Not So Empty Nests

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In Maryland and across the US, would-be empty nesters are opening their guestrooms up to their adult children. The number of households across the country with an “extra adult” jumped up by two million from 2007 to 2011. High unemployment rates among young people seem to be the main culprit.

Many of us broke twenty- and thirty-somethings can be thankful our parents didn’t share our life trajectories. For example, my father got a job and moved into an apartment at eighteen, bought a house at nineteen, got married at twenty-two, became a father at twenty-three, and started a coin shop at twenty-four. Me, I’m twenty-eight with $57,000 of college loan debt, and I don’t own anything more valuable than a guitar. (I guess you could say I was actually well-prepared for the downturn — I had been living in my own personal recession since college.)

Certainly, not everyone from my father’s generation took his path, and thankfully not everyone in my generation chose mine, but I see the underlying pattern of later starts and more debt in many of my peers. If my son has to mooch off me in thirty years, I wonder what I will have to offer him.

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