needs to come with respect, boundaries, and maturity. Otherwise, it can wear down those relationships really fast.

  15. Are you sure your family isn’t a little bit Indian? Living with your parents (and sometimes grandparents) is the norm in India. Everybody does it, and it isn’t the least bit weird. In fact, it is pretty normal for a son to live with his parents and his wife and family, in some communities this is expected. I’m not claiming that these arrangements are always happy, I’m just claiming that normal is all about context.

    I lived at home while I was at college, and I continue to live at home for a year after I started working. Then I took a job offer in a different city and flew the nest for a while. When my company moved to the city where my parents lived, I moved back home. New job, and off I went again. Eventually (despite my stunted growth) I flew right out of the nest and across the ocean more than 10000 miles away to a different country.

    • Haha! It’s definitely more of a trend in my mom’s family. They identify really strongly with their Italian roots; my dad’s family, much less so. Your point about context is spot on! And look at you soar 🙂

  16. I lived with my parents until I was 22 and have been out of the house since. My boyfriend is the opposite and moved out much later. His family is Romanian and had three generations in his household growing up. That’s just what you do. It’s a different concept for me, but definitely financially fruitful. My parents asked me to move back when I was paying off debt, but I was stubborn. Thanks for sharing your story!

  17. I love this post for many reasons. But it wouldn’t have worked for me with my emotionally abusive father and mentally unbalanced (at times) mother. That’s the same reason why I can’t have my dad live with me as he ages. My mom maybe, but not my dad. This is my reality. And I’m a Generation Xer.

    • We all have to do what works for us. Your point definitely underscores the privilege and fortune that I feel to have the relationship with my parents that I do. Thanks for the support, and I know you’ll rock your reality, Lisa!

  18. I love this post! Living at home as an adult was not a huge part of my life – I moved out at 17 to go to college and, while I did continue to live with my mom for summers during undergrad, I never permanently moved back in with either parent beyond that.

    However, my partner is Turkish and I can see how much more this is integrated in his family, and I think it’s a beautiful part of life. His mom and aunt live in the same apartment block as his grandparents and they care for them every day – they may not be under the same roof, but about as close as you can get! 😉 Thanks for sharing.

  19. This is interesting.

    I’m weird and tend to run against the grain of existing social opinion. And because I’m weird, I’ve always thought the whole idea that there’s something “wrong” with young adults living with their parents until they marry or until they start earning a substantial income is in itself “wrong.”

    Why is there some stigma about this? If the parents live in a house that’s large enough to afford a degree of privacy for all the adults present, WHY NOT combine resources so that everyone in the family can live better?

    The adult working child gets a better place to live than he or she could afford, the stability and comfort of a dwelling that’s not a darned rental, and a platform from which to build a life and a career that isn’t likely to be yanked out from under him or her. If the young adult happens to have children, she or he also may get free child care. Even if the person just has a pet dog, for hevvinsake, the old folks are there to pet-sit while the younger adult goes to work or gallivants on vacation.

    The elder adults get the security of having a competent, strong young adult in the offing — one who understands how the dratted computers work and who is wary enough to protect them from the nonstop elder-scams that barrage anyone over the age of about 55 or 60. They also get someone chipping in on the cost of utilities, food, and the roof over their heads.

    My son thinks it’s immoral and lache to live with a parent — when he had to move back in with his father after the dot-com bust, he was humiliated. That he thinks that way seems too bad to me.

    I have enough money now that if he and I were to throw in together, we could buy a freaking COMPOUND: we could easily afford a piece of property in a decent, centrally located part of town with two fully appointed structures on it. One of my neighbors around the corner in Richistan has exactly such a deal with his parent: the young adult family lives in a big house and the retired dad lives in a very nice, full-sized separate house built on the same acre-size lot.

    But even if we couldn’t afford such a thing, in this area many developers built (and still build) houses with split master bedroom plans, so that each wing of the house is a private suite, sharing only the kitchen and what you might call the “public” rooms — the living room, family room, and dining room.

    My son and I could each live much better if we lived “together and apart” in such an arrangement. It seems stupid to me not to take advantage of that fact. When a surrounding culture’s custom is…well, stupid…do we really all have to go along with it?

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