A Young Adult's Guide To Moving Back Home

By Michelle Singletary
Sunday, May 1, 2005

In his poem "The Death of the Hired Man," Robert Frost wrote: "Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in."

I'm sure that many of the 18 million 18- to 34-year-olds the U.S. Census Bureau says are living at home with their parents certainly can attest to that poetic truth.

Increasingly, because of a job loss, divorce, high student loan debt, credit card debt or just life, adults are returning home to mommy and daddy for financial and/or psychological refuge.

If you're a boomerang adult, how do you cope with living with a parent or parents again? What if your parents let you back in begrudgingly? When you move home, should you pay rent?

Are you a failure if you have to go back home?

If you're struggling with such questions, you need to read the Color of Money Book Club selection for May, "Boomerang Nation: How to Survive Living With Your Parents . . . the Second Time Around" (Fireside, May 2005, $14) by Elina Furman.

Furman is an authority on this issue if for no other reason than she's been there and done that. After college, Furman moved in with her mother and older sister, and there she stayed for all of her 20s.

"With no job and no desire to learn the art of making mocha lattes at the local Starbucks, I moved back to my family home," Furman writes. "With all the goalposts of adulthood -- housing, economic independence, employment, completion of education -- getting harder and harder to achieve, it's not surprising that so many of us are choosing to turn back instead of run ahead."

Furman says she wrote the book to help those moving back home to eradicate the notion that there is something wrong with them.

The book is part therapy, part basic financial planning. Furman has packed a lot of information into the softcover book. She addresses just about every issue that can come up with going back home (or never leaving) -- depression, guilt, dating, having to live in your old bedroom or the basement, being treated like a child again, acting like you're a child.

She uses personal testimonies from adults who moved back home. She uses lists to get her points across. For example, there is "The Last Supper: Top 10 Things You Should Do Before Boomeranging."

There are quizzes, such as the "Are You Ready to Boomerang?"


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