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Surviving the “Move Back Home”

Fewer young women are living independently these days.

Based on a 2015 Pew Research survey, one in three women aged 18 to 34 reported living with a relative. A record 36.4% of millennial women indicated they lived with their mom, dad or another relative who was not a spouse, based on comparable data going back to 1940.

Back then, 36.2% of women resided with a relative. This number isn’t so surprising, given the fact that generations ago, fewer women went to college and would remain living at home until they were married. Today’s generation is more likely to be college educated and unmarried.

So why the boomerang? Respondents of a Fannie Mae national housing survey indicated that a majority of adult children who are between 23 and 34 are living with their parents because they:

  1. Don’t have enough income to live on their own
  2. Are not married yet
  3. Are saving money for the future

It’s likely that college debt has many young adults feeling overwhelmed. For a 2017 graduate, lendedu.com puts the average student debt at $28,288. Debt’s crushing weight can make plans to live on your own and set aside money for saving and investing seemingly impossible.

If you are the one out of three living with a relative and want to make sure your situation remains temporary, think through your short- and long-term goals. Do you want to move into an apartment or purchase a house eventually? Do you want to travel, have a family, or start a business? When you envision your future, it makes your plan more meaningful, helping you prioritize expenses and meet your goals. Two years is a short window of time, and it’s best to make the most of it. Ideally, write down your goal as a first step in making something that may seem way ahead in the future, an actual reality.

Often living at home is a good way to share living expenses, such as utilities, food and transportation. Now is the time to figure out additional ways to maximize your savings while still considering your financial future and putting a plan in place. Consider carpooling or taking the bus to work. Brew coffee at home instead of heading to the coffee shop. Brown bag your lunch and make dinner at home. Then take that extra cash and invest in an appropriate investment based on your goals, risk tolerance and time horizon. You can even have that extra cash directly deposited from your savings account to a separate investment or IRA retirement account. You may be surprised how quickly it adds up!

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