Most teenagers can’t wait for the independence that comes with moving out of their parents’ house. However, you only realize what independent living truly costs as you get older. When you should move out depends on many factors that we’ll go through here.
If you’re still living at home with your parents or you moved back in with them, you probably have some awareness of the love-hate relationship between independence, freedom, and having enough money to leave your parent’s home and pay your own bills. But you’re not getting any younger.
The good news is that the high percentage of young adults aged 18-29 living with their parents in 2020 — 52% — had a lot to do with the effects of COVID-19. In addition, the number of adults living in their parents’ house has returned to pre-pandemic levels of 47%.
So, there’s hope! You’re not alone if you moved back home or were never able to leave the nest in the first place. You can look to the new numbers for confidence that you, too, can move out — that is, if you’re ready.
When Should You Move Out?
It would be best to move out when you have a steady income and can financially handle the monthly cost of living on your own. Another strong indicator that you should move is if living at home with your parents keeps you from being your true self and following your own values, beliefs, rules, and chosen lifestyle.
After all, you’re not a child anymore. So if living in your parents’ house keeps you from being you, then once you’re financially stable, waste no more time deciding, get the heck out!
10 Signs You’re Ready To Move
1. You are financially stable.
A 2019 statistic from Prosperity Now states 40% of Americans are one paycheck away from poverty. One missed paycheck may mean not being able to pay the upcoming month’s rent and expenses. The 40% was based on 2018 calculations, and since then, the cost of living has risen.
So, in addition to a steady job, it’s best to have an emergency fund or emergency savings of three to six months before you leave the nest.
To know if you’re truly ready, research how much it costs to qualify for your own place, stay afloat during both good and emergency times, and moving expenses. Then, add these amounts to your budget’s variable and fixed expenses.
Car insurance, utilities, and the internet are examples of fixed expenses. Clothes, grooming products, and cleaning supplies are examples of variable expenses. Some costs involved in the moving out process are:
- Moving company or moving truck
- Security deposit
- Installation costs
- Apartment application fees
- Down payment (if buying a home or possibly for utilities)
Keep in mind that a good credit score and credit history can reduce apartment rental costs, a mortgage, or the cost of utilities.
2. You are responsible.
While having enough money is crucial to being ready to leave your parents’ home, so are responsible spending habits of spending your income on your bills and paying bills on time.
Ideally, you want to afford your needs and some of your wants. For example, you may want that expensive living room set. But your mom will give you a couch and table from the basement. Your older brother will throw in some lamps. It may not be what you want, but you need it.
You don’t want to be apartment rich while being completely furniture poor. A good movie or occasional lunch at your favorite restaurant would be nice. Although it’s a want, include entertainment in your budget. These are self-care and quality of life expenses.
3. Your mental health is adversely affected.
Fighting with parents, not being able to follow your own values, and feeling forced to do things that make you feel less of a person or incompetent can be hard. Even worse, it can negatively impact your mental health.
As we get closer to adulthood, we need to individuate, which means establishing a sense of self-independent of our parents.
If you’re 18 or over and your mental health is being compromised because you’re living at home, the struggle of living minimally may be worth it. Just ensure you can afford the basics, like food, shelter, clothing, and utilities.
In this case, you want to start saving now. You may have to take on work that is not your first choice or pick up extra hours or a second job.
While it’s better to have financial stability first, life is a journey. Putting in steady efforts to improve it will pay off.
A small efficiency may not be what you want but what you can afford. Roommates may not be ideal, but they reduce your living expenses. Ramen noodles may become your best friend.
4. You’re emotionally ready.
If you feel you’re ready to exercise your individuation and know how to adult, there’s no better time to move. Trust yourself. Talk to your parents about financial basics. You know, they do have a little bit of experience living on their own.
Your parents may help with some moving costs, like the security deposit. They may even co-sign for you.
5. The commute is killing you.
Moving closer to your job or school makes sense if the commute is draining and depleting your quality of life.
If you can’t pay rent on your monthly income now, you can start saving. Then, you should eventually be able to afford an apartment with a roommate. You’ll save money on gas, and possibly even on car maintenance. Plus, the peace of mind will probably be worth it.
6. You have no privacy.
Even if your parents respect your privacy, you can only have so much of it when you’re hanging out with friends or a significant other in the same living space as family members.
You, your friends, or a date may not feel comfortable letting down your hair and being yourselves. As a result, your friends may feel like they’re always being watched.
And what about overnight company? You and your significant other probably want to get romantic in your parent’s house, where family members can walk in or overhear.
7. You don’t have access to the social life you want.
Your parent’s house may be located in a neighborhood with more “established” families, routines, and amenities (old people stuff). The social and nightlife you crave as a young adult isn’t available.
If you can afford rent in the part of town where you hang out or where most of your friends are, getting a new apartment in that area can be a fantastic opportunity for you to improve your quality of life and expand your personal growth.
8. Your personal growth is inhibited.
Maybe you needed time to find yourself. You needed your parent’s support while you traveled, worked odd jobs, or submerged yourself in your natural talents or things you love doing that really weren’t steady or lucrative enough to pay the bills. Now you got it figured out, and you’re ready to adult at your own place.
Or maybe your parents are still treating you like a child. You may even indulge in it. But you still realize that you will never really learn how to adult unless you move out.
9. You’re not using basic life skills.
Your parents cook for you. You don’t even do your own laundry. Are they still waking you up in the morning? Maybe you still have a curfew — enforced only to make sure you get to work or school on time the next morning, of course.
Yes! It’s definitely time to move out of your parents’ house. And since they’re so helpful, maybe your parents will help you financially with the moving process.
10. You don’t really have any personal belongings.
You realize that the only things that are truly yours are your clothes, shoes, toiletries, and maybe a vehicle at your parents’ place. The toiletries may even be a shared commodity in your family home.
Feeling like your bedroom is your only close-to-private space is also a sign it’s time to move. Or worse, your bedroom is the guest room, and you relocate when company spends the night. If either of these is the case, listen to the ghostly voices in many scary, haunted movies and, “Get out!”
What is the best age to move out?
As stated earlier, the best time to move out is when your finances and income are stable. But it also depends on you and your living situation.
It may be time to move if you’re unable to individuate, or your mental well-being is compromised while still in your parents’ house. If this is the case, and you can manage to pay the monthly costs of having your own place, it’s time to move.
Many of us never get to the financial stability we would ideally like. It’s a continual goal. So, you don’t have to have an ideal financial situation. One of the most important things is to do a budget to look at a realistic picture of what to expect and whether or how you can manage it.
But if you’re not dealing with any of the things on the above list, and you and your parents are happy, stay in your parents’ house forever. In some cultures, this is much more common. The choice is yours.
Is 21 a good age to move out?
Student loan debt and graduate school may be right around the corner. Even if you have enough money in your savings account and a steady income, living at your parents’ house a little longer can be beneficial. You can save more money. But financial stability at this age can mean you’re ready to move.
Is 27 too old to live with parents?
If you’re battling unaffordable credit card payments and monthly expenses, you may not have much of a choice but to stay. But you’re close to 30. So start making plans to save money. Contact credit card companies to see how you can improve your credit history.
Is 19 a good age to move out?
Many 19-year-olds are in college and move into on or off-campus housing. They must balance the freedoms of independence, meeting responsibilities of doing well in classes, and possibly even working.
If you’re partying too much to attend or pass classes or spending money on wants instead of needs, you have a little more growing up to do before moving out of the family home.
Ready to move out? Here’s your moving timeline and checklist.