This article originally appeared on Money254. Money254 helps consumers and business owners to search, compare and apply for financial products in Kenya.
Graduating from college is an exciting time, full of new possibilities and opportunities. However, the looming question of what's next can often leave graduates feeling overwhelmed and uncertain. For many, moving back home with parents may seem like an appealing option – a chance to save money, reconnect with family, and gain a sense of stability. But before you pack your bags and head back home, it's crucial to consider the potential drawbacks that come with this decision.
In this article, we will examine the reasons why returning to your childhood bedroom may not be the best choice for your future, including the loss of independence, the impact on your social life, and the hindrance it may pose to jumpstarting your career.
Let’s dive in.
1. Limited job opportunities
If you come from a small town with limited job opportunities, moving back home after college can be a terrible decision that could have dire financial consequences. Financial replications are a common occurrence for young graduates who struggle to find suitable employment.
By moving back home, you will be limiting your career advancement prospects and earning potential. This means you may struggle to make ends meet, let alone save for the future. Additionally, with limited opportunities for professional growth, you may find yourself stagnating in your career, which can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction.
For instance, let's say you studied marketing in Nairobi, but decided to move back to your hometown in a rural area like Shamata in Nyandarua County (where I come from). Here there are no marketing firms or companies that could utilise your skills. In such a scenario, you may be forced to take a low-paying job in an unrelated field or start a small business that may not thrive in such an area.
Even with the availability of online-based work, you may still face challenges, like poor internet connectivity, or a lack of access to the necessary equipment. Part-time commuting may also be an option, but the costs of transportation and the time spent travelling may outweigh the benefits.
2. Stunted personal growth
Another significant reason why you should not move back home after college is that it can lead to the development of a false sense of security, where individuals become overly reliant on their parents for financial support and miss out on crucial opportunities to learn how to manage their own money effectively.
Living at home can lead to a lack of financial responsibility, as you may not be required to pay for rent, utilities, or other living expenses. This can make it difficult for you to develop the budgeting and money management skills that are essential for achieving financial independence.
Furthermore, the longer an individual remains dependent on their parents, the more difficult it can be for them to transition into a financially independent lifestyle. This can be particularly challenging when it comes to building credit, saving for retirement, or making major purchases such as a car or a home.
3. Strained relationships with parents
Living with your parents as a fresh graduate can cause damage to your relationships – both with your parents and your peers. Firstly, it can be difficult to establish independence and build a social life outside of the family home. Bringing a date or friends over can be uncomfortable, and having to constantly report your whereabouts can feel suffocating. And on top of that, you will probably be working on a tight budget to afford to hang out with your friends.
In addition to the social constraints, sharing a living space with your parents can lead to clashes in expectations and values. You may find yourself at odds with their rules and regulations, which can cause resentment and tension in the household. This, in turn, can impact your ability to focus on your career goals and negatively affect your performance at work.
Furthermore, strained relationships with parents can cause emotional distress, which can have a domino effect on your mental health and motivation levels thus hindering your ability to make money. It is challenging to maintain a positive outlook and remain productive in your professional life when you are dealing with unresolved familial issues. This can lead to missed opportunities, slower career progression, and lower earning potential.
4. Limited social opportunities
Leaving home after college can make it challenging to establish a social life outside of the family home, particularly if you live in an area that is not close to the social and cultural hub of your industry.
For example, if you are looking to establish a career in journalism, it may be beneficial to live in an area where there are a lot of networking opportunities and industry events. Living at home may limit your ability to attend these events, as you may not have the flexibility to travel to different locations or attend events after work hours.
In contrast, living in a city or area where your industry is thriving can provide you with more networking opportunities and exposure to new ideas and perspectives. You may have access to industry events, conferences, and meetups that can help you build valuable connections and advance your career. Generally, building strong professional relationships is essential for gaining access to new job opportunities, promotions, and higher salaries.
Guidelines for fresh graduates moving back home
If financial circumstances are forcing you to move back home after college, there are ways to maximise the benefits of this living arrangement. It is easier to get along with your parents – and feel better about yourself.
- It's normal and okay
Remind yourself that living with your parents is perfectly normal and okay. In fact, in many cultures, it is typical for adults to stay with their parents until they are ready to start families of their own. Even in Kenya, there are more young adults living with their parents than in any other situation. So, don't let society's expectations make you feel ashamed or inadequate.
- Cultivate gratitude
Instead of focusing on the negatives, cultivate a sense of gratitude for your current living situation. Think about how much worse off you would be without a roof over your head or without people who genuinely care and love you. Remember that this situation is temporary, and it provides you with a chance to save money, create a budget plan, and explore new opportunities.
- Stay motivated
While living with your parents, it's crucial to stay motivated and focused on your goals. Develop a saving plan and stick to a budget to ensure that you are working towards your future. Also, take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Whether it's a job interview or a volunteer opportunity, be open to new experiences and make the most of them.
- Abide by your parent's rules and with respect and understanding
If your parents impose certain rules, try to understand the reasoning behind them. For example, if they ask you to be home by a specific time, it's not necessarily because they don't trust you. Instead, it could be that they value their own peace and quiet and want to ensure that everyone in the household gets a good night's sleep. By respecting their rules, you demonstrate maturity and gratitude.
While at it remember that communication is key. If there are disagreements or misunderstandings, try to communicate calmly and respectfully. Open up about your feelings and express your gratitude for their hospitality. It's important to find a balance between respecting their rules and asserting your independence.
- Create a clear path forward and plan an exit strategy
With a clear plan and defined goals, you can make the most of your living situation and prepare for your next steps.
- Define your goals: To avoid feeling stuck and overwhelmed, start by defining your goals. Consider what you need to accomplish before you can move out to your own place. These goals may include finding a full-time job, building up your savings, or establishing financial independence. Whatever your objectives, make sure they are specific and measurable, so you know when you've achieved them.
- Create a concrete plan: Once you've identified your goals, create a concrete plan to achieve them. Break each goal down into smaller, more manageable tasks, and set deadlines for completion. For example, if your goal is to save enough money to move out, break it down into how much you need to save each month and what expenses you need to cut back on to achieve that goal.
- Maintain realistic expectations: Remember that establishing financial independence and moving out on your own takes time. Be patient with yourself and keep a realistic timeline in mind. It's better to take the time to achieve your goals than to rush into something you're not ready for.
Returning home after college can be a wise decision for recent graduates to both save money and determine their future aspirations. However, it is essential to make the decision carefully, as this choice can either be a helpful stepping stone towards a promising future or a hindrance to achieving personal and professional fulfilment.