A Look into the Bedrooms of 20-Somethings Still Living with Their Parents
Lack of rent and responsibility never looked better.
Trevor, 23. All photos by the author unless otherwise noted
It's no secret that more and more of us today are choosing to live at home with our parents well into our 20s.
With tuition fees steadily rising to WTF rates, monthly rent requiring Walter White salaries in the big cities where the jobs and fun are, and homeownership becoming a hopeless fantasy, staying at home just makes financial sense.
Clearly, a lot of millennials have the same idea. According to a recent Statistics Canada report, 42 percent of all people between 20 and 29 still lived at home in 2011, compared to 27 percent of young adults thirty years prior.
Another recent report says that these millennials who stay at home are making less money and commuting more than young adults who have moved out, and are unemployed or underemployed. They are also more likely to be men, immigrants, or children of immigrants.
Whatever the reason, it's not as taboo as it used to be to stay home in your 20s, and no one is really making fun of anyone for doing it (well, except this guy, who deserves it)—including our parents.
So, we decided to see how these cozy-nested millennials are living. We went into their bedrooms, to be specific, and asked how they feel about still living under Mom and Dad's roof.
VICE: What are the benefits of still living at home?
Trevor: Well, rent, and lack thereof. [My house] is not too far out of the city and it's on the subway line, so it's only about an hour downtown in rush hour. So it's not that bad. I get my meals. I get random things paid for, like toothpaste. Oh and I can use the cars when they're available.
What do you do?
Right now I'm working at a startup, so it's just volunteering right now. The ceremony for my university graduation was last Friday.
What's the worst part about living with your parents?
I say it's not that far out of the city, but it is still kind of far out of the city. I can drive down but then you have to pay for parking, and sometimes traffic is awful. And you know, privacy. I have the basement pretty much to myself, but my mom is a stay-at-home-mom, and my dad works from home too, so there's always people here. Sometimes it's OK, but sometimes you just want to be alone.
Are your parents pressuring you to move out?
No, I don't think they really care. They tell me, everyone tells me, to stay at home as long as I can because it's cheaper and I can save money to put a down payment on a house. Yeah, that's all true, and I'm a business student so I know how all of that stuff works, but at the same time, quality of life is a huge factor. If I get [a full-time job], I'll save up for probably a year and then move out. It's not too bad here though.
VICE: What do your parents think about you still living at home?
Sinead: I think they would prefer me to stay as long as they're here and there's a room for me. The only thing they would encourage me to do is when I start to make more money than I do now, then they'd expect me to help pay around the house. But other than that, they don't have a problem with me staying here.
What do you like about it?
You save money. I guess that's the biggest benefit. Also it's just kind of what I'm used to, like, it's within my comfort zone. I'm used to everything around here and I don't really have to worry about things like paying a mortgage, or buying my own groceries.
Are you expected to spend a lot of quality family time?
I'm not really expected to, but I'm always asked. Nothing bad happens if I have plans; they understand. I'm more expected to help around the house though.
What happens when you come home drunk?
It's never been a problem when I've come home really late or drunk. But maybe that's because I don't do it too often. My parents usually just joke about it.
Have you always lived at home?
Brandon: Well, I moved out for university. My parents actually bought a house in Guelph, Ontario, near my university, and me and my best friend lived there for three years. Then I moved back home a year ago. Now I work full time, 40 hours a week.
What are the pros of being at home?
The number one pro is the amount of money you save. You don't have to pay for rent and have enough money for food. And then that also in turn helps me save for when I buy a house later on. I would definitely say that being at home you get to spend time with your family, which you don't get to do generally. And there's less responsibility. Sadly, my mom still helps me do my laundry. I'm not going to complain because it does take a lot of stress away from me to do things like that. But at the same time, that drawback is that there's less independence.
Lack of privacy. One thing that really annoys me, which really shouldn't, is when my parents ask, 'So you're not doing anything today?' As if they're assuming you have to be doing something all the time. And in this day and age, when you're trying to generate content on your computer, parents just assume you're not doing anything.
Do you know if your parents were still at home when they were your age?
My parents got engaged when they were 21 and moved out on their own when they were 24. So that would have been me next year. Uh, realistically, I don't see that happening.
VICE: Do you like living at home?
Shanella: It's OK but it's not the greatest. It's kind of difficult because your high school friends have all moved away and you [only see] whoever's still here. And with my university being such a big school, I don't really know many people from my area, so I pretty much just go off to where they live or we meet up downtown. It's definitely different. But when everyone comes back home for Christmas or the summer, it's great to hang out with friends.
Do your parents want you to move out?
No, not really. It's kind of Sri Lankan custom that you only really move out if you have a job that's out of town, or one that you can't commute to, or if you get married.
So do you see yourself moving out anytime soon?
Not soon. Right now I'm unsure of what I want to do, so me going and living out on my own, that [would lead to] financial debt. I just want to be 100 percent sure before I actually move out. I mean, right now I'm content at home, but I know in the future I'm going to move.
VICE: Living at home, what kind of responsibilities do you have?
Meg: I don't have any, but I help out anyways. I clean the house, I'll cook food, all that kind of stuff.
What's are some of the drawbacks of being at home?
Your parents are always there. I love my parents, don't get me wrong, but I'm almost 24 and I have a life. It's not great because your parents are just like, 'Where are you going? What are you doing? Who are you bringing home?' Like, guys, chill. I need a life.
So do you bring people over?
I have a boyfriend, but my parents are cool with [him coming over]. Otherwise, I don't really have a social life at home. It's not like I will bring friends over, because my parents work really long hours, so I try not to bring my social life home. I try not to interfere with their quiet time.
Are they pressuring you to leave the nest?
No not at all. My parents definitely want me to stay here for as long as possible. I am pretty close with my parents, but I'm itching to leave.
Have you ever tried to move out?
I did when I was 19, sort of like a rebellious thing, but I never would have been able to do it... I do have friends who have moved out and it's not the greatest situation, like they're funding it with [student loans]. And I don't want to be in debt.
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