Thoughtfully prepare before spreading your wings

Illustration by Sam Reeves

By Alexis Steagall, Editor in Chief

Leaving home right after graduation can put a huge stress on life. Sure, moving can be difficult for anyone, but for newly independent adults, they are quite literally opening a door to a fresh start.

Moving out directly after high school isn’t the best option for everyone, especially if you still happen to be underage. In fact, 32.1 percent of people between the ages of 18-34 still live with their parents according to 2016 Pew Research Center report.

The number of teens and young adults choosing to stay at home is steadily increasing rather than decreasing. One of the most prevalent factors is the rising prices within our community. As prices of basic needs constantly rise, it becomes difficult to be truly independent. Due to this, it is not uncommon to stay at home until it is clear a teen can support themselves.

On the contrary, some teens find themselves in situations where relationships with guardians may be tense and have negative effects on their mental and/or physical health. In this case, it is important to find alternative options of housing. For those who need a bit of extra help in finding ways to leave the nest, here are a few steps to get started.

Step one: Money plays a big part in finding a new place to call home. It is important to find a steady job before packing belongings and leaving. If finding a job proves to be difficult, there are many job searching websites that can alert you when a job matches your skills and needs. Within these searches, you can customize the type of job and salary you are looking for.

Once a stable job is acquired, it is recommend to save three times the amount needed per month. Say rent is $600 a month. To play it on the safe side, your monthly income should rest between $1500 to $1800 to support other needs and bills. You never know when an emergency may occur and your rent money runs short.

Step two: Landlords will check your credit score before even considering renting to you. As a teen, many do not have an established score. In order to build this, many banks recommend signing up for an interest free credit card. The easiest way to make sure your score stays in the green area of 600-750 is to simply make purchases. These purchases can be either big or small, but should be paid off immediately after buying the item. Do not buy things you don’t have the money for, or you may end up in debt and chances of your credit score dropping will increase.

Step three: If costs and credit scores prove to be a problem, consider getting a roommate. Living with a roommate means that rent should automatically be cut in half. It also means that you won’t have to live a solitary life. Roommates can easily become best friends if chosen wisely. It is strongly recommended to consider someone you already know and trust.

Step four: Research and develop a strong plan before making any drastic and impulsive decisions. If you are even considering moving out, you need to take it slow and make sure everything lines up perfectly, or you may find yourself in sticky situations. Make sure potential properties are safe and check out reviews. Research and talk to your landlord or realtor about any questions. And much as you want to skip over reading the contracts, don’t. You never know what could be hidden between the lines.

Leaving the nest is a huge step into adulthood, but it needs to be carefully planned before even coming into consideration. If possible, talk to parents about the steps they took, and see if they are willing to help. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to get out of the house to put an end to abuse/negative energy, reach out to local shelters and hotlines for aid. More than anything, ensure that you are ready and prepared for this leap into independence.