Live at Home and Learn Some Financial Skills With the 'Rents
Filed under: Family Finances
Apart from the fact that his parents saved to pay for his education, most of the commenters jumped on the fact that Woo lived with his family for most of his 20s instead of moving out, "taking on the responsibilities of adulthood" and not "freeloading" off his parents.
Other commenters said that it is possible to learn the necessary financial life skills despite living at home. They also pointed out (as did the Globe and Mail's Rob Carrick) that young people do have it harder today than their parents. They graduate with debt, they aren't getting the high paying jobs like their parents did and they are priced out of the housing market. So what's a 20 or 30-something to do?
A confession - I also lived at home for all of my 20s, except for a stint teaching English in Japan. This was after finishing my degrees (two, mostly paid via student loans and a part time job.) I didn't live there for free and I discovered there are ways to contribute to the household and learn some financial lessons.
Offer Up Some Cash
Your parents may not take it but make the offer if you can. My parents made a rule that once I was earning money I was to contribute a certain amount every month. This amount increased as my earning potential increased. Celia Hammond had a similar set up when she was living with her parents. She says, " I used to for those few year after high school but before I started university. The rule was, if you weren't in school then you worked and paid rent. I think it was $300 a month at the time."
Barter Your Time or Youth and Energy
We've all read those articles where parents complain that their adult children just lounge around the house doing nothing like a king among subjects. Don't be that person. Even if you're not working, there are things you can do while you're either in school or looking for work. They include doing set chores - making your bed doesn't really count - like mowing the lawn or shovelling snow or washing the car.
Liv Uhrig arranged a deal with her father that involves her working for him. "It's a bit different in my house as I'm employed by my dad and I house sit for two to three weeks every month and buy my own things while I'm on my own." She does say that her father does buy food when he's around and helps with car repairs and trips to the vet for the dogs.
Pay for What You Use
If you have a phone or have a car in your name, then try to pay for it on your own. If you are sharing the family car and your name is on the insurance, then contribute to the cost. My parents included my share of the car insurance as I was listed as an occasional driver on both cars. I also had my own phone so that was covered by me. This also applies to entertainment, clothing and anything used only by you.
If You Can't Afford It, Don't Get It
This sounds pretty simple - if you can't pay for it, don't get it. It's a little hard to justify something shiny and new when you're un- or underemployed and not contributing to the household.
Pay On Time
I admit, I wasn't very good at this when I starting paying my parents rent. Eventually I got better at it and soon I was paying them right on time. I, and they, treated it as a business transaction. If I was short one month, thanks to my financial irresponsibility, then the extra money was added to next month's rent. That taught me to pay up, pay on time and pay the full amount.
So is there a need to move out of your parents' home as soon as you turn 18? Not always. It's how you and your family deal with it that counts.