Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Should I move out of home?

When I was setting my financial goals for 2013, I mentioned that I was not sure exactly what my living situation would be as I was considering moving out at the time.  I will be doing a mini-series of posts on the pros and cons of moving out of home, the various options available to you, how you can save money and also tracking my journey (and the mistakes I make).

This post will cover the most basic question - 'should I move out of home?'. Everyone will have different reasons for wanting to move out of the family home and strike out on their own. No reasons is right or wrong however your circumstances will determine whether you need to move out of home or whether it is a choice.

Common Reasons People Move out of Home (and what you need to be careful of)

Below are some common reasons people move out of home.  You may fall into one of these categories or you may fall into none of them.

  1. Your family situation requires it
    • Let's be realistic - not everyone has the best home situation and sometimes it is better for your own sanity and well being to move out of home
    • If this is the case you need to be careful that you are not acting in the moment or over-reacting to a perceived wrong.  
      • The danger in moving out for this reason is that you do not really consider whether you are able to move out of home
      • It is one thing to get out of a crap family situation and quite another to get into financial difficulties where you have no one to rely on
  2. You are moving out with a spouse, partner or significant other
    • This is one of the most common reasons for moving out - we have found 'the one' and want to start making our lives together and the natural step is to move in together
    • What you need to be careful of is that you're thinking clearly when you're making this decision
      • It's true when they say that love is blind - it is one thing to meet a person every second day and hang out all the time versus having to split who cleans the bathroom and who does the washing - is your relationship ready for this?
      • Have you been together for long enough to make an informed decision.  The amount of couples that I've seen who move in together after dating for ~6 months is staggering.  How many relationships have you had that have lasted longer than 6 months but less than 18 months (given you'll probably be signing a one year lease)
  3. It's 'time' to move out
    • Everyone has a different perception of what age this is but I think that all of us will look at people of a certain age (e.g. mid 30s) and if they have never lived on their own you wonder what sort of life skills do they have...and more to the point - why are they still mooching off their parents?
    • If you are in this boat you need to consider where the 'pressure' to move out is coming from
      • If it is coming from you parents the chances are that you are outstaying your welcome or where your parents think you should be in life.  Whilst you may disagree it is hard to argue with the fact that you have been mooching off them for your whole life and if they want you out - you're going to have to go at some point
      • If it is coming from yourself (inner pressure) then you need to think about why you are feeling the pressure to move out.  Sometimes there are good reasons to move out and sometimes it is a little superficial.
        • Is it that you have gotten tired of having members of the opposite sex react badly when you explain that you live at home on a date?
        • Do you want to party all the time?
        • Do you want to learn life skills?
  4. You are moving for work
    • This is probably the reason with the least 'risk' associated with it.  If you want the particular job that requires you to move - you have to move - there really isn't an option
    • However if you could stay at home and commute a longer distance to work then it becomes a time versus money trade off and is probably the easiest one to assess because there is so little involved emotionally
      • As a side note I was thinking about moving out several years ago when I started in Investment Banking for this reason.  I didn't because the time I saved travelling would have been taken up with chores and the cost would have been much higher
The decision is never purely financial

If it was a purely financial decision you would almost always choose to live at home.  The fact is that most parents cover their kids (including adult children) for most of the cost of having them at home.  In addition it is always cheaper sharing expenses rather than paying for individual items (assuming that you do contribute an equal share to the household living expenses)

However as outlined above the decision is almost never financial.  What you need to think about when deciding whether to move out of home is whether you have fully considered your motivations and factored in that you may be making bad or irrational decisions that you may later regret.

I decided to move out of home for reason 3 above - it was the right time.  I am in my late 20s, have never lived on my own (other than several stints travelling) and really needed to learn some life skills.  In addition I am newly single and even though I have the coolest parents on earth - bringing a girl home was never a comfortable experience.  Perhaps I made the decision for the wrong reasons but with the benefit of a some hindsight I'm not disappointed at all.  Maybe in a years time I will be writing a different post.

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