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Ask Dave

Should I Move into My Mom's House?

Katy is 23 with no debt and going into her last year of college. Her mom has offered to let Katy move in with her. Is moving back in with her mom a good idea?

QUESTION: Katy in San Antonio is 23 with no debt and going into her last year of college. Her mom has offered to let Katy move in with her. Is moving back in with her mom a good idea?

ANSWER: I don’t think you’re in wealth-building mode where you are today. You’re still trying to eke your way through school. The level of your savings doesn’t concern me. If you get through school and don’t save anything except enough to get through school, which includes student teaching in this discussion, then I’m fine with that. If you come out of college debt-free but broke, I’m okay with that. But debt-free with more money would be better, but I don’t have any problem with that either. And if you can live with Mom and it doesn’t present any control issues or relational issues or those sorts of things and you have an exit date—this is just a temporary thing.

Yeah, I would try it. I would try it. Eighteen months is fine. I fuss at grown kids living in Mommy’s basement unless there’s an exit plan and unless it’s a temporary thing. Eight months sounds temporary. Let’s just put the caveat on there that if it gets a little uncomfortable, you’ve got the option to move out. You’re not stuck there because you’ve got the money, and you can just go get you an apartment and a roommate. If it gets uncomfortable, you could get an apartment and a roommate and go back to saving money again. Move into a two-bedroom apartment and bring in a roommate, and you’d still be able to pocket some money over what you’re doing right now.

It’s okay to do that. Have an exit that’s fairly soon. Eighteen months is fairly soon. Don’t look up and still be there three years from now. You need more adult dignity than that, and she needs to move on with her life, too.

Sharon and I are down to three dogs, and it’s pretty good. The last one’s gone, and we love them and we love them at a distance.

It’s okay to do that, and you can give your mom company. You guys can be there for each other, but if you start—let’s say you got into a relationship, and somehow that started causing some conflict or something and it just caused weirdness, then you may need your own place. Just be prepared to do that if something changes during the 18 months and then put a limit on it. And both of you be in agreement as to what is included here—what the expectation is. Don’t move over there and then she says, “Oh, by the way, I want you to pay rent.” Maybe even a little one-page memo of understanding. It’s not a contract, but it’s just where we both know what we’re saying. That wouldn’t hurt anything either because I just don’t want anybody to be mad later because one person thought one thing and another person thought another thing. These misunderstandings mess things up for folks.