New Jersey is 18- to-34-yearolds are overtaking their parents’ couches more than young adults in the rest of America.
The Star-Ledger reported that over 40 percent of New Jersey’s young adults live with their families at home compared to 30 percent of adults in the country. Kurt Rotthoff, an associate professor of economics and finance, attributed the high number of students in New Jersey moving home after graduating to the living costs in the state.
The cost of living is so much higher in New Jersey, “you can easily spend $2,000 on a two bedroom apartment,” Rotthoff said in an email. In other areas of the country, he continued, “you can spend $400 or less for a two bedroom apartment.” That disparity in housing costs, “means that even though nominal incomes could be higher in this area, that doesn’t mean real incomes are,” Rotthoff explained. Nominal income means the money from a paycheck and real income, he said, is the “actual amount that you can buy with that paycheck.”
Moving back home could mean saving money where rent is due, but the “social impacts” can be less then welcome, according to Rotthoff. “The social impact of what your friends think, and of course the social costs of trying to date when living with your parents (are potential cons)” Rotthoff said. “Although, hopefully a good match would understand the financial benefits you get from living at home and appreciate that you are willing to do that in order to start life on a strong financial footing.”
Kenny Zampino, ’14, currently lives at home in South Plainfield, N.J. He said that he had always planned to live with his family after graduation because that would, and is, helping him jump start his post-college savings.
“I can save money and start paying debt off from college tuition,” Zampino said. Living at home with his family has its “pluses and minuses,” Zampino added. He said that while living with other people is a “con,” coming home to a home cooked meal and fresh laundry is a “pro.”
“I also have to do chores when my family deems, not when I feel appropriate,” he said. “It comes down to losing control on when things get done but it’s a give and take.”
Amanda Payne, a senior sociology major, said that she plans on living at home in Whippany, N.J. after graduating in May. She said it’s the only viable option since she currently doesn’t have “a job or steady income.”
However, she does say she’s excited to live at home again.
“I’m looking forward to have home cooked meals more often,” Payne said. “Plus this way I can save up and pay off loans then move out with less debt.”
To come up with a realistic plan for life after graduation, Rotthoff advised students to look at “the real income they will receive from a job, not just the nominal amount the employer is offering.”
“Students should be focused on their long-term success,” he said. “So, even if there are some short term social costs, sometimes the long term financial benefits make it worth doing it anyway.”
Tiffany Do can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.