As more twentysomethings refuse to move out of the house, pundits blame the economy. But what if they just don’t want to leave — or grow up?
- Last Updated: 4:27 AM, June 17, 2012
- Posted: 10:12 PM, June 16, 2012
When Jason Siegel, 23, graduated from Lafayette College two years ago, he was in a better position than most people his age: He had a job lined up in Manhattan (he works as an energy engineer), a decent starting salary of $50,000 a year and a stable relationship with his long-term girlfriend.
Siegel is still at the job and still with his girlfriend, and — as he was two years ago, upon graduating college — still living at home in Westchester with his mom and dad.
To which the average functioning adult would say: Why?
“I didn’t want to start a new job and move at the same time,” Siegel says. “It was too much transition, two huge changes at once.”
So, as he has since 2010, Siegel commutes 45 minutes each way on Metro-North, averages about nine hours a day at the office, then heads home to the suburbs, where he goes to the gym, has some dinner and hangs around the living room with his folks.
It’s not quite the romantic, bohemian ideal of being young in New York that’s prevailed for decades, but Siegel and his peers don’t care. They’re not interested in sharing in a tiny walk-up in Long Island City with two other people or sacrificing premium pay-cable packages or dinner at Babbo to pay the cellphone bill.
“Living at home contributes to a much higher quality of life for me,” says another gainfully employed 23-year-old. He’s not ashamed of his situation, he insists, though he asked to remain anonymous. “I can travel without worrying about money. I go out to not the cheapest dinners, often. It’s especially good. I don’t have to think, ‘Is this dinner next week’s rent?’ ”
“I don’t have to cook my own meals or shop for clothes — my mom picks up stuff for me,” says personal trainer Amanda Shugar, 23. She works in Rye and has a 12-minute commute. “I’ve been mentally preparing myself for moving out. It’s a scary thing.”
“I have a very good home environment,” Siegel adds. “My parents let me come and go as I please.”
Lest you think Siegel is an outlier, he reports that the majority of his friends — all college-educated, all from wealthy backgrounds, all gainfully employed right out of school — moved back in with their parents upon graduating.
Siegel’s older sister, now 29, also spent her first year post-college living at home. Their father owns a small business, and their mother, a former ballerina, is a dance instructor. Again, not unusually, Siegel wasn’t asked to contribute to the household — no rent, no chores, no running of errands.
“I don’t think any of my friends were asked to contribute,” he says. “I would’ve been fine either way. I think a lot of it depends on a family’s financial situation. Westchester’s relatively wealthy.”Follow @NYPostOpinion