Should We Live With Our Parents?

by David Ning · 32 comments

Can you imagine how much extra money we’d have every month if we lived together?

Over the last two months, my parents stayed over at our two bedroom apartment. They were visiting from Canada in anticipation for Sara, and have been a huge help. Last week, a thought crossed my mind and I asked:

Mom, can you imagine how much money we’d save if we sold our houses and just lived in this apartment? On top of the several thousand dollars extra every month in property taxes, extra utilities and the like, we’d be making a killing just on interests from all the equity that we have.

If we made that step, we could be pretty irresponsible and still come out ahead. We could buy something nice almost everyday. We can eat out everyday if we wanted, or we could just save up and leave our heirs a huge estate.

Actually, It’s More Than the Finances

I will be honest. At first, having my parents over took getting used to. I would bump into my parents on my way to get coffee. I would share the room with my wife as she nursed and I worked, and I would compromise on what to watch on TV every night.

But you know what? It actually made our family closer. It’s been years since I talked to my parents as often and for as long as I have in the past two months. We had our disputes, but we were the happiest people most of the time. That’s a real family. The other polite alternative we’ve been practicing for years because we were in different countries and speaking to each other was a challenge? Not as much.

I know that living with your parents is often looked down upon in this country. But if spending more time with your parents is somehow a sin, then we should be fine with that.

Aside…

During our discussion that followed my question, my mom made an insightful comment.

If we saved so much money that we can buy 10 houses, what’s the point?

What do you think? Would you want to move back in with your parents? Or better yet, ask your parents to sell their house so they can move in with you?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • babyluvsu2 says:

    In addition to my previous comment, they are responsible for their food and I have informed them they do not need to be concerned about feeding me. But my daughter includes me in the meals and I appreciate it, but when I come home and there is no meal prepared – no problem. I am truly hoping this arrangement works and as long as we communicate, no reason for it not to.

  • babyluvsu2 says:

    My daughter recently married and they moved in with me. I adore my son-in-law. I had problems with my daughter in the past and she moved out. Now she’s back and we are hoping this arrangement will work for all of us. It certainly will financially. However, I made it clear to my daughter before moving in that if she could not respect me, if she could not change her attitude from the way it was when she lived at home previously, don’t come. I told them both that I would rather be alone and lonely than be disrespected in my own home and I refuse to go there again. Her husband assured me he would work with her (she’s young) and so far so good. They will help with the mortgage and utilities and in time we plan to build on so they will have more privacy. I love having them there and look forward to the future with them.

  • Cobi says:

    I know some people who have cool parents and it might work. However, my father is bossy and will never respect my privacy. Therefore, I have to say I can’t imagine a worse hell on earth. My worst nightmare. I moved out after college and never went back.

  • Fayth says:

    I think it all boils down to conflict resolution. If you can get through the disagreements and respect boundaries it can be done (oh, and space shoule be adequate for the occupants-you need personal space/downtime). Some humans see to be all about maxims. Why not try it for a temporary basis to gain savings? it need not be forever. Just like any situation-if the people are reasonable-if it begins to deteriorate then dissolve it.
    I=

  • Peggy says:

    My daughter, SIL and 2 grandchildren have lived with us for the last 2 years. They were the victims of the housing bubble bursting in South Florida. While our home is a decent size (4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths) it has been an adjustment for everyone. We have all respected each other’s privacy, divided chores and expenses, and my daughter, as a stay at home mom, has probably added 10 years to our lives with her healthy meal habits. They are in the process of purchasing their own home now, 10 minutes away, but I wish we could put an addition on and stay together. There is no price tag on the relationship I have with them as well as my grand daughters-I will miss them terribly when they move. I think the whole “It takes a village” concept is a great idea.

  • Joyce says:

    For 10 years my MIL lived with my husband and me, at my desire. She and I were great friends and it worked out lovely. I worked, she cooked the meals (she loved to cook) and so I came home every night to a cooked meal ready on the table. How great was that. She didn’t have to live alone. She had her space, we had ours, and each respected the others, and my kids got to really know their grandmother.

    I’ve had adult college kids live at home, and even one son after he got out of college and started his first real job until he married.

    Since my kids shared household chores from early childhood there has never been a problem with them willingly pitching in with car care, yard work, or house cleaning. When they started to work and had pay checks coming in, the “rent, room and board” payments was 1/3 of the take home check, whether large or small, and they paid their own expenses for phone, entertainment, clothing etc.

    I still have a 32 year old son living at home in my large (actually too large) home, and as even a still-active widow, actually couldn’t manage very well with all the heavier household chores, car repair, etc. without him so it is very much a symbiotic living situation for us both. Plus, with pets to feed and water, I wouldn’t be able to travel as frequently or as easily without him here to house-sit while I am gone. We are both able to live fuller and more independent lives by being inter-dependent.

    He’s a really great roommate and I thoroughly enjoy having him and his friends around. He enjoys and likes my friends, so I couldn’t ask for a better situation or a happier one. (And gives us both more money with only one set of utility bills, etc.)

  • Jenny T says:

    I purchased a house last year with my mother and stepfather and we will eventually build an addition so they can have their own space. The intent was so my mother would be on site to watch my son while also saving money on general expenses, utilities and a mortgage. We share household expenses and yes, it can be too cozy at times but it is working out overall.

  • georgia says:

    IF you are there because you need help, or they need help ok BUT to just live with your parents so you can save YOUR money :THAT IS JUST TRIFLING especially if you do not pay for anything other than what you want or clean or cook and do everything with your mom because you have no real friends. I know someone like that and she is truly pathethic and her mom as well. they both need to get a life.

  • Rebecca says:

    I forgot to say that I do not ever want to live in a nursing home. Those kids who think they should just send their parents there when they grow too old, should walk in a visit a few patients. Just smell the place. Look at the patients. A significant percentage die within weeks of placement.
    I would rather live with the orneriest of my kids than EVER live in a nursing home or assisted living facility. I am not something that you throw in the trash can… I am a person.

  • Rebecca says:

    My daughter and her husband lived with us for a year after they got married. They paid off all of their debts, bought a car and saved their “rent” money for a down payment. They lived in the basement (we added a small kitchenette.) Things did fine – and I had six other children. There is such a thing as a lock and such a moral concept as respect. We uitlized these two quite frequently.
    Then my son and his wife lived with us for two years after they got married. They built an extra room for their infant, even. I miss them terribly and would give anything if they would move back. I adore my daughter-in-law, and when they would come up and visit, it was great. Otherwise, I called and talked with them every day. I respected their space – they respected mine. I see no problem allowing my kids to live with us… we have the space.
    Now another son is moving in. We’ll see how that goes. Again… it has to do with respecting each other, their space and having locks for privacy.
    Truth be known, I could not live with my mother-in-law… but I’m very patient and easy-going. Hopefully it will always stay that way.

  • C.C. says:

    I am currently living with my parents at the age of 32. I have lived with them during parts of college, during grad school, and my first year of teaching. Living in Southern California is very expensive and truthfully even with a good job I would not have been able to live on my own at certain times (I am now able to afford to live elsewhere but chose to stay at home). My parents are great and this is a big house that is not being used enough even with the three of us in it (5 bedrooms/3 baths). It seems very wasteful for me to spend all of my income to live 10 minutes away from them, buying all my own home goods, food for one person that would go bad before I could eat it all, and using fossil fuels to keep the lights on in my own home when they are already on at my parents. What’s the point? Just so I can say I am “independent”. It seems to me that we have come to the wrong definition of what independence really means when we define it as someone who lives apart from family. I think maybe this whole American idea of leaving the nest was just a big push by corporate America to make us into greater consumers. I asked my mom recently if I lived at home what could I do differently that I can’t do now….all she could come up with was “well…decorate?”. Living with my family allows me to have help with my dogs and happy family meals. I do the laundry for the whole house and some of the cooking. I think more families should live like this if they are able….not just for financial need.

  • cerri says:

    I see both sides of this. Not sure I would want my Mom to live with me, unless there were some changes. She can be a tad over-controlling. My adult son lives at home, though, and we get along splendidly. (Then again, perhaps he thinks I am over-controlling. Hmmm.)

    It really wasn’t too many generations ago that most Americans lived as extended families in one home. I am sure there were uncomfortable times, as well as wonderful, warm times…just like with nuclear families. Successful family relationships are all about acceptance and compromise, no matter how many members make up the family unit.

  • I reside in Toronto, Canada which is actually the most multicultural city in the world. I am of Chinese descent, so three generations of a family living under one roof is very common. This is a very common arrangement within the Chinese, South Asian and some certain European communities (e.g., East European, South European).

    Since the recession hit, I’ve also noticed an upward trend in such living arrangements within the broader community. Kids are graduating from university with no jobs waiting for them and massive student loans so they really don’t have any other choice than to live with their parents.

    • JF says:

      I’m a chinese graduate student and have broken english,now my professor ask I give a debate aboult that whether or not we should live with our parents even after we get marriged ,so I am very happy to see what mentioned abrove ,thank you very much .

  • Jerry says:

    I would only if the situation were dire and it would lead me to losing my home or something like that. I love my mom and dad but it would be trying. It doesn’t sound like this in your case but many people use their parents as insurance “just in case” something goes wrong and don’t want to land on their own two feet when things go wrong.

  • Probably depends on how much pride one has. The less pride, the easier it is to live with mom and dad.

    If you have little money, there’s no shame. It is what it is.

  • It is worthwhile considering. People are loosing touch with their families more then they ever have in the past and future financial problems are likely to hit very hard and so it is likely that a new norm of living with the parents and closer family structure which ark back to the olden days are likely, just don’t forget to pick up your clothes after you.

  • Miranda says:

    We have no problem with having people live here when they need a little help, but I can’t imagine it being a permanent arrangement. And my mom’s made it clear that the best way we can pay her back for all those years she took care of us is to all chip in for a nice assisted living facility 🙂

  • Lisa says:

    I must say, that had it not been for my parent’s allowing me to move back in at least three times before I hit 25, I wouldn’t have been able to survive.
    It actually worked out great because I had a separate entrance to the house through the garage, and I lived in the finished basement.I didn’t have to pay any rent, but I did my own laundry and all the cooking (Mom hates to cook).
    I am eternally grateful to my parents for allowing me to do this.

  • MoneyNing says:

    I am not commenting on my mom and dad because they read this site regularly…

    Actually, I take that back. They are awesome. I love them both, absolutely equally too 🙂

  • Cd Phi says:

    For me, the thought of it all is really nice but there comes a time when you just need to give yourself and your growing family some space from your parents. It’s nice to have them there in the beginning when you need their help, but it will become conflicting when people are always running into each other and people have different opinions of how they want things to be. However, I would have no problem allowing my parents to live with me once they get a bit older and need the assistance everyday. They took care of me so of course I’d return the favor.

  • CD Rates Blog says:

    In regards to “they put up with me…” , they chose to have me. I had good parents. I love both of them. I expect someday, my mom may even need to stay with us and I’m fine with that. I love my dad, but he is a little harder to handle. I’m not sure if it was just him or even the both of them, that it would be a good environment for any of us.

    My wife’s family is a whole different issue and I will just say, Jersey Mom hit the nail on the end with her closing remark.

    Again, I believe culture plays a big roll. In the US, we just aren’t raised that way so trying to make the necessary adjustments just might not work.

    Kudos to those that have such a relationship where it could work.
    cd :O)

  • Jersey Mom says:

    It’s very common in some cultures to live with extended family. I know my grandparents lived with us for some time when I was very young. I also saw the many problems it caused. Grandmother was always very critical of my mother: floor’s not clean enough, why is dinner not ready when she’s hungry, why did she spend money on this or that, etc. She’d complain to my father, who would in turn have a fight with my mother.

    Even though I have a fine relationship with my in-laws, no way am I willing to live with them. Even though they come to visit for several weeks at a time, it’s different when you have guests vs. actually living together.

    You said, “BUT… your parents put up with you for so many years, you should at least do the same when they need you.” You know what, I’m happy for you that you have a great relationship with your parents but some people’s relationship with their parents are just not good. Not everyone’s parents are supportive and nice; some people actually have abusive parents or ones who are control freaks.

  • Squirrelers says:

    So much of our approach toward living with parents is cultural, based on how each of us was individually raised, as well as societal norms in the area in which we live.

    Here in the US (and in Canada, for that matter), it’s not as common; more often than not, once kids go off to college, they only come home over vacations or for a short while after graduating. Now, some people do live at home while going to school, and of course quite a few people don’t pursue college – or at least initially.
    Anyway, once the young adult years are over, in our society a person typically gets a place of their own and lives on their own until marriage. Parents might live with you when they are much older, and THEY need help. Even then, many people prefer to put their parents in assisted living situations, nursing homes, etc. In the event that someone lives with their parents as an adult for financial reasons, it is seen as “unfortunate” and “difficult” in terms of personal freedoms and personal space.

    All of that being said – I would live with my parents if I needed to, and would welcome them living with me if they needed to – and would do so without too many hangups. Maybe that’s being a contrarian, but I see a strong sense of honor in being able to help parents if needed. As long as one’s spouse (if married) is able to be see the mutual benefits – and the marriage is put first – then living with parents can provide benefits for all that outweigh the drawbacks.
    From a financial point of view, pooling resources to live under one roof can help everyone.

    Whether you are a younger person starting out, or in mid-life and needeing assistance – or you’re helping, two or more generations of adults living together can provide tremendous financial benefits, and could offer many positives in other ways as well, as long as married couples put their own marriage and core family first.

  • CD Rates Blog says:

    I think if it is out of necessity for a time it could work, but not over the long haul. I think it would be too difficult for parents to resist the urge to be parents for long and naturally grown adults children don’t want to be treated as kids again.

    I realize some cultures live that way, but ours doesn’t and I think it would be too difficult to revert.

    cd :O)

    • MoneyNing says:

      It’s all in our heads.

      Parents would always be parents, but the more maturity you show them, the less they would try to “lecture” I believe.

      It’s like in the work place. Some bosses micromanage more than others, but the subordinates who can get work done are usually left alone more often.

  • Gray D. says:

    Can’t put a price on personal privacy and sanity 😉

    • MoneyNing says:

      That’s true 🙂

      BUT… your parents put up with you for so many years, you should at least do the same when they need you.

    • Lloyd says:

      Gray,

      You are so right. I am living with my mom out of necessity, sometimes I think that I am going to lose my sanity, but since I have enrolled in college online I get away from her during the day and go to different libraries to study.

      I can’t wait to leave and get my life back. There’s nothing worse than living in a city that you despise, and living with an elderly parent too.

  • Lynn says:

    I did live with my mother, out of necessity, for about 6 months. Now we live in the same complex so we have a similar closeness, without feeling like we’re intruding on private areas.

    I think it works for some families. There’s no reason why family members who get along can’t live together and be an extended family in one house. As long as no one is mooching, what’s the issue?

    It didn’t really work for mine, unfortunately. It would have with my mother, but not my stepdad. 6 months was about all we could take.

    • MoneyNing says:

      It could definitely put a lot of stress into every relationship in the household, but it could work if everyone puts in an honest effort too.

      Good for you to at least have tried it. If it’s not for you, it’s not, but most people never even give it a try before they write it off.

    • Cathy says:

      We live with my parents but eventually would like to be on our own. We get along very well so I give my mom cash for the bills with split, which is not good I know, but how do we start to get ready for owning our own home one day?

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