Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts | 501 S. Sapodilla Ave, WPB, FL 33401


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Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts | 501 S. Sapodilla Ave, WPB, FL 33401


Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts | 501 S. Sapodilla Ave, WPB, FL 33401


Boomeranging back home

by Lexi Marcellino

Each spring, millions of seniors walk across a graduation stage, signifying the end of their high school tenure. The next fall, millions of freshmen walk into lecture halls, beginning their time at a university. Four years later, these freshmen turn into diploma-holding college graduates and officially enter the real world.

Yet, according to a July 2015 analysis by Richard Fry of the Pew Research Center, about two-thirds of Millennials were living on their own, meaning that one-third will end up returning home, living with Mom and Dad once again.

“It’s fiscally and socially respectable to be independent and not have to rely on your parents,” Florida State University alumni Lee Liufu said.

Because of this notion, most high school students probably cannot imagine this happening to them, or at least they wouldn’t want it to. But this phenomenon is so common that it has been coined as “boomeranging.” Students move out to go to college, graduate from college and live on their own for a short period of time, and then end up back where they started due to a variety of reasons, anything ranging from financial causes to the convenience of living at home.

Liufu graduated Florida State University in 2014 and is currently working as an engineer in Jacksonville, Florida. Since he left his home for college, Liufu has never moved back. While he believes that there is nothing wrong with moving back home after college, Liufu does have his reservations.

“It’s only okay if you’re looking for a job,” Liufu said. “If you graduated college and you’re doing nothing, then it’s not good.”

In our society, there is somewhat of a stigma surrounding boomerang kids. Did they really mess up that badly that they had to come home? Probably not. In an economic culture in which college graduates have high unemployment rates and low wages, coupled with student debt, it is perfectly understandable that living at home makes the most financial sense. According to a 2014 study by the Federal Reserve Board, the amount of young adults aged 18 to 31 currently living with their parents has reached 36 percent, up from 31 percent in 2005. The biggest cause was rising levels of student debt. Getting yourself through college financially is rough. A combination of student loans, self-payment, financial aid, scholarships, and income from a job seems to be the most common ways for students to jumble together the cost of tuition, along with room and board, and other college necessities. Still, debt is inevitable for many.

The economists behind the report explained, “Debt exerts a much greater influence on flows into parental co-residence than economic conditions, with the magnitude of the total effects of debt on average about twice as large as the effects of economic conditions.” With CNN concluding that over 40 million Americans live with student-loan debt, this makes a lot of sense.

After graduating from college, most students would champion the feeling of liberation, but this independence comes at a cost. Living on your own is expensive; rent, utilities, insurance, groceries, transportation, and other payments can prohibit an individual from having financial success on his or her own. All of this begs the question, “How are you expected to be paying off your debt, while also paying for everything necessary to live on your own?” And that is where being realistic comes in. After graduating from college and maybe a few years on your own, it might make the most financial sense to boomerang to your hometown. And in reality, it isn’t as bad as it sounds.

“It’s all good if they just need a place to cool down while looking for a job,” Liufu said.

The New York Times explains in a 2012 column that the living arrangements for boomerangers have been relatively decent. And their parents don’t mind, as about three-fourths of them receive contributions from their children for household expenses. The Times writes, “Parents whose children have moved back in with them are just as satisfied with their family life and housing situation as are those parents whose adult children have not moved back home.” It’s a win for both sides; parents get their kids back for a few months or years, and boomerangers have time to get back on their feet and get a job to gain some financial stability before flying the coop for good. While you may not want to live with your parents any more after 18 years, it can be quite practical.

For women, boomeranging is at its highest level since 1940 when according to Pew, 36.2 percent of women aged 18 to 34 lived with their parents. Three-quarters of a century later, that rate is at 36.4 percent. And for men, the rate of boomeranging exceeds that of women, but it has not reached the 1940s record high, when 47.5 percent lived at home during the post-Great Depression recovery. These numbers are staggering, but still, not all people leave college to come back home as a graduate.

University of Miami alumna (‘15)  Megan Spears did not move home after completing her education. Rather, she became the Human Resources Coordinator at the W Boston Hotel.

“I think moving away is good for graduates to get out of their comfort zone,” Spears said. “I chose to move away from home because there were more career options in other states and for the opportunity to experience new places and people. If someone has the choice, I would encourage them to move away for a while, but still stay connected with your loved ones at home.”

In the 21st Century, a college education is almost necessary to succeed financially. After graduating from college, or even a few years post-graduation, financial instability can lead to boomeranging for many individuals. This isn’t catastrophic, as some would believe. Rather, going back home is a common sense measure to ensure that you don’t fall into complete financial distress. Moving out only to move back in obviously isn’t optimal, but for some, it’s the best option.

“There are many routes that college students take post-graduation depending on their financial, professional, and personal interests,” Spears said. “For some graduates, moving home can be a smart option in order to save money and enjoy the comforts of home while facing the obstacles of starting a new job and gaining independence.”

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About the Contributor
Alex Gordon
Alex Gordon, Managing Editor
Communications junior Alex Gordon is a Cover Editor and second-year staffer on The Muse. Aside from journalism, Gordon is a member of the Dreyfoos Speech and Debate Team, where he is the president, and was ranked last year as one of the top sophomores in Florida. He is also the vice president of ThinkPINK, and is an attorney for the Palm Beach County Youth Court program. In his free time, he enjoys swimming, watching Netflix, and reading. In the future, Gordon aspires to have a career in law, politics, or sports management. He looks forward to advancing his journalistic abilities with The Muse for the next two years.
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    Alberta BriggsMar 30, 2016 at 8:00 am

    It is all true but it is also true that most of the collage graduates have absolutely no life experience and after they take they diplomas they have absolutely no idea what to do. Finding a good job is not easy and takes time until everybody can afford and can adopt to a life on their own. I was also very weak when I graduated university and had to live with my parents until I was able to start my own business ( Everything is very subjective.