(Parents') home, sweet home

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

September 19, 2007 Ed Cartoon

For young adults, the transition from dependence to full adulthood is more delayed than ever before.

According to a study published in Canadian Social Trends, a 25-year-old in 2001 had gone through the same life transitions as a 22-year old in 1971. Also, in 2001, half of all 21-year-olds were still in school, while 75 per cent of people that age had left school in ’71.

This study raises interesting questions about the nature of slow development into adulthood nowadays. From a financial perspective, it is much wiser for today’s youth to live at home for a period after their formal education.

For the white-collar positions that most people covet, employers are requiring a higher level of education than ever before. It can be argued that an undergraduate degree now is the equivalent of what a high school diploma was decades ago " essentially, the bare minimum for many jobs. Although there is plenty of money to be made in skilled trades, there seems to be a notion among parents and children they don’t want to get dirt under their fingernails.

As a result, people are delaying their earning potential and consequently it makes sense for young people to save money by living at home.

There are enticing reasons to move back home aside from the savings. Many students are used to living a more comfortable existence at home with their parents than they would be on their own.

However, students need to understand they will not be completely satiated right away in the real world. The concept of paying your dues and working your way up the ladder in a career is still a crucial aspect of working life.

There could be concerns about today’s twenty-somethings not gaining the independence they need to thrive in the working world. However, the truth is most younger adults are reasonably dependent on their folks regardless of living status; most youth fresh out of school are consulting their parents about fixing things around the home, paying bills or anything else that crops up.

In the era of instant gratification, there is pressure for grads to immediately pursue a career following school. Perhaps a healthier model for enjoying life would be taking time following school to slow the pace of life somewhat and get on track with prioritizing and goal-setting.

So long as college or university grads are not feeling entitled to move back home, there is nothing inherently wrong with a grad making a smart financial decision and a parent wanting to look after their child’s welfare.

Ultimately, individuals with goals and ambition will eventually leave their parents’ home and make a name for themselves professionally and start their own family.

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