Back in the nest: an agonising tale that's completely lacking in ecstasy
Adults are flocking back to the family nest now times are tough, writes Alison O'Riordan
'So, is it your place or my parents'?" This is the question many penniless young men and women are being forced to ask at the end of a night as a result of having once flown the coop but now come home to roost. There are more young people than ever living under their parents' roofs. But times are tough, and when needs must, there seems to only be one answer and that is to pack up and head back to the bedroom of your 12-year-old self.
There are many who argue that moving back home with your parents after entering the real world is somehow synonymous with failure. But these "boomerang kids" are in over their heads in financial woes and running out of money fast, despite working in well-paid jobs.
Twenty-nine-year-old Alice Dorman is a qualified dentist, earning a good salary. She bought her apartment in the exclusive Grange complex in Stillorgan in September 2006 and moved in last year.
At the time it was only a one-bedroom apartment that Alice could afford, but she didn't mind. She was working two jobs to pay her mortgage, so it made it all seem worthwhile. "It made the seven years in college worth it, seeing as I could afford a mortgage on my own and not have to rely on anyone else," she adds. However, since the economic slump and the pay cuts to the public service, the once affordable fixed-rate mortgage that Alice choose three years ago is not so affordable anymore. "Since I work in the HSE, I have been hugely affected by the pay cuts in the public service. It's just become too much of a struggle and stress to pay all the bills and large mortgage," she says.
And so Alice is forced to move home to her parents' and get the majority of the mortgage paid by a tenant. "It makes more sense for me to rent it out. I'm only 29, and this time of our lives is supposed to be relatively fun and not stressful regarding money worries. At the moment, with the mortgage fixed at 4.89 per cent, there's no way to keep paying it and everything else with the new pay cuts we'll see in our wages," she adds. Alice is not alone: many empty nests have begun filling again.
A young man, who does not want to named, explains what it's like being a bachelor with mum in the next room. "Ending a fantastic date with the line, 'fancy coming back to my mum's place?' is doing very little for my ego . . . or my sex life for that matter. Fresh out of university five years ago, I had it all worked out: embark upon a successful career, save up for a while, buy a nice apartment. After the cold wind of the recession blew abruptly into my life, leaving me jobless, I was forced to move back home," he says.
Fortunately, his parents welcomed him home with open arms and, despite feeling like a failure at first, his return to the nest was blissful. But the euphoria started to fade as soon as he became aware of the drawbacks.
"Living with two parents of retirement age means I almost never have the luxury of a 'free house', which has obviously impacted negatively on my sex life. Once, I woke up after a one-night stand, and I found my 'date' having a natter over tea with my mum in the kitchen," he says.
Twenty-four-year-old Orla Gogan works in insurance and moved out of her parents' home in Templeogue at the beginning of August last year. She wanted to gain more independence and experience living on her own before getting a mortgage. However, a few months down the line, Orla ended up returning to the parents' nest.
"It was a personal choice to move back home and save money as I wasn't very financially comfortable, especially around Christmas time. And at that stage I had been living there for six months and I was fed up being broke. I knew I'd never be able to save for my own place if I continued renting, so I thought the best thing would be to move back home. The downsides are not having as much independence, and having a boyfriend means we don't get as much time on our own as there's always a full house," she says.