Pros & Cons of Moving in With Relatives

You can't pick your relatives, but you can decide whether to live with them.
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An age-old method for making decisions involves sitting down with a piece of paper and listing the pros on one side, the cons on the other. The longest list wins. If you are considering moving in with relatives rather than getting a place of your own, you probably have good reasons for doing so. But think about what you would have to give up.

1 You'll Save a Fortune

Saving money is the most common reason people move in with relatives, according to the website CatholicMatch. If the recession is putting a financial squeeze on you, decide how much you would need to save to make living with your family worth it. If you are moving in with mom and dad, they may cover the bills, while you pay something toward rent. If you move in with your brother and his wife, they might expect half the mortgage. If that's the case, save yourself the grief. Find an apartment. Get a roommate.

2 You'll Have Great Stuff

If you move in with mom and dad, you will have access to cool stuff you can't afford. Your laptop monitor is nothing compared to that 60-inch LCD television on their family room wall. Their recliner beats your desk chair hands down. As for their washer and dryer, the laundromat can't compare. If you're lucky, mom will take care of a load here and there.

3 You'll Live Under Their Roof

When you move back to the old homestead, it might feel as though you never left. Everyone could fall into the roles they held before. No matter how old you are, those patterns are hard to break. Brace yourself for that inevitable moment when someone asks, "Where are you going?" "What time will you be home?" "Do I know his family?"

4 You'll Lose Your Privacy

Is there anything you'd rather your parents not know? If so, kick the habit or accept that it will become common knowledge. The first time you come home from a nasty day at work and pour yourself a drink, the relative you live with will be on the phone, calling your mom to tell her you have a drinking problem. Forget inviting friends over – unless, of course, you don't mind grandma taking a seat beside you on the sofa. You might not have privacy with a roommate, but at least he won't call your mother.

5 Make an Escape Plan

If you do live with relatives, set ground rules. If your family needs to reach you when you're out, they can call your cell. You are not going to give them a detailed itinerary. Establish that your room is your space, and no one should enter without asking permission. If you are not contributing financially, figure out how to assist the household -- help with chores, cook meals or babysit. This reminds everyone that you are not a kid anymore. For the sake of sanity, keep a goal in mind – know when you are moving out.

Beverly Bird has been writing professionally since 1983. She is the author of several novels including the bestselling "Comes the Rain" and "With Every Breath." Bird also has extensive experience as a paralegal, primarily in the areas of divorce and family law, bankruptcy and estate law. She covers many legal topics in her articles.