Living At Home After College? Why Not Live Abroad?
Millennials are nicknamed the ‘Boomerang Generation’. We left for college but four years later we’re back living at home with mom and dad. 32% of Millennials live in the home they grew up in and just 14% live alone or with a roommate. For the first time in history this is the most common living arrangement for Americans 18-34 year olds.
One fifth of American homeowners between the ages of 55 and 64 have adult children living at home. 56% of parents of 26 – 29 year olds still provide financial support to their children.
Adult children living at home explain their return in a variety of ways…
“I want to be closer to family.”
“My mom’s cooking is better than mine.”
“I have more time when I don’t need to clean up or do my laundry.”
The truth is more straightforward. Millennials are moving home because they are broke. If you can’t pay rent and don’t have the credit to get a mortgage, it's your only option.
Millennials are moving back in with parents because they need to cut expenses. It’s hard to find an affordable place to live. They need a job. College graduates living with parents are paying off student loans. Others are saving an ‘emergency fund’ so they can eventually be independent.
Adult children living at home sacrifice their independence. Out of habit, mom and dad are still nagging ‘Clean your room’ and asking that you call if you’re going to be out later than midnight.
It’s more challenging to date and have romantic relationships when you’re living at home after college with your parents. To be polite, you won’t throw as many parties. Your city friends may live far away from your parent’s home.
Independence is important and it’s difficult to become your own adult when you live with two parents who remember treating you like a child.
Moving back in with parents is no fun. Fortunately, most graduates have a better option.
Move Abroad Instead
Why not spend a year or two traveling? If you enjoyed travel during your high school summer vacations, you'll probably love it! It's not impossible. In fact, it's relatively easy. It's also a lot of fun.
I left school, bought a one-way ticket to Bangkok and never looked back. I traveled all over Asia and I’m currently winding south through Central America towards Tierra Del Fuego.
Here are a few reasons why you should consider a one-way flight to Bangkok, Prague, or Medellin instead of a one-way bus ticket back home.
1. Expenses Are Low
Let’s face it. The main reason you’re moving back in with parents is to save money. You can’t afford to pay for rent, food, and laundry detergent on your own. You’re broke, and therefore you’re open to living at home after college.
Even when you’re at home you’ll still have some expenses like going out to eat with friends, Friday night drinks and gasoline. Maybe your parents charge you a little rent. Perhaps you spend $300 - $500 per month for these ‘extras’.
You can live very comfortably for $300 - $500 per month in many parts of the world. I lived on about $300 per month in Thailand when I was keeping expenses low. If you have freelance work that pays you $100/hour (very easy to find, ask me if you’re interested) you can pay your expenses in 3-5 hours of work each month. With low, low, low expenses it’s much easier to start paying down college loans!
2. You Get Your Independence NOW
Mom and dad won’t nag you any more. You can come home whenever you want without texting your parents every 30 minutes. Your landlord will probably clean your apartment for you but he won’t treat you like a child. Unlike most young adults living at home, you will control your time and can spend it however, and with whomever, you want.
You’re also responsible for paying your own rent, buying your own food, and paying your own taxes, but it’s like ‘Level 0’ of a video game. It’s hard to lose because you're fine as long as you earn $10 per day. $100 solves most ‘worst case’ situations. I went to the hospital a few times in Asia (Snake bites, scrapes with tropical coral, etc.) and the bill was never more than $60, even without insurance!
In contrast, many students return home to build an ‘emergency fund’ so that they can eventually try their hand at independence. Why not become independent today?
3. This Is Your Chance To Travel
It’s not easy to travel in your 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Once you get the spouse and kids (perhaps some boomerang children of your own) you can’t fly across the Pacific on a whim because you want to “See the world!” That would be irresponsible. On average, millennials are getting married at 27 – 29 anyway, so now’s your chance!
Many cultures praise the idea of an extended ‘walkabout’ when you’re young. It’s your chance to explore and get to know the planet. Especially as globalization brings us closer together, don't you want to get to know your neighbors?
One of the biggest regrets of the elderly is that they didn’t travel enough. They settled down early and now wish they had seen more of the world. In contrast, taking a year or two, or three to trek around the globe will ensure you have endless stories to tell the grandkids.
4. Travel Doesn’t Need To Set Your Career Back
How do graduates with college degrees look for work when they’re living at home after college? They’re usually making connections on LinkedIn and sending resumes to potential employers via email. You can visit LinkedIn and send email from anywhere in the world.
You can talk with potential employers when you’re in Asia, South America, Europe, or even Africa. When the 157th company you email says they’re interested, you can talk with them on Skype (typical for most out-of-town positions) and fly back to the USA if it really looks like a fit.
There are even ‘location independent’ jobs you can do from your computer! These are great because you get paid in US Dollars and live locally on pennies. With 80% of your paycheck left over each month you can pay down college debt very quickly.
You can even start a profitable ‘location independent’ company while you’re traveling. With the job market feeling thinner than ever, creating a business is a real option for young people with or without a college degree! (Message me if you'd like to learn more)
5. You Give Your Parents Their Independence
Your parents aren’t ATMs with infinite cash, even if it feels that way. They’re saving for retirement and they have their own dreams for the future. You don’t want to put financial pressure on your parents if you don’t need to.
Your return home after college is very expensive for your parents in terms of money and time. If you want to throw parties it can also be annoying! Maybe your parents were looking forward to a little quiet time to themselves.
Your parents want you to be an independent adult who can stand on his or her own two feet. They hoped you’d be financially stable after college but they’re willing to help you because they love you. You love them too so think of their needs as well when deciding if you’re going to move home after graduation.
If you think traveling abroad is more exciting than moving home, here are a few things to do right now.
Brainstorm Where You Want To Go – If you’ve got loans or are trying to keep expenses down the best options are Asia, Central and South America and Eastern Europe. Western Europe costs more, Africa is best left for experienced travelers, and I wouldn't recommend the Middle East.
Figure Out Your Costs – Use a site like Numbeo to estimate costs. You’ll have fun seeing how cheap your ‘dream trip’ is.
Find Out How To Make ‘Location Independent’ Income – You can start freelancing and making money online immediately. I made $600 my first week working online. I spent 11 unpaid hours on a Friday writing job applications and had $90/hr work that Monday.
Contact Nico Jannasch – This should be step number one. I'll convince you to go. 😉 Send me a message here.
In Five Years…
Will be happier looking back on time spent living at home with mom and dad or the adventure you had in Asia, South America and beyond?
You’ll know how to live on your own. You’ll be building a unique career or business. You’ll have friends from all around the world, you may speak a second or third language, and you’ll escape that ‘Oblivious American’ stereotype!
Your parents will have their independence and they’ll be glad to see you have yours.
Is traveling abroad instead of living at home after college right for you? I hope this article helps you make the right decision.
Please contact me if you have any questions.