Young adults are finding themselves living at home to cover costs

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Ben Zink in his childhood room despite graduating from Grand Valley State University in 2015. He moved back last June after a stint in Los Angeles.

Luke Robins

Ben Zink in his childhood room despite graduating from Grand Valley State University in 2015. He moved back last June after a stint in Los Angeles.

 

When 24-year-old Ben Zink moved to Los Angeles last March, he was hoping that he would be able to sustain himself and accomplish his major goal: moving out of his parent’s house.

“I feel like I should be living on my own,” said Zink, who graduated from Grand Valley State University. “I know my parents do not mind, but I still feel bad just being here.”

Despite working as a production assistant at Helo Productions, cooking at Buffalo Wild Wings and interning at Therapy Studios, Zink ran through all of his savings in just three months in Los Angeles.

“I moved home because I basically ran out of money,” Zink said. “I had less than $500 in my bank account and I needed some of it to even get back.”

But Zink’s not alone: 19 percent of college graduates find themselves living at home, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center. In fact, more than a third of all adults age 18 to 34 are living in their parents’ home.

This is the first time in more than a century that living at home is the leading category, Pew found.

According to Joseph Orsolini, president of College Aid Planners, this trend can be attributed to the job market and the financial situations many graduates find themselves in post college. But Orsolini mentioned two positives that come with living with one’s parents.

“It gives one time to settle in and prepare for all of the new costs and it gives time to get a foot on any potential student loans,” he said.

Orsolini also mentioned graduates should understand that moving back home and taking advantage of the situation can be the key to living on your own.

Close up of Ben Zink in front of the cabinets in his room. Behind is a custom made poster by friends for his trip to California.

Luke Robins

Close up of Ben Zink in front of the cabinets in his room. Behind is a custom made poster by friends for his trip to California.

“Realize you’re going to spend time at home and use it as time to get a head start on your finances,” Orsolini said. “Do it so when you move out, you stay out.”

Despite the advantages, adjusting to life at home can be difficult.

“It’s rough living at home, especially after spending four years at college,” Zink said. “You know what it is like to be on your own and you’re itching to do it again, but you do not have the financial means to do so.”

It was tough for him to call his mother, Charlene, and ask to come home.

“When he called, I could hear the disappointment in his voice,” Charlene said. “He knew there was always a caring and loving home for him to come back to and we’re here to help him out as much as we can.”

This was not the first time Zink had tried to move away. A few months after graduation, he stayed with his sister in Chicago but that only lasted a little over a month.

Charlene understands Ben’s desire to move and travel around as it was something she did at that age. She moved from Michigan to Nebraska for college, then traveled to Colorado and then Wisconsin to teach before she eventually moved back to her home state.

So when her son told her his rudimentary plan to move to California, she was excited for him to give it a chance.

She found her relationship with her son got better during his time in the golden state. She stopped texting and calling every day and let him come to her when he wanted to talk.

Since he has been back, Ben worked for six months as an administrative assistant and enroller at Rick Young & Associates. He has saved up money once again, but is unsure about any future plans.

“Now that I do have some money saved up I’m not sure what I’m going to do next,” Zink said.

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