At 23 and almost two years out of college, I’ve been feeling the itch to leave the not-so-quiet but oh-so-comfortable nest I call mi casa. Time to reclaim my independence and get out from under my parents’ roof. The feeling of empowerment was obviously running wild, that and I just watched the movie Miracle. All those motivational speeches and the line, “This is YOURtime,” repeating in my head. Seriously, who doesn’t feel 10 feet tall after watching that movie?
Then I came across this New York Times article, “After Recession, More Young Adults Are Living on Street,” and thought maybe another few months of saving is the smart way to go because I’m fortunate enough to have a place to live right now and freelance gigs to help cushion my measly post-holidays bank account. Truth is, there’s no pressing need for me to leave at this point. I primarily work remote so commuting is not an issue. The only things I really miss from those days of college are privacy and an active social life. (Living in the burbs of PA doesn’t offer much in terms of entertainment and nightlife.)
According to the NYTimes article, young adults between the ages of 18-24 “are the new face of a national homeless population.” Most of these young adults are degree-holders with some work experience in their backgrounds and you don’t need to read between the lines to know they are hungry for opportunity. For the new graduate who doesn’t hold a full-time job or even a part-time job, it makes the subject of moving out (considering they have some place to move out of) a difficult one. Money, being the main issue. Do you have enough of it to fall back on just in case of layoffs or other unfortunate circumstances? And then there’s the issue of student loans. Are you earning enough to pay your rent and pay off your loans?
The below infographic highlights the cost of living for a new graduate and it really made me stop and think. We’re expensive. Even on a tight budget. Living is so expensive that a third of new graduates are still living at home with their parents. Whether it’s due to convenience, debt, or whatever else, there are a lot of considerations to be made before new grads start claiming their independence.
Here are some considerations that I’ve been slaving over for a few months now. Of course one or two still give me horrific nightmares that make me wish I’d bought more dream catchers at the fair last weekend. It’s a pretty good list for any new grad to mull over if you are a new graduate considering moving out of the nest.
1. Do you have any debts, including auto loans, student, credit card, etc? I’ve read that it’s absolutely vital to have a good credit score if you even want to be considered for renting an apartment. Naturally, owners want to know you are good at managing money and are on time with payments. To them, you’re an investment and they want to make sure it’s a good one!
2. Do you have enough saved to make a move? This is very important if you plan on moving far away because more costs are involved. Will you need a moving truck? Are you driving there yourself and if so what’s it going to cost you in gas and car repairs. How much will furnishing an apartment cost if the apartment doesn’t come already furnished? Of course all of this depends on where you’re going, where you’re staying, and what your budget is. I’ve read that people make it work with just a few thousand dollars but you need to be comfortable sleeping on a couch for a while.
3. Do you earn enough to support yourself and pay your monthly rent? Imagine how much it would suck to just have enough to pay rent but not be able to take part in anything fun or luxurious. Think Chinese take-out, the occasional movie and popcorn, a weekend getaway. Think about what you’re willing to sacrifice.
4. Would you consider having a roommate? Splitting expenses two, or three ways definitely takes the load off.