The Pacific Index

College graduates struggle to leave the nest

Shelby Cokeley

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“Mom, will you please remember to close the door when you leave my room?” are not exactly words one would expect to hear from an early twenties college graduate. Well, maybe they are. With the ever changing job market and increasing levels of student debt, sentences like this are becoming all too real for graduates.

The number of college graduates moving back in with their parents has increased significantly within the last few years. In 2014 the Pew Research Center found that just over 32 percent of people ranging from age 18 to 34 live with their parents, making it the most common living arrangement within the demographic. It is become statistically more common for millennials to move back in with their parents than to live alone or cohabitate with other people.

The biggest motivation for such a move by graduates is, of course, saving money. After accumulating sometimes significant student debt it is not surprising so many young adults take the opportunity to live rent free. From a financial perspective graduates who move home get the opportunity to start paying back loans and build up an legitimate funds with a goal of eventually becoming independent.

If given the option, who would not want to live virtually bill free? When laundry, home cooked meals and the living arrangement are included it seems pretty tempting. Although it’s also a major step backwards for graduates and their parents.

Depending financially on one’s parents, especially after obtaining a college degree, should not be a long term arrangement. It seems almost selfish for graduates to desire more financial help from the people who contributed to their achievement of a degree.

By returning to a lifestyle dependent on someone else’s comfort graduates only put strain on their parents’ pockets when they could be focusing on their own retirement. Beyond finances, graduates play a dangerous game of falling back into old habits when back home. Leaving a competitive environment like college for the comfort of a home town, or even childhood bedroom, can make the desire to build a career fizzle out.

The “make it or break it” pressure of the real world is necessary to push graduates, escaping the failure to launch trap. Yes, establishing financial security is important, just not at the cost of a graduate’s motivation or their parents’ checkbook.

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College graduates struggle to leave the nest