Adulting – Should You Move Out?

When you get out of your parents’ place, you’ll realise how much you can really, truly afford.

By Vera Soh

February 11 2019

I’m writing to you – the person who’s 25 and living in your parents’ place. You have a good job, you’ve saved some money, you’ve sorted out your insurance, maybe even started investing. You feel like you’re doing a bunch of things right! You dream of owning your own home one day and you have a quiet confidence that you will get there. You might not know how yet, but deep inside you know you can.

Your peers are still living with their parents and you’re always looking for personal growth. You dream of a life of full independence. You’re a believer of having an internal locus of control – that you have the power to shape who you are, what happens to you and the circumstances that you are in. When good things happen, it’s to your credit. When bad things happen, you evaluate, learn and you move forward a tad wiser.

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I spent two years contemplating the idea of moving out of my parents’ place and doing my research and due diligence… I finally stepped out of my parents’ place and here’s what tipped me over.

My last straw was over Christmas when I felt so sick of myself. I was growing at work but I felt like I’ve hit the glass ceiling at home. I was 26 and I still heavily dependent on my parents. I felt a strong need to grow emotionally, step out of my parents’ nest and understand the world better. I calculated what it will take for me to purchase my own home and I counted that the waiting time to get there was way too long. A part of me thought that paying rent is silly and another part of me wanted to develop as an individual. I was tired of being stagnant.

Lo and behold, I was lucky to find a place really quickly and I moved out within two weeks. My parents said that I can learn the same lessons at home but trust me, I never will, neither would you. Here’s what I’ve taken away from this experience:

1. The true value of a dollar 

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You live in your parents’ place, eat your parents’ food, watch their subscription TV, use their electricity, have their helper clean your room and toilet and you think you can actually afford all the #ootd, #cafehopping, #travel that you are paying for? When you get out of your parents’ place, you’ll realise how much you can really, truly afford. You’d think twice about the café hopping and you might realise that you’ve been travelling a tad too lavishly, and that your life as a child doesn’t come cheap and easy.

2. You also learn that money is not everything 

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I’ve always thought that owning your own property is the way to go and paying rent is stupid, especially when you have free housing provided for you (I still think it is…). But sometimes, when done right, parting with money opens doors to many great experiences. 

3. What it feels like to go home, starving, after a long, tiring day, look into the fridge and realise – there’s no food 

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You slowly figure out what to buy for your fridge and food cupboard, you learn what real grocery shopping is. It is no longer is buying snacks on a whim, or adding on to someone else’s groceries. You start thinking ahead of time for your purchases, and you decide what you need. You are fully responsible and accountable for your own decisions and their consequences, which will translate into your bigger decision making in the future.

4. You learn things about yourself that you never knew – some big, some small but they all build to your individuality 

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Did you know what your personality in your early twenties don’t co-relate with your personality in your sixties, but your personality in your late twenties co-relates with your personality in your sixties?

You stop doing things just because your parents insisted, and you start doing them because they spark joy (in Marie Kondo’s term). You learn what you love having in the fridge, how to organize your clothes in a way that you enjoy, if you fancy entertaining guests. You figure out if you agree with what your parents have always told you about making your bed in the morning, or if you have your own theory about it.

5. What sort of home you want to live in in the future

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I’m learning about the sorts of features I enjoy having in my home. Is it the carpet that makes coming home feel so good? Or the plants at every turn and corner? There’s no breeze that comes into this place – would that be something that you would want to look out for when I eventually buy your own place? There’s nowhere I can sun-dry my clothing – would that be an issue? There’s no common theme and vibes among the paintings on the wall – it doesn’t make sense but is it a big deal to you? Do you care if there’s no mirror in your bedroom? They sound small and silly, but I probably wouldn’t have thought about these should I have lived in my parents’ home until I was ready to buy my own place.

To the mid to late twenty-somethings who are living in your parents’ homes… If you feel like you’ve hit a glass ceiling to your own personal growth, start making a plan. You don’t need to pack and go immediately, maybe not even this year. It could be a little seed that you plant today that might flourish tomorrow. Give your parents time, drop little hints and see how they react. Express yourself from a place of love and assure them that you’re definitely not abandoning them, and that you will be there when they need you.

If you’re still building up your savings, calculate how much money you’re spending now and if you’re able to afford rent, yet still save and invest. If you can’t, great! You have a new goal to work towards – how to increase your earning power? Is it possible to spend less? Over my two years of contemplating and researching, a friend told me, “you need money to be an adult”. For now, I’m very happy parting ways with my money. Cheers!