Boomerang Kids Don’t Have it Easy All Posts / Frugal Living / Saving Money

Something exciting recently happened – I shared my journey to debt freedom on The Penny Hoarder (the most popular personal finance website on the internet).  Sharing my story on PH was a dream come true, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled that they accepted my post.

And then came the not-so-exciting part.

Many people were inspired by my story and shared it on social media, but I also received some negative feedback.  I knew this would happen – it’s inevitable when you share personal details about your life on a website that gets millions of page views.  People also love to rip on millennials (we’re so lazy and entitled!), so it wasn’t at all surprising.

But the comments got me thinking about the many misconceptions that surround the recent trend of young adults moving back in with their parents.

The basic gist of the negative comments was: “This is a useless article because most millennials don’t have the option of living with their parents.  You’re not paying off debt by working hard; you’re paying off your debt quickly because you hardly have any bills.  This is insulting to people who are truly struggling.”

After reading this, it occurred to me that there might be people who read my blog and feel the same way but simply don’t voice those feelings.  They may think “well, I could pay off my debt quickly if I could live with my parents, but I don’t have that option.”

If you have ever felt discouraged or frustrated when reading my blog, I’m sorry.  That is not my intention.  My hope for this blog is to inspire others to live cheerfully on less and to pay off their debt as quickly as they can.

You might not have the option of living with your parents.  Maybe you have the option, but you choose not to.  That’s cool.  It’s not for everyone.  Your path doesn’t need to look exactly like mine.

When I offer tips for saving money, you can take what works for you and ignore what doesn’t.  I am a big believer that what is right for one person is not necessarily right for another.

Personal Finance is About Choices

If you feel frustrated when you read my posts about how my husband and I are paying off $117,000 of student loan debt in three years, you’re missing the point.  I don’t expect everyone to do what I’m doing, and that’s not why I share my story.

I share it to inspire others to pay off their debt as quickly as they possibly can – they may not be able to pay off their debt in three years like we’re doing, but maybe they could pay their debt off in 5 years, or 8, or 10.  Maybe it’ll take longer than that.  You know your unique situation better than I do.

Here’s the point – my husband and I don’t have to pay our loans off in three years.  We could instead extend our student loan payments over 25 years (which would reduce our monthly payments a lot), purchase an overly expensive house, start a family, buy brand-new cars, go on fancy vacations, rack up a bunch of credit card debt…To me, this would be the most tempting option.

Instead, we decided to live with my parents, practice extreme frugality, and hustle so that we can pay off our massive debt in only three years.  These are sacrifices, and this was not an “easy” choice.

Boomerang kids don’t have it easy… Living with Family is NOT Easy


We are well aware that our crazy goal of paying off $117,000 of student loan debt in three years (on entry-level salaries) is only possible because we live with my parents. We are incredibly grateful to them for this – allowing us to live with them for three years was an unbelievably selfless decision on their part.

That being said, the five of us (my brother also lives here) live together in a small, crowded house and it’s not easy for any of us.

Making the decision to live in your parents’ basement requires humility.  When you decide to live with parents, you give up much of your independence, freedom, privacy, and personal space.  It’s humbling to have to follow someone else’s rules when you’re nearly 30 years old.

The biggest challenge of living with my family is something I choose not to go into detail about on this blog.  To protect the privacy of my family members, I won’t give specifics.  Let’s just say this – it is impossible to know every detail of someone’s situation, and there is a lot that I choose not to share about my living situation.

Deciding to live with my family was not an easy choice to make, and it’s frustrating when people who know very little about our situation assume that living with family is “taking the easy way out”.

Let’s Stop Comparing

It is impossible to know every detail of someone’s story.  It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others, but this only leads to jealousy and frustration.  Let’s stop comparing and making assumptions.

Instead, let’s acknowledge that we all have our own unique journey.  You don’t have to do what I do.  Do what works for you.

What’s right for one person isn’t necessarily right for another.


Comments

  1. “Deciding to live with my family was not any easy choice to make.” This should really read, “Deciding to let my adult children live with me is not an easy choice to make.” You are doing this because your PARENTS have graciously agreed to support you for 3 years to pay off debt. It is not about YOU! Taking on that kind of debt for education is just insane, and if an adult child of mine had made that decision, I would not allow them to boomerang home. Fortunately, my husband and I had this debt discussion with our children while they were in high school. Long story short…They are independent, college educated adults.

    • I’m not sure why the two ideas are mutually exclusive. It wasn’t an easy choice for me to make, and of course it’s difficult for my parents too. I SPECIFICALLY stated in the post that I am incredibly grateful to my parents for allowing us to live with them and said that it’s not easy for them. Your children are incredibly lucky that they had parents who had the debt discussion with them while they were in high school. Many of us do not have that same privilege. My parents strongly ENCOURAGED me to take out the maximum amount of student loan debt that I could. Before you judge someone else, maybe you should consider the fact that not every kid was raised the same way your children were. 1 in 3 millennials live with their parents because of massive debt. I realize that I made a bad choice – unfortunately, it is a very common one.

      I’m sorry that you feel my post comes across as self-centered. Considering that this is a blog about my life and my journey toward paying off my debt, it would be odd if I spent an entire post talking about the sacrifices my parents make. I’m not sure how fixating on how wonderful my parents are would help anyone to pay off their debt. If I focus on the sacrifices I make, I might encourage someone else to “boomerang” home and pay off their debt as quickly as they can.

      • Isabella Says: July 11, 2016 at 8:56 am

        But if you took out lots of grad school loans, you did that as as adult. I really don’t think you can pin that on your parents. Are most of your loans from undergrad or grad school?

        • The larger amount is from undergrad. 18 year olds are adults too. I’m not pinning anything on my parents. I take responsibility for my mistakes. I didn’t HAVE to listen to my parents. All I am saying is that it’s unfair to judge people who were raised in a different way than her children were.

          I believe in helping others to make smarter decisions in the future rather than judging them for their past mistakes. Judging people doesn’t help them.

    • Wow what a terrible comment! Jen does not come off self centered and you know what? Not all of us are fortunate to have savvy financially aware parents such as yourself. Sometimes we don’t make the “decision” to have a lot of debt, sometimes its inescapable. If you work in a design/creative field, tuition is high (considering you go to a college that knows the major and is up to date, community colleges or certain schools just don’t cut it!). I’m not sure why Jen thought she needed to apologize, but I think she’s got pure gusto for saying what all of us (most anyways) millennials are thinking all the time. I owe about 50k in student loans, and while I can’t live at home, I take her advice and use it in what ways I can like budgeting, shopping frugal, etc. I get very VERY tired of adults commenting on millennials and our ‘DEBT PROBLEM’ as if they have any idea about any of it. They went to school for very little money (if at all), shacked up, got married, the whole 9 yards, without EVER having issues like we have (its a tough job market, most places only hire college graduates now, and they continually think we’re lazy). You have no right to judge us unless you’ve been in the same position – please, go out and get some student loan debt yourself and then maybe your opinion would count.

      Jen – for what its worth, you write an awesome blog, are spot on with millennial thoughts (at least for me) and I look forward to your new posts! Keep rocking it girl!!

      • Thank you, Sarah! I’m glad that my blog has been helpful for you! I agree that it’s easy for someone to judge when they haven’t been in the situation – most of the negative comments that I receive are from older people who attended college back when tuition was affordable. My parents went to the same public university that I attended, worked part-time, paid for tuition in cash, and graduated debt-free. That wouldn’t be possible today.

        I definitely could’ve taken on less debt and I wish I had…unfortunately, I didn’t know much at all about personal finance when I was 18 or when I was 22 (when I started grad school). Sadly, this is very common. I think that we should be pushing for personal finance classes in high schools and educating others about debt/other money issues as much as possible – rather than judging people for their past mistakes.

  2. IMHO I don’t think your post is self-centered. I think you and your husband have a wonderful goal and as you said in your post, you could have chosen to extend the loan payoffs over many years but you chose to tackle them as fast and as efficient as possible. You have wonderful parents for letting you and your husband live with them. I’m sure that the “sacrifice” goes both ways. I enjoy your blog and wanted to let you know that this “baby-boomer” is cheering you on!

  3. This is a repost since it appears my original post didn’t appear. IMHO your post does not come across self-centered. I think you and your husband made a great decision to erase your debt as quickly and as efficiently as possible and it appears your parents feel the same as you as they are letting you live with them to accomplish this. It sounds like everyone is making sacrifices. I enjoy reading your blog and this baby-boomer is cheering you on!

  4. I read your PH article and the comments and I think you express a very healthy, balanced view of the whole situation. I cannot imagine why people are so offended by the fact that you live with your parents when they willingly agree to have you. If you said, “Hey, we’re financially independent…and we live with my parents,” that’d be confusing. But you hit the nail on the head–we all tend to compare when we read others’ numbers, whether it’s income or low expenses or savings rates or whatever. That’s not really the point, though. And I agree that the student debt problem is a multi-generational issue that everyone should be thinking about how to improve, instead of pointing fingers.

    • Thank you for your kind words! Absolutely – making comparisons is not the point. The point is that it is possible to pay off debt quickly if you’re willing/able to cut your expenses and/or increase your income. For some people, it may take a lot longer than others, and there’s nothing wrong with that! Everyone has their own unique situation, and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another.

      It’s interesting that most of the negative comments are coming from baby boomers (although there definitely have been some positive ones from baby boomers too). I think it’s easy for them to judge because they went to college at a time when tuition costs were reasonable. I can take responsibility for my mistakes while simultaneously recognizing that tuition has skyrocketed out of control.

  5. I always say it’s about the message, not the details

    So often when people read debt payoff or personal finance stories, they take things so literal. “You make 3,000 a month at your day job? I only make 1,500, so this is impossible for me!”, “This person is working extra jobs? I have three kids and don’t want to work on Sundays, this won’t work for me!”

    I applaud the efforts you are doing to get out of your debt in a timely fashion. I moved home after college and it was NOT easy. It was a very emotionally exhausting and taxing experience. I wrote about it for The Financial Diet: http://thefinancialdiet.com/why-i-regret-moving-home-after-college-even-though-it-saved-me-money/

    Good job to you and your husband!

    • Thank you! I’ve noticed that too! People often miss the point. They don’t have to do exactly what other people are doing in order to pay off their debt – everyone has their own unique situation. I read your article and I can relate to a lot of your points. I agree that living with parents is definitely not the best option for everyone. I appreciate your openness about the challenges of your situation – I know it’s not always easy to share that because people are so quick to judge boomerang kids.

  6. I felt similarly when I updated people on my last six months. I never thought I’d be a boomerang kid, but I never thought I’d be separated after just a couple years of marriage. I never thought I’d be one of those privileged millennials whose parents helped them buy a house, but mine lent me money towards a down payment so I could buy a decent place. Hard admissions to make on the blog and 1 or 2 non-regular readers were snarky, but by and large people were understanding and supportive. I’m not ashamed that I moved back home for 3 months, and I”m working on not being ashamed that I accepted financial help either.

    • It’s unfortunate that people are so quick to judge. I personally don’t believe that there should be any shame in accepting help from your parents. If your parents are willing and able to help you, I’m not sure why it bothers other people. It’s one thing when a spoiled kid keeps making huge financial messes and expects their parents to bail them out. It’s a completely different story when someone acknowledges that they made some poor choices and is using the help from their parents to try to better their future. As long as people start making smarter choices and don’t rely on their parents for help constantly, I don’t see how that’s a problem.

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