Strapped Twenty-Somethings Move Back with Mom

ByABC News
November 25, 2006, 6:23 PM

Nov. 26, 2006 — -- American students are leaving college with more than just a degree these days.  On average, graduates are entering the "real world" some $20,000 in debt.

Without the funds to live on their own, many graduates are returning home -- their parents' home.

Cathy Stocker, co-author of "The Quarterlifer's Crisis," says the trend of moving back home might be a good solution.

"Why spend a lot of money on rent as a twenty-something when you're still trying to pay off educational debt, when you may be trying to put some money aside for graduate school, when you may be just trying to start off on the right foot financially?" she asked.

Todd Townsend is 25 years old and still living with his mother.  He moved back into her home in New York's Adirondack Mountains after finding himself $50,000 in debt, primarily from student loans.

For many young adults, moving in with mom isn't their first choice. But Townsend felt he had few other options.

"I really pushed and tried to figure out what other situation I had at my fingertips," he said. "Where else could I go? What else could I do?"

Since 1970, the number of young adults moving back home has increased 50 percent. Nearly one in five twenty-somethings move back in with their parents at some point.

Like many parents, Darsie Townsend is taking on unexpected costs since her son moved back home just when she thought she was done paying his expenses.

In order to accommodate the incurred expenses that come with her son's return, Darsie is actually charging him minimal rent. She is also struggling to define her new role in her son's life.

"I'm a mom and I don't sit still very well," she said. "I'm always doing things, so he was yelling at me because I was doing his laundry."

"I think my exact words," he said, "were, 'Mom, I'm a grown man. Let me do my own damn laundry."

With the support of family, Townsend and many other young adults are slowly digging themselves out of debt.

He now has a job at a hotel and is starting to put a dent in the $50,000 hole he dug. While he's thankful for the free food and laundry his mother's home provides, he says he wants out as soon as possible.