They are called “the boomerang generation”—young adults who left home and tried to live on their own but who fell on hard times and had to return home. Has that happened to you?
Even if you love your dad and mom, moving back home can be difficult. For example, a young woman named Sarah* says: “Living on my own boosted my self-confidence because I didn’t have to rely on others. But returning home made me feel like a child again.” A young man named Richard felt similarly. “I didn’t want to go back home,” he says, “but I couldn’t support myself. I felt like a failure.”
If you are in a similar situation, this article can help you get back on your feet.
WHY IT HAPPENS
Money issues. Many young people face a rude awakening when they first encounter the high cost of living. “Any savings I had were drained trying to support myself,” says Richard, quoted earlier. It was similar with Shaina, a young woman who left home at 24 and returned a year and a half later. “I could have handled my finances better,” she admits. “I left home with no money, and I returned home in debt.”*
Employment problems. Loss of a job can upset even the most careful plans for independent living—something that Shaina discovered. “I graduated from a program in the medical field, and I joined an agency that helped me find work,” she says. “But when I lost the job, I was stuck. I had been living in a rural area with no further job prospects in my field!”
Unrealistic expectations. Some young adults enter the workforce unprepared for what it takes to make a living. Their work is often more difficult than they had expected. To their dismay, they discover that their much anticipated independence has lost its glamour. They certainly had not expected adulthood to be so challenging.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Talk to your parents about your moving back home. Discuss issues such as these: How long will you need to live at home? While you are there, how will you contribute toward household expenses? What household chores can you take care of? What steps will you take to regain your financial independence? Regardless of your age, remember that you are back under your parents’ roof and must abide by their rules.—Bible principle: Exodus 20:12.
Learn to manage your money. The book The Complete Guide to Personal Finance: For Teenagers and College Students says: “The way you spend your money has a lot to do with whether or not you can be successful with personal financial management. . . . The basic fundamental concept of not spending your money on things you don’t need is a vital concept to grasp.”—Bible principle: Luke 14:28.
Get sound advice. Parents or other adults can help you acquire practical skills with banking, budgeting, and bill paying. “I had to go back to basics,” says a young woman named Marie. “A friend helped me to list necessary and unnecessary expenses. I couldn’t believe it—most of my expenses were completely unnecessary! I also learned how to cultivate an essential quality for independent living—self-discipline.”—Bible principle: Proverbs 13:10.
More important than what you do is becoming proficient at what you do
Take steps to find employment. Use the time you would have been working to apply for jobs. A caution: Some people would tell you to “follow your dreams” when it comes to a career. But looking for your ‘dream career’ likely will narrow your options for work and blind you to employment opportunities that are right in front of you! Rather than waste time focusing on a particular type of work, keep your options open. Remember, more important than what you do is becoming proficient at what you do. In fact, it has been observed that the more experience and skill workers acquire, the more they enjoy their work. You don’t have to do what you love in order to love what you do!
Names in this article have been changed.
College students in the United States often face a similar predicament. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, a student with a loan graduates with, on average, a $33,000 debt.