A reader asks: I’m 22 and live with my parents. They converted the upstairs of my dad’s shop into a small apartment with a bedroom, tiny living room, small bathroom and kitchenette. I don’t pay rent, and they pay my phone bill. I pay my car payment and insurance, and I work part time at a fast-food restaurant. Yesterday, my parents gave me an ultimatum: they are giving me two months to either 1) start paying $400 a month in rent, 2) start going to college full-time, or 3) move out. Whatever I choose, they will still cover my phone bill.
I’m freaking out! I’m just not sure what the best move for me is right now. I can’t afford $400 rent on a part-time income, but I hate my job, and I really don’t want to go full-time. I definitely can’t afford to live on my own right now, and even though my parents are willing to pay for me to go to college, I really hate academics. What should I do?
The Bonafide Broad answers: Well, I can’t tell you what to do, because I don’t know your whole situation. But I CAN give you some tips and pointers to help you make the best decision you can. I really feel for you. Big life changes are hard and quite scary, especially when it comes to striking out on your own for the first time.
That said, it seems to me that you have a pretty good situation on your hands. First, your parents haven’t given you a ridiculous ultimatum; they’ve given you three choices. Second, it sounds like they are being pretty reasonable, because they are still going to pay your phone bill no matter what you choose. Third, they are also willing to PAY for you to go to college, an opportunity not everyone has access to.
Even though it looks like you have three choices here, it might help to actually think of it as only two choices. You are either going to start working full-time (because you HAVE to if you choose option 1 or 2), or you are going to start going to school. Here’s my advice: You are an adult, and this is the perfect opportunity for you to start acting like one. That’s all your parents are trying to do here. So let’s just do a quick run down of each choice:
College: If I were in your shoes, I’d weigh which choice is going to benefit you the most and for the longest. I’d probably choose college, because that’s investing in your future. I know you say you hate academics, but guess what? You also said you hate working. So either way, you’re going to hate SOMETHING. Why not do the thing that benefits your future the most? It’s like voting for the president: you are basically just picking the least awful choice.
Going full-time: Now, if you just can’t get over how much you hate academics, then clearly college is not the right choice for you. If that’s the case, you’re going to have to go full-time, because you can’t afford to pay your parents rent, and you can’t afford to live on your own. So do whatever it is that you need to do to go full-time, and do it now. That may be going to your current employer and just asking for full-time hours, or it may involve switching careers. Whatever it looks like in your case, you need to get the ball rolling ASAP.
To stay or to go: So, if you’ve decided to go full-time, your next choice is: would you rather pay rent to your parents or get your own place? If you are basing your decision on what is most affordable, I’d suggest staying with your parents. But again, you are an adult, and you will likely need to take the step to get your own place at some point. Why not now? You need to do a little research and figure out exactly what it would cost for you to move out on your own. Because sometimes, even with a full-time job, people can’t afford to live by themselves. You may need to find a roommate.
As you can see, it’s not just simply choosing one of three options. You need to weigh out each option and how it will affect you, or if it’s even feasible. It might also help you to read this article, as it has some fantastic tips for goal-setting. The best part about all this is that your parents seem like pretty reasonable people. In fact, the amount of notice they’ve given you is on the high end of what is required of most tenants. They’ve given you several options, and they are still willing to help you financially, whatever you choose. So it stands to reason that if you take this ultimatum seriously, and you present them with a solid and well-researched plan, they may even be willing to give you some extra time. Either way, two months is enough time for you to be able to safely make a decision and implement it. Good luck!
What do you think, readers? Please try to be understanding, CONSTRUCTIVE, and stay on topic in your comments if possible!
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DISCLAIMER: The advice given on this blog is informational only and should not be relied upon as legal or medical advice. It should not be considered professional or expert advice or counsel, but rather, it should be viewed merely as the humble opinion of the writer. All advice given on this blog is only meant to provide a third party perspective while also protecting the privacy of the reader. It is always a good idea to seek the advice of an expert or professional before making important life decisions.