JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Generation stuck at home

Date

Annabel Ross

Party of three ... like many young adults Annabel Ross is still dependent on her parents.

Party of three ... like many young adults Annabel Ross is still dependent on her parents.

I'm 28 and still living at home. I'm not proud of this. Actually, I'm pretty embarrassed about it.

I'm not alone. According to a recent study conducted in the UK, a record number of 20 to 34-year-olds are still living at home – a 20 per cent increase on the figure recorded in 1997. It's the same story here in Australia, with a quarter of 20 to 34-year-olds in Sydney and Melbourne still living in the parental home.

The statistics don't make me feel much better about it. When people ask me where I'm living, I cringe, answer truthfully and always hasten to add, "But not for much longer." It's true – I'll be gone within six months, at most.

As for why I'm still there now ... it's complicated.

I have lived out of home for two years before, while studying and working overseas, so it's not like I don't know how to do it. Upon my return, I went back to uni full-time, and the following three years were about trying to establish my career, unsure of whether or not I'd have to go abroad again to chase my dream.

Living at home enabled me to save money, and I was planning to buy a place of my own until a new position at work meant that my employment status switched from full-time to casual. I'm not ready to be burdened with a mortgage until I've proven -- both to myself and to the bank -- that I'll be able to make the repayments, every month.

The logical alternative, of course, is to rent, and that's exactly what my boyfriend and I are about to do together. It's a long-overdue move for both of us, will be cheaper than paying a mortgage and far less frightening than committing to one.

I've had a good run living at home, particularly in the past few months. My older and younger sisters both flew the nest at the start of the year and I've finally been able to live out the single-child fantasy that I often entertained while growing up. I get along with my parents and it's been nice to have other people in the house while I've been working from home (both are retired). Plus, they travel a bit, so I sometimes get the place to myself.

I have another embarrassing admission. I've never paid rent. Actually, Dad cajoled me into it for a brief period, but in behaviour shamefully reminiscent of Lena Dunham's character, Hannah, on HBO's latest it-show, Girls, I eventually refused again, citing low income and arguing that the joy I bring them on a daily basis should be payment enough.

It's true; they do love having me there, and I know that a part of them doesn't want me to leave. But I also know that it's time. As much as I love my parents, they can drive me insane. We don't call Mum "Mother Hen" for nothing – her fussing ("pecking") is as endearing as it is exasperating. I can come and go as I please, but not without enduring the Spanish Inquisition. I appreciate my parents taking an interest in my life, but sometimes I just can't be bothered telling them the minutiae of my day. Oh, and I never get to watch what I want on Foxtel either. I know better than to complain about it.

Obviously, it's a far from ideal situation when you're in a relationship (though arguably easier than when you're single and playing the field). Tragically, my boyfriend also lives at home with his three brothers, parents, and Nonna, so we take turns playing sleepover, and I feel increasingly sheepish explaining this rather regressive arrangement to my friends.

More than once my poor father has sat, cigar in mouth on our front porch and told me that he hopes he hasn't been doing me a disservice. He worries that when I do finally leave, I won't know how to be financially independent.

He needn't be concerned. I paid my own way for two years while living overseas; I can do it again. I'm conservative with my spending, with most of what I've earned going towards my house deposit. I work hard, know the value of a dollar and will never live beyond my means.

I'm looking forward to moving out and becoming fully independent – financially and domestically. I might have skimped out on rent for the past few years, but if my living at home was ever causing my parents any sort of financial strain, I wouldn't have done it. Besides, guilt has gotten the better of me and I plan to reward them for their generosity. As soon as I'm able, I'll be sending them on a nice long holiday, to the value of the rent I didn't pay for all those years.

 

464 comments

  • My parents come from a country where staying at home is a normal thing for children to do. No it is not a country where there is as many i pads, i pods and i phones as Australia but nor is it a third world country. It is a place where there is far less youth suicide, homelessness, broken marriages, alcohol abuse, domestic violence and gambling addiction than Australia,. And it is not embarassing but a source of strength and solace to be still at home with your parents at 28 IF that's the way things work out. Far less social problems than Australia. Coincidence? I dont think so.

    Commenter
    w ch
    Date and time
    June 11, 2012, 5:44PM
    • Where is this nirvana where nobody leaves home? The housing market must be pretty stagnant.

      Anyway in my view succesful parenting is about enabling your children to be independant adults ie: leave home like you did and pay your own way. Be an adult. Its expensive to rent. So what? It always has been, thats why you share with other like minded independant individuals.

      Any mum or dad that says they like having their late 20something still at home is nothing but immature and selfish, and a failed parent. They probably miss driving them around to 27 different activities each week as well. Then again a lot of 20somethings don't even bother to get a drivers licence....clueless.....

      Commenter
      Bazza
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      June 12, 2012, 9:24AM
    • Yes, I can see the strength and solace (?) by living at home with the parents. Being able to go out and burn your money, drop the washing in the magic laundry and asking Mum 'What's for dinner' are real character builders. Oh - no they're not - that's called being a kid...

      Commenter
      Get out
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      June 12, 2012, 9:52AM
    • why do we use the term "Home" to refer to our parents residence? last time I checked I don't live with my parents, but I still live at home, my own home!

      Commenter
      Rob
      Date and time
      June 12, 2012, 10:29AM
    • Exactly right @w ch
      I am 28 and live at home. I'm getting married later this year and so have started looking for a home to move into. This is an absolutely normal thing in my cultural background.

      I was born in Australia, have a post-graduate degree, work full-time and live at home, pay no rent, and I am by no means ashamed of this. I'm happy to tell anybody of this situation.

      I think it is completely disgraceful that parents would kick their children out, force them to pay rent, or hound them until the child wants to get out.

      Commenter
      What's the problem
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      June 12, 2012, 10:42AM
    • In most traditional cultures, even European cultures, living at home until you're married is normal, especially for girls. Personally, I'd rather give myself a root canal than still be living at home. I left when I went away to University and haven't moved back since. I love the feeling of going out without having to explain to anyone (except the dog) where I'm going and what I'm going to be doing. I love that nobody is waiting at home for me and it doesn't matter what time I get back. But it also means I have to pay all the bills myself and saving money from my income is basically not an option. That suits me because I have financial resources but I can completely understand why somebody would want to still be living at home in order to save and it's a responsible thing to do. I would be more worried about moving in with a man who has been living at home... especially with both a mother and grandmother in the house I would be very concerned that this "man" has never done his own laundry, swept/vacuumed/mopped a floor, cooked a meal, cleaned a shower or toilet or understand the concept that the dishwasher does not magically empty itself.

      Commenter
      T
      Date and time
      June 12, 2012, 11:00AM
    • Why is it viewed as a such a bad thing to live at home past 18?

      Commenter
      Surprising
      Date and time
      June 12, 2012, 11:18AM
    • I come from a similar culture - it's the norm for unmarried females to stay in the family home until they get hitched, or buy their own home.

      Also 28, and don't pay rent. I help out around the house, pay for groceries and the occasional bill when needed.

      I'm looking to buy my own place very soon - c'mon housing market, keep dropping baby!

      And for the record, I'm not ashamed, and neither are my folks "bad parents". They're awesome.

      There's absolutely no shame in wanting the best for your children, and assisting them get a good start in life. Some of my friends even had their first house bought by their parents - something which I don't have the luxury of...

      Commenter
      C
      Date and time
      June 12, 2012, 11:26AM
    • My parents also come from a culture where staying at home until marriage is traditional for both men and women--they married and moved out at age 27. However, they also understood that if they lived at home, they must pull their weight--board, share of food, share of utilities and housework. I am an only child who grew up in Australia. Even though my parents didn't want me to move out, they still stipulated the same requirements on me after I turned 18 and got my first part-time job. To them, it's not about the money. (I only paid $50 board per week and my share of groceries.) It's about the responsibility and discipline required to be an adult. I moved out after I finished my undergrad, having have a healthy savings account (thanks to not having to pay rent), a good understanding of what it takes to run a household and lots of love for my parents for what they asked of me.

      Commenter
      Kate
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      June 12, 2012, 11:51AM
    • You can tell the housing market is flagging right now.

      How so?

      So much promotion of the idea to 'get out of home' at any cost... into overpriced property perhaps?

      Read between the lines people and understand the difference between 'news' and industry propaganda.

      You'll definitely see a lot more of the 'move out of home and support the nation' types of 'articles' moving forward in the MSM as the property & consumer markets continue to slide into the abyss and they need bigger fools (read : youth) to continue bailing out the ponzi.

      Wake up.

      Commenter
      Educated Citizen
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      June 12, 2012, 11:53AM

More comments

Comments are now closed
Featured advertisers

Horoscopes

Capricorn horoscope

Trust others to think for themselves. Don't be snobbish about what seems obvious. Everyone learns at their own pace, including you.

...find out more here