In Defense Of The Boomerangs: What Millennials Need To Have In Place Before Leaving The Nest
Whether or not you are a millennial or have one at home, you are probably aware of the current trend of housing oversized occupants in the proverbial parents’ nest.
It has become such a common phenomenon that baby boomer’s children moving back in with their parents are endearingly referred to as "Boomerangs," notable for the obvious connection to the Australian Aborigines’ returning hunting weapon and a play on the previous generation’s nomenclature.
While advice abounds for how to "kick 'em out," the deeper-rooted issue is the cause for true concern. With education costs soaring, employment opportunities requiring higher education as a prerequisite for even the most meager entry-level jobs, and debts subsequently erupting, multi-generation homes seem to be one of the most humane options.
Vastly Different Opinions Swarm
Views toward the situation vary drastically. For every article that suggests, "Millennials should live with their parents as long as possible," there arises a converse voice shouting, "Grow up, Millennials! And stop taking money from Mom and Dad."
Despite these contrasting attitudes, the reason behind millennials moving back home is ubiquitous: financial instability.
While a recent survey from Coldwell Banker reveals that, "More than two in three (70%) Americans feel that too many children who are living at home with their parents are avoiding responsibility," the numbers show that the average cost of living equals or exceeds the average income for millennials when their level of debt it taken into account.
When To Move Out And Move On
Articles addressed with a millennial audience in mind may appear ignorant and naïve when the subjects of when and how to move out are addressed. Such articles gloss over the reality that the trend is not spurred by ignorance, laziness or shirking responsibilities, but necessity. While some offspring undoubtedly do take advantage of their parents' generosity, the majority of Boomerangs are back at home so that they can gain financial footing.
At some point, though, independence is the ideal. That point should be determined based on the reason for moving back in the first place, not the amount of time spent at home. Therefore, there is no set span of time it is "ok" to boomerang or host boomerangs. Rather, once the cause for returning has been resolved and financial security established, the cogs should all be gearing along and the Boomerangs whizzing back out into the world.
What Needs To Be In Place?
- Steady Income — without a stable job, it is implausible to expect Boomerangs to succeed on their own. Even overlooking erroneous expenses, basic living costs cannot be met without an income. It may sound like a no-brainer, but stable employment should be the first step that firmly establishes a move outward and onward. Simply nabbing that job and receiving an initial paycheck are not enough justification for moving out.
- Ability To Not Live Paycheck To Paycheck — closely linked to No. 1, in order to succeed independently, financial security should be sustainable. This can only be achieved through establishing a budget, sticking with the budget and building a foundation of long-sighted securities.
- Reliable Transportation — whether having a dependable car, being able to bike or walk everywhere in all seasons or establishing a solid plan for navigating public transportation, independence hinges strongly on transportation. Living alone requires contact with the outside world — even if that contact is just getting groceries and going to work. This contact requires some mode of year-long transportation.
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