It has been reported that a whopping 44 percent of unemployed adults between the ages of 18 and 34 still live at home with parents. Perhaps even more surprising is the fact that 25 percent of employed adults in the same age group also still live at home. Homeownership in the U.S. is at an all-time low—right around 65 percent.That’s the lowest level since 1995. If you are an adult that still lives with your parents, it’s time to embrace independence and start working toward finding a new living arrangement.
In the following infographic, we’re providing a guide to help you develop a clear and realistic plan for moving out of your mother’s basement. We’ll provide recommendations on how to land a job that can help you start saving toward your first home, outline a handful of investment strategies for adults who are already receiving a steady source of income, and provide additional resources that will help you finally act on your dream of living on your own.
Table of Contents
These days, more and more young adults are living at home. According to reports, 44% of unemployed and nearly 25% of employed 18 to 34 year olds live with their parents. In addition, 59% of men and 50% of women between the ages of 18 and 24 lived at home in 2011. Homeownership in the U.S. is at 65% – the lowest level since 1995.
This guide will provide basic steps for helping you navigate the difficulties of (finally) getting your own place.
For Those Barely Scraping By (less than $10/hr or less than $20k net annually)
For the Unemployed, Underemployed, & Part-Timers
The unemployment rate in the U.S. is at 7.3% (11.3 million people) as of August 2013. Over 40% of recent college grads are underemployed, and 16% work part-time. In total, nearly 22 million adults in the U.S. are underemployed or unemployed.
If you’re currently looking for a job, visit your career office (if you’re in school) or local library/career centers. To land a job, consider doing the following:
Set Goals & Create a Plan – You need to clearly define what kind of job you want and research if the skills you have match the skills the field requires. As tempting as it may sound, you can’t apply for everything! This will help you to make the best use of your time.
Assemble Your Toolkit – Create a resume – More than one resume may be needed depending the job. Be sure your resume is well done, and make sure to PROOFREAD! You will still need to write a new cover letter for each and every job you apply for. (See why narrowing your search was important?)
Search & Research – A job hunt is more than scrolling through an online job board. You need to research a list of potential employers and companies you’re interested in working for, and determine whom at those organizations you need to contact..
Network – Find ways to connect with people who can help you – Look for events and opportunities to meet people in the field you are interested in, or people from companies you want to work for. For instance, get involved with a professional organization for your field, or a local group related to the type of job you want. Offer help to others when they need it – people remember someone who helps others and who they know isn’t just in it for themselves
If you’d like to start saving more money in order to move out of your parents home, follow these recommendations:
Saving Tips—Find a better paying job so you actually can have something to save. Determine and stick to a realistic budget based on your income. Sites like mint.com, springcoin.com, pearbudget.com can help you organize your expenses and start saving. Establish good credit by paying bills on time and work up to using credit cards or paying back small loans.
Investing for Beginners—People just starting out who don’t have very much capital will want to stick to low-risk, low-outcome investments at first. Look into an employer-sponsored retirement plan with your job – many employers will match your savings, and most retirement plans are tax-deferred. Buying shares in a no-load index stock mutual fund is a low cost way to invest.
For Those With Some Income ($10/hr – $23/hr or $20k-$38k net a year)
Investing Your Money
With more risk comes more reward. You might want to consider a little more risk or work with a little more capital to even have a shot at the millionaires club. Consider the following options:
Investing in Stock – Involves fees and taxes, can be very volatile, and requires a lot of time and work to properly research the different companies you invest in.
Mutual Fund – A pool of money run by an investment adviser who does all the hard work researching the prospects of companies’ stocks or bonds.
Index Fund – A type of mutual fund that does not attempt to pick and choose stocks of individual companies based upon the research of the mutual fund managers – Instead, an index fund seeks to equal the returns of a major stock index.
If you fall in this group, you might want to consider renting. Some great options for you include:
College Dorm – If you’re in college, this is an option. The shared community living comes with some benefits (cost, meeting people) and disadvantages (space).
Roommates – Be it a traditional shared apartment, or open-share house (where the landlord chooses tenants), renting with a roommate brings down the overall costs of renting.
Renting a Room – Instead of renting the entire place, you can rent a room with access to shared kitchen/bathroom/living space. This from of “shared space” renting can help you save money over time.
In-Law Suite – Usually located in the basement or over a garage, these living spaces vary in price and quality depending on the homeowner.
Studio Apartment – These are ideal for people who like an open concept, and don’t require much space. Studios are more expensive than splitting costs with a roommate, but less expensive than renting a 1 bedroom apartment to yourself.
To find the a room or apartment to rent, consider using:
- · craigslist.com – The most obvious source, it should never be the only one you use!
- · livelovely.com – An aggregator of other online apartment listings. It also has a mobile app
- · apartmentratings.com – Offers user-generated reviews and ratings of rental properties
- · padmapper.com – Another aggregator of listings, it has a map-based interface, and presents helpful data like crime statistics, transit maps, how pedestrian-friendly the area is, and more
The Old-Fashioned Way
- · Drive, bike, or walk around some of the neighborhoods you might want to live in and look for “For Rent” signs.
- · Ask your immediate network of family, friends, and colleagues
- · Get the information for management/landlord numbers in a building you like and call them up to see what’s available
- · Look for ads in libraries, coffee shops, or other neighborhood gathering grounds
- · Look through apartment guides. Many major cities publish them and offer them for free.
- · Check newspaper classifieds, community newsletters, and consider placing your own ad
For Those With Lots of Income/Combined Income ($24/hr+ or over $40k net a year)
Diversify Your Portfolio
Congratulations, you’re finally one step closer to financial glory.It’s a great idea to mitigate risk by diversifying your portfolio into four asset classes:
Stocks – Provide opportunity for higher growth over the long-term but with greater risk
Bonds – Provide regular income and less volatility than stocks. Bonds are considered safer, but they don’t offer a high return over the long term
Short-term investments – Money market funds, for instance, which offer safety with lower returns than bonds but without FDIC insurance
International stocks & bonds – Perform differently than U.S. stocks or bonds; They are a good opportunity for someone willing to take more risk
“Hybrid Bucket” strategy used by advisers managing celebrities’ accounts involves allocating funds to a variety of products. A typical account is divided up like this:
- · 33% goes toward master limited partnerships, senior bank debt, and foreign bonds
- · 33% invests in equities
- · 25% is used on traditional fixed-income securities
- · 10% or so is composed of hedge funds, private equity investments and real estate
In order to start saving for a down payment, you should:
- · Decide how much house you can afford to calculate how much you need to save
- · Set up a household budget, review spending habits, and adjust accordingly
- · Set up a savings plan and deadline to help reach this goal
- · Try negotiating some costs down, such as your current rent or insurance plans
- · Opt for more frugal spending, e.g. get a cheaper car, take the bus, pack a lunch to work, etc.
- · Look into assistance programs
- · Borrow from your 401(k)
Bonus Tip: If you know the projected mortgage payment you would pay and it is higher than your current, you can “try on” the payment by paying the difference to a savings account
Tired of being told “My House, My Rules”? Have to call home to tell them to not wait up for you? Experience that awkward conversation about overnight guests? It might be time to move out of your mother’s basement!