By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Even if you immediately land your dream job after graduation, moving back to Mom and Dad’s might still be in your future.
If you do, you’re not alone.
A survey from TD Ameritrade indicates that about half of young college graduates move back home after they get their diploma. The overwhelming reason is student loan debt.
If you plan to live with your parents, follow these steps to improve your changes of maintaining a good relationship with them.
• Communicate what you expect. Do you want to pick up where you left off as a teenager or will you take on more responsibilities?
• Listen to what your parents expect. What about your guests? Where can you park? Will you stay in your old room again?
• Offer to pay some rent and a portion of the household utilities and groceries. Your parents may appreciate the help or say you don’t need to; however, making the gesture is important.
• Volunteer to help out. You’ll likely experience less friction with your parents if you take over certain jobs than if you try to help alongside them. For instance, take over making dinner three nights a week rather than acting as a sous chef while your parents cook. Tackle a few extra chores like cleaning out the garage or weeding the flowerbeds without being asked.
• Act more responsibly. Assuming a portion of the household chores, replenishing groceries as you use them, doing your own laundry, paying some rent and behaving courteously helps expresses your newfound maturity — and helps your parents realize you’re not a teenager anymore.
• Balance your time with them. If you weren’t able to visit much while you were in school, your parents may enjoy some extra time with you for a while. But make sure you give them space for their pursuits.
• Revisit house rules. Should you let your parents know if you won’t be home? Do your parents go to bed early and anticipate a quiet household? Should you let them know if you want to have friends over?
• Give them an idea of how long you’ll stay. This can be tricky. Your parents may say you’re welcome as long as you need to stay and really mean it or they could say this because of mixed feelings about you living in their house. Regardless of their intentions, offer a timeline of how long you’ll need their help based upon how long you think it will take to get a job and save up enough to have a security deposit, a month’s rent and enough money to pay for a couple month’s bills. At that point, you should be stable enough to live elsewhere.
• Don’t worry about staying. If it’s mutually beneficial to live with your parents, carry on indefinitely. There’s no rule that says you have to live elsewhere if everyone’s happy.