affordable housing illustration

(Illustration by Ia Balbuena-Nedrow/Emerald)

Opinion: Moving back home doesn’t have to be such a negative stereotype. Focusing on building your career while not having to worry about rent and other expenses should be the priority.

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I’ll admit it; I am a shameless “Grey’s Anatomy” watcher. Even though I firmly believe that the show should have ended in its prime at the end of season 16, I can’t stop myself from sitting down and watching the new weekly episodes. Maybe it’s because I can relate to the wide array of characters. 

Take Levi Schmitt, for example. Before moving in with his fellow surgical resident, Taryn Helm, Schmitt lived in his mother’s basement. While Schmitt lived in his mother’s basement throughout the large majority of his life, I too currently reside in my father’s basement. It’s only a temporary stay for summer break, but after I graduate next year, I have set plans to move back to the basement once more.

Living with your parents beyond the age of 18 doesn’t mean that you don’t have your life figured out or that you’re going to become allergic to sunshine. In fact, it may be the smartest option both professionally and financially.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, of the 563,000 bachelor’s graduates in 2020, only 50.2% had traditional full-time jobs within six months of graduation. Further, another study by Intelligent reported that only 46% of graduates reported working in their field of study, with 29% working in a different field and 16% unemployed.

Even though the job market is near its all-time high, with 11.4 million openings at the end of April, there is no guarantee that your degree in business or biology will translate to the job of your dreams right away. It’s okay to continue working the job you had throughout college or find an opening elsewhere, simply to continue paying the bills. Don’t compare yourself to your classmates who have internships or entry-level jobs in their field of study if you work in retail or food service for a period of time.

Additionally, living with your parents takes some of the other financial responsibilities off your plate. You may have to pay some form of rent to your parents, but even if you do, it will be substantially less than living on your own and paying for rent, utilities, groceries, gas and your accrued debt.

Looking at the class of 2020, 55% of graduates took out student loans, graduating with an average of $31,100, according to Education Data. Making monthly payments on loans isn’t horrible, but combined with an unaffordable housing market, people are left to choose between paying rent and gathering interest.

In April, the rent of a single-family apartment rose from last year by 13.2% to $2,018, and the rent of multifamily apartments rose by 14.3% to $1,659 according to Yardi Matrix. Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi adds that the “higher [mortgage] rates will conflate with extraordinarily high house prices and make purchasing a home unaffordable for most Americans” due to monthly mortgage payments rising $500 from last year.

Housing is a basic necessity that is becoming more and more unaffordable. This rising cost of living may explain why nearly one-third of Americans aged 25 to 29 are living in multigenerational households, largely with their parents, as reported by Pew Research Center.

 

You may choose to only live with your parents for a single year or the next five years, but lean on the people around you to support your future endeavors. The world is expensive and can be difficult to navigate, so remove the pressure to live on your own and be successful right out of college.

Caitlin Tapia is an opinion columnist for the Daily Emerald. She is a second-year student from Colorado majoring in journalism and political science. She is most passionate about social justice and politics but loves to debate about anything.