I have a confession to make: I’m nearly 24 years old and I live with my parents. I live in the same flat and the same room as I’ve lived in since I was five years old.
Twenty years ago that would’ve been embarrassing. As far as I can tell (obviously I was a toddler at the time) most people moved out by their early 20s. People would live with friends or with their partners. By the time they were ready to marry and have kids they had already been independent for several years. If they did live at home a lot of the time they also lived with a partner/spouse and they were simply saving up money before they could get their own place. The idea of someone, let alone thousands of people, living with their parents into their 20s and even 30s would have been weird. People would’ve wondered what was wrong with them.
But now it is relatively normal. I can’t speak for the rest of the world (although recent analysis shows that more people in their 20s live at home than alone, in America) but in London it is very difficult to move out. Buying a place isn’t even on the radar. It’s not even something you consider. Some people complain about not being able to buy, but we complain about not being able to rent. A lot of the time we can’t. When I worked at my old (full-time) job I worked out that if I had been in an average house share (not my own place, a house share) once you calculated the cost of rent, bills and oyster card I would’ve been left with about £200 a month. I can’t live on that.
I could have eventually. I could’ve spent the money I saved on rent rather than travel. I could’ve worked for a few years, and then slowly spent my savings on the extortionate price of my little room in a massive shared house full of strangers, but the thing is…it’s just not that attractive. Obviously living at home has its drawbacks:
- You feel like an overgrown teenager
- Your parents always ask you where you’re going
- If you’re not paying them rent, they can always find ways to hold it against you
On the other hand, this is the house you’ve always lived in and the people, who for better or worse, know a lot about you and you know a lot about them. The prospect of spending all your money for the chance to live in some room of a shared house with a bunch of strangers, you might end up hating, and a kitchen you’ll have to share with these people just isn’t that attractive.
Of course you could get a group of friends together and share the rent, which is what I plan on doing. But the thing is that:
- A lot of my London based friends also live at home and can’t afford to move out right now and
- Living with your friends has it’s own myriad of drawbacks
- The ‘affordable’ properties on offer aren’t exactly enticing
I went to university for three years and lived away from home during that time. I do my own cooking and cleaning. I buy all my own stuff and apart from rent I am pretty much financially independent. I know if I had the money I could function pretty well as a fully fledged adult.
Do you want to hear the real confession in all of this? The thing that those who are moneyed or pro-active enough to have their own places just can’t accept?
I live with my parents and I like it.
There are drawbacks, obviously it’s not forever and I feel that you need to have your own place to fully get into the whole ‘adult’ thing, but for now I’m pretty happy. I love my parents. I love having a ridiculously reduced rent. Even though we have arguments about washing up and cleaning (I’m actually way cleaner than they are) we get on pretty well. We don’t live in some ideal world where jobs and houses are attainable for anyone on a non-management level wage.
Jobs are very hard to get now that the internet has made them so accessible. In my chosen field of journalism, competition is so fierce that even a non-paid position will have 100+ applications. Life is hard, even if we think we ‘should’ be living the life that became so popular with Friends and How I Met Your Mother. Even though we want to be able to go out at 3am, no questions asked, and it would be nice to invite people over without any questions…right now it’s just not possible. If given the choice between paying very low rent and being able to follow your dreams, or having to spend everything you have just so you can say you moved out…realistically what would you choose?