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The Cost of Leaving Mom and Dad’s House


For some recent college graduates, this fall’s back-to-school season marks the beginning of the back-to-living-at-home stage of their lives. But with careful financial planning, that stage doesn’t have to last long, advisers say.

The highest percentage of American young adults in four decades—36% of those 18 to 31—were living at their parents’ homes in 2012, according to a Pew Research Center analysis. And that number represents a steady increase over the past several years. Indeed, reclaiming one’s childhood bedroom can actually be a smart financial decision. But, financial advisers warn, millennials who don’t want their parents to be their roommates forever should try to manage their finances as if they were living independently. [...]

Although that is on the higher end of what she has seen as typical student loan payments, she has also had clients who pay up to $1,300 per month. Two-thirds of college seniors now graduate with an average of $26,600 in student loans, according to public policy organization Demos.

Most of those who do end up living with their parents seem eager to move out “as fast as humanly possible,” Broadway says, although for most it takes one to two years. An August survey by Coldwell Banker found Americans 55 and older think it’s acceptable for young adults to live at home with their parents for three years; Americans 18 to 34 found it acceptable for young adults to live with their parents for up to five years.