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You want to move out, but can you afford to live alone?

Sunday, June 16, 2019

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You have a great relationship with your parents and up to now they have gone above and beyond to provide for you. But chances are this won't last forever and now you're thinking maybe it's time to move out before you're put out.

For most people, living alone is a sign of maturity and increasing responsibility; leaving the proverbial nest to see the world from a perspective that is unobstructed and uniquely your own. But, before you move into your own place, consider that it may be more responsible to continue living with your parents, if even just a while longer.

Moving out can be liberating, but the financial toll that comes with it can be significant, especially for the unprepared.

Regular expenses that were previously taken care of by your parent or guardian (or at the very least shared between them and you) have now wholly become your responsibility.

Suddenly, that cable package with the premium channels and that grocery list that includes your three favourite cereals don't seem so reasonable anymore.

Even in an area that has relatively affordable rent, for example, Portmore or other less central communities, this will still consume a relatively decent chunk of your pay cheque monthly, particularly coming from a situation where you may not have been required to pay rent. This becomes even more burdensome if you do not have a roommate and are required to pay first and last month's rent, and maybe even a security deposit (for a place that is likely unfurnished or has little furniture).

You begin to look at utilities as a recurring monthly expense and realise just how good you had it even if you had to share a bathroom with your brother who took entirely too long in the shower and mother who complained if you left hair in the drain.

Now, let's factor in the essentials such as electricity, water and internet (yes, this is 2019)and then maybe some 'luxuries' like cable, air conditioning and a washing machine, because your mom did the laundry and you have no idea how to make clothes go 'scrupse' to ensure they're clean; you fast realise this is a lot more expensive than initially thought.

That is just looking at these expenses in a broad sense because the breakdown can be quite significant when taken in the grand scheme of things. For instance, electricity and water can easily run you $10,000 when combined, depending on your appliances and usage. The same goes for cable and internet plus possible maintenance fees, gas for a stove, and hire purchase bill for that furniture you just assumed would turn up.

Before you think we're through, consider that we have yet to discuss personal expenses such as food, clothing, potential credit card bills, and student and/ or car loans! Also, because we are being responsible adults, please note that the added assurances of health and life insurance also come at a cost.

Unless you are fortunate enough to have a well-paying job, you may end up with 'too much month at the end of your pay' as these expenses may be more than one person can handle, particularly if you did not have to deal with this prior.

So, before you bid farewell to co-habiting with the 'parental units', take a calculated look at what your expenses are, what your additional incidentals may total and see if you are truly ready for the big move. It's better to have not moved out as a personal choice than to have moved out and be forced to move back because of personal finances.


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