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Dear Julia,

Do you have any advice in terms of trying to find my independence while still living at home as a 30+ year-old who is also trying to save money?



Dear Y,

First of all, kudos to you for living at home to save money. It’s a hard choice to make but sometimes it’s the right one for our long-term success.

Now, let’s talk about boundaries.

As someone who has also lived with their parents as an adult, I found that the biggest barrier to independence in that situation was a lack of clear boundaries. The boundaries that you have with your parents/guardians/family members when you are younger and dependent on them are different from those that are needed as adults. That may mean a shift in mindset not only for yourself but for your parents/guardians/family members as well.

Of course, I’m not advocating for a lack of respect or to turn your relationship into a roommate situation as those tactics do not serve you in the long run. Living with your family as an adult actually presents the opportunity to grow your relationship with them in a different manner.

There are two keys for setting boundaries that will stick with your family. The first is being firm. Introduce your family to the boundaries that you want to set in place. Set them respectfully but firmly. If they try to push the boundaries, firmly and kindly remind them of your wishes. Remember to practice compassion as this can be very challenging for them as it is essentially transforming how they view you.

The second key is to remain consistent. If you are giving mixed signals about your boundaries and how important they are to you, it will be confusing for both parties and become murky yet again. You must consistently keep to your boundaries even when it may seem difficult. This consistency will eventually set a pattern in place and your family will hopefully become accustomed to it.

If you are being firm and consistent with your boundaries but are finding that your parents are not viewing you as an independent adult, it may be time to examine your independence. Are you heavily relying on them for things that you would have to do on your own if you lived outside of their home? If so, make sure you are taking steps to regain your independence in that realm. Your parents will notice and follow suit.

However, relationships are challenging, and you may be finding that perhaps the money saved is not worth the headache that comes along with it. If you’re finding that it’s too overwhelming and you’re not able to live your life fully, it may be time to fly the nest. Inner peace is priceless.