It’s not news that young New Yorkers are living with mom and dad for longer than ever before. And who can blame us? Rents in New York City are insane, the cost of living is debilitating and salaries are stagnating. For many of us, the benefits of home cooking far outweigh the indignities of their late night texts asking our whereabouts. But at a certain point, you’ve just got to deal with your paltry paycheck and start footing your own rent. But how do you know when you’re really ready to move out?
Telltale signs can be found easily: Maybe you’re getting a little too comfortable with the lunch Mom packs you daily, or your twin bed is a little too cozy for you and your Tinder date. Before you take the plunge, let’s talk financials, because there are a few fiduciary matters to take into account before moving out.
Got a Budget?
Start saving and budgeting for a few months before you move out. Practice sticking to a budget that includes what you would spend on rent plus monthly transportation, food, and reasonable lifestyle expenses – then put the rest into a savings account. This will give you a great cushion for when you finally take the plunge. Speaking of….
Do You Have Enough in Your Bank Account?
Once you’re paying rent every month, the amount of disposable income in your life is going to dwindle rapidly. Any emergency payments – car repairs, doctor’s visits – are most likely going to come out of your savings. Also consider the major costs of moving itself: most NYC landlords expect first and last month’s rent plus a security deposit (three months rent right there), plus a potential brokers fee and the miscellaneous moving and furniture costs. It ain’t cheap.
Will Your Job Support Your New Lifestyle?
It might seem like your full-time minimum wage job is supporting you now, but that might not be the case once you’re paying rent every month. Industry standards say that renters should not be paying more than 40% of their income on their rent. Try to stay under that number.
How Bad Is Your Debt Situation?
If you have a substantial amount of student loan or credit card debt and living at home isn’t overwhelmingly oppressive, consider staying with your parents a little longer to minimize that burden. In my experience (both my own and with friends), parents are more willing to have an adult child loafing around as long as they are making an effort to pay down their debts.
Does Credit Score Matter?
Short answer? Yes. Often the first thing to take a hit when you move out of your parents house is your credit score. Utility bills and credit card minimums can tend to seem less important than toilet paper or that last happy hour drink. Don’t fall into this trap! Pay your bills on time, period. Your future self will thank you.