R’Perspective: Home is where the savings are

HIGHLANDER/Courtesy of Betteena Marco
HIGHLANDER/Courtesy of Betteena Marco

People are always surprised when I tell them about my decision to move back home after graduation. I suppose to some it might seem like I’m surrendering my freedom or reverting back to adolescence. People might perceive returning home after college as something to be embarrassed about since completing college is seen as a milestone in a young adult’s life — a true indication of maturity and independence. It’s more accepted for a person to struggle on their own, subsisting on Cup Noodles, than to rely on their parents for help.

I’m really fortunate that my parents are willing to welcome me back and offer me assistance for as long as I might need it. Since I have the option to, it would be foolish of me not to take advantage of such an opportunity.

One of the reasons I intend on returning home after graduation is the debt I’ve accrued. Like many other students, I rely on financial aid and student loans to finance my education. Additionally, I plan on pursuing a master’s degree, which demands another two years of tuition fees. While I would love to study in Northern California or even out of state, lodging and transportation are costs I simply can’t afford. So in order to avoid paying off loans until I’m old and gray, I’ve decided to reduce my expenses now by attending a local Cal State and not paying rent.

Besides the financial benefits of living at home where lodging, utilities and even some groceries are paid for, I also get to spend time with my parents. I’m no longer the angsty teenager I used to be when I decided to attend a college away from home in order to get away from my parents. In fact, the time I’ve spent away from them has made me miss and appreciate them even more. Though it’s painful to admit, my parents aren’t getting any younger and I will eventually have to live on my own. When I’m busy with my own life or when they’re gone, I don’t want to regret not maximizing the time I could have had with them when I had the chance. [pullquote]Though it’s painful to admit, my parents aren’t getting any younger and I will eventually have to live on my own. When I’m busy with my own life or when they’re gone, I don’t want to regret not maximizing the time I could have had with them when I had the chance.[/pullquote]

It might be cowardly of me to choose the comfier option, especially since it’s widely believed that adversity and hardship are integral to becoming a mature and worldly person. However, I don’t find anything wrong in accepting help that’s already being offered to me. Additionally, I don’t see it as being dependent — I view it as being reasonable.

I don’t see the point of living beyond my means and racking up a debt I could easily avoid. In exchange for an “independent” life, I’m ensuring that I won’t be buried in debt in the future, or plagued with guilt that I didn’t spend enough time with the two most important people in my life.

I understand that some people don’t have this option either because of circumstance or contrasting parenting philosophies. However, the most important thing to consider when making post-graduate plans is feasibility.

It might seem glamorous to dive head first into a European tour or attend graduate school out of state, but it’s important to consider the long-term fiscal consequences of these short-term decisions. Though people might say that experience and memories are priceless, reality dictates otherwise. Everything costs money and time, and unfortunately we only have them in limited amounts.

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