These days, living at home as a young adult is a common practice. Many 20-somethings graduate college loaded with student debt, and find it difficult to juggle those loan payments with the expenses of living independently. So, they move in with their parents until they're able to get on their feet.
At some point, though, that arrangement can start to get old. But you don't want to rush to move out if you're not financially ready. If you're living at home but are thinking of getting your own place, be sure to answer these important questions before moving forward.
1. Do I have a steady job?
Without a steady income, you might really struggle to pay the bills once you're responsible for things like rent and utilities. Before you move out of your parents' home, assess your job situation. Are you a permanent employee with a regular paycheck? Or do your earnings come in the form of scraped-together freelance gigs? If it's the latter, you may want to wait until you have a steadier flow of income.
2. Do I have a solid emergency fund?
You need emergency savings at every stage of life, but especially if you're going to move out and take on new expenses on your own. If you don't have much in the way of savings, it pays to hold off on that move until you're able to build a solid emergency fund. Ideally, that account should be enough to cover at least three months of essential living expenses. Now if you're currently living at home, your living costs probably aren't all that high, so what you'll need to do is estimate your expenses upon moving out and make sure you have enough cash in the bank to pay for three months of them.
3. Do I have unhealthy debt?
Carrying credit card debt could make moving out of your parents' home difficult for a couple of reasons. First, if your balance is high, it could bring down your credit score, thereby making it difficult to get approved for a lease. Furthermore, if your monthly debt payments eat up a large chunk of your income, you might struggle to keep up with another large expense like rent. Therefore, it could make sense to delay that move and chip away at your balance first.
4. Do I have the money to furnish a new place?
If you live with your parents, it probably means that you don't have much in the way of furniture, in which case you likely don't have to budget too much for an actual move. (Chances are, you can ask a few friends with vehicles to help move some boxes, buy them a pizza after the fact, and call it a day.) What you will need to do, however, is buy things like a bed, table, couch, and so forth for your new living space. And that could get expensive. Make sure you can swing all of that before you move out, keeping in mind that the money you set aside for emergencies should not be used to buy furniture. Rather, you'll need to save separately for that.
There comes a point when you can only live with your parents as an adult for so long. If you've hit that wall, there's nothing wrong with planning your escape. Just make sure you're financially ready before taking that leap.