Forty-two percent of adults aged 20–29 live with their parents, according to Statistics Canada. Of those, Statistics Canada found that 90 percent don’t contribute to household expenses. Now, everyone’s situation is different, but I do believe that adults in their parents’ home should be contributing to the household. However, I don’t think that contribution should necessarily be monetary.
The young adult doesn’t always choose whether or not to pay rent; it’s also a decision made by the parent(s). This means that the decision is a combination of socio-economic status and choice. There are also young adults who no longer live at home, but are still financially supported — through rent, food, transportation, or even spending money — by their parents. It could even be the kid’s choice to leave, and the parent(s)’ to fund it. Those lucky bastards.
To put it bluntly, wealth makes or breaks the kinds of decisions families can afford to make. Some young adults can afford to move out, and some can’t. Some families can afford to house their children rent-free, and some can’t. Sadly, there’s no real way around that.
There are also parental ideals involved. My family is by no means rich, but my mother doesn’t require me to pay rent, even though I have offered to many times in the past. For her, as long as I’m in school, she wants my money to go towards my education and my life after school. But just because I don’t pay rent doesn’t mean I don’t contribute. I pay for groceries sometimes, and I pay my cell phone bill. Lumping all of us who don’t pay rent into a category akin to ‘freeloading’ isn’t fair.
I do most of the cooking in my house, along with a lot of the yard work and some household cleaning. Those hours are not free. Sadly, many people see us as mooches just because our assistance doesn’t come with a dollar sign.
I have lived on my own, paid all the bills and rent, and bought all my own food. I know it’s not easy, and young adults who can do all of that are admirable. Moving out, finding a place, and becoming a ‘real’ adult are all worthy of appreciation for someone’s ability to survive. Working several jobs and piling on student debt in order to afford a roof and school are life paths that many of us walk, but they are not the only roads through adulthood.
There are many young adults who live at home out of financial necessity, and we pay for that not with blood or sweat, but in tears. We can’t choose our families. I know people with families that are horrible to them, but they have to stay because they can’t afford to live anywhere else. For many of us struggling to find work or focusing our efforts on school, moving out just isn’t realistic.
While I agree that everyone should have to contribute in some fashion to the household, we shouldn’t be so narrow-minded as to assume the only contributions that are valuable are those with a dollar sign attached. So don’t call me a mooch.