More adult children are moving back home. 10 readers share why.
"I did not think this is how my life was going to be!"
Higher cost of living, ballooning student loan debt, and unstable housing markets have all led to an increase in the number of adult children returning home to live with their parents, according to a new study by PropertyManagement.com. One in four millennials currently live with their parents and most of those people made their return just in the last year.
We asked Boston.com readers to share their experiences returning home or being the parent who had to reopen their home to their millennial children. Family members now living in multi-generational homes wrote in to share the good and the bad of their new living arrangements.
Aly from the North Shore told Boston.com that she doesn’t have the option to move in with her parent, but said the cost of living is so high that she would take the opportunity if she could.
“I’m 40 and will be relocating from the North Shore to the South Shore for a new job. I wish I could live with my mother to save money, but her housing situation wouldn’t work out for that. All I want is a one-bedroom apartment with laundry and that is going to be 50% of my income. I am a single income and do not have generational wealth,” she said. “I did not think this is how my life was going to be!”
Her situation is similar to millions of Americans of her generation, who can no longer afford to aspire to homeownership. Even renting is becoming increasingly unaffordable in much of the country. Boston is now the second most expensive city to rent in the country, according to a report by Zumper.
For most of the readers who responded to our survey, the return home has come with some growing pains even if it makes the most financial sense. Below you’ll find a sampling of responses from adult children and their parents about what it’s like to return to the nest.
Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.
“It’s the most cost-effective space to be in.”
“Rent is too expensive for any kind of full-time entry-level job. Food, rent, utilities, vet care, healthcare…it’s so much. Life costs so much!” — Grace, Raleigh
“I entered college late after a working gap year and graduated directly into the pandemic. Saddled with the cost of my student loans (and their as-of-yet unsettled future), the lack of job prospects, and the unstable housing market, I just continued to live at home as I had been doing when the pandemic kicked off in March ’20, and sent us all home from college. I currently have a well-paying and stable job, but the loan situation and unstable housing market continue to worry me.
“Will my loans be canceled? Will they come due, saddling me with an immediate $20K+ burden? Will the housing market around here become more affordable? Will I have to buy a car and commute a great distance just to afford to house somewhere further afield? Will I have to leave my job in search of housing, or vice versa? All of these questions are currently up in the air, mostly due to lingering effects of the pandemic, government gridlock, or both. Until I have solid answers and plans, at this point it’s the most cost-effective space to be in — even if that means butting heads with my parents occasionally.” — Liam, Lexington
“We own a house abroad that we thought we’d have to sell in order to buy a house in Boston. We realized we could move in with my mom to save money to buy more quickly here. With the steep cost of rent, it would’ve taken us years to save for a deposit otherwise. We hope we’re living with her for less than 18 months.” — Katie, Hingham
“I rented apartments in Boston for six years before moving back in with my parents during the pandemic. My parents live out-of-state and I have been working remotely since leaving town. My goal is to save money so that I may eventually afford to buy my own place someday. It has been very helpful to avoid paying Boston rent prices, especially as a single person.” — Bud
“I sold my condo earlier this year and moved in temporarily with my mother until I could find another condo since this market doesn’t allow for contingencies like selling your own home.” — Anonymous
“My landlord raised our rent to $3,200 a month (up from $2,700) and cited inflation and an increase in the real estate tax as the reason. I don’t believe him. Either way, we are hoping we can save money for a down payment and eventually get a loan with a lower interest rate than what they are now” — Grant S., South Boston
“Parents should do anything necessary for their kids…but it’s been really hard.”
“Daughter is a single parent. Even though she’s making over $60,000 a year, rent plus childcare leaves her broke. The father does not contribute. Grandmas are happy to have them here with us.” — Kit K., Edina, Minn.
“My son, his wife, and their two kids moved in with me a year ago. They both work and between incredibly high rents for a two-bedroom place and astronomical daycare costs, they were struggling. The kids are very young which means I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in a year, and both parents are incredibly sloppy. My recently redone kitchen has been trashed, furniture has been ruined, things have been broken — and the cost of my utilities has tripled. I don’t bring dates to the house because it’s always in such a shambles, and I don’t have the energy to keep after them. They’ve had difficulty contributing even the small amount of rent I charge them to help pay bills. I was raised knowing that parents should do anything necessary for their kids…but it’s been really hard. I was going to retire next summer, but seriously doubt I’ll be able to. Going into work every day is actually a welcome relief.” — Anonymous, Wakefield
“My son has tried really hard in life but sadly he was stunted when I divorced his father. He never left home. It seemed like he was getting some solid footing but in quick succession, he lost his job at Petco, I remarried, and we moved in with my husband and HIS millennial son living at home. This has been a major setback.” — Nancy, Weston
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