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A 28-year-old accountant on why he chose to move back in with his parents

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

As we've been reporting, the pandemic, inflation and higher costs of living are forcing many young adults to move back home. Here's the story of a Denver accountant who moved into his parents' basement. And, as you might expect, it sort of cramped his love life. NPR's Claire Murashima has the story.

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CLAIRE MURASHIMA, BYLINE: Eric Salazar is 28 and likes hanging out at punk rock concerts and drag shows.

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MURASHIMA: He was doing all right until...

ERIC SALAZAR: I broke up with my girlfriend of, like, three years.

MURASHIMA: Natasha Pilkauskas teaches public policy at the University of Michigan.

NATASHA PILKAUSKAS: One of the things that causes people to move in together often is some sort of crisis.

MURASHIMA: And for Eric, that meant moving into his parents' basement. And it was easy.

SALAZAR: I didn't need to go, like, sign a new lease or anything like that.

MURASHIMA: A quarter of 25- to 34-year-olds live in multigenerational family households.

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MURASHIMA: In Eric's case, he hopes to buy the whole place one day. He's an accountant with a master's degree and says he can't do much to increase his earning potential. He invests around 60% of his income but says he'll likely have to rent out the rooms to make ends meet once he owns the house. His parents don't charge him rent.

SALAZAR: Because, I think, part of the idea is that, like, if Eric can save, then it puts him, like, closer to being able to afford a down payment on a house.

MURASHIMA: Still, moving back in was an adjustment.

SALAZAR: Even though you're 28 or, like, even though I'm getting close to 30 - right? - your parents are still your parents. They still see you as their kid. I had, like, this expectation that I was like, oh, man, I must be a real loser to be back in my parents' house, right? And then, like, I was, like, embarrassed to bring someone over - right? - because that - you know, it's like a mark of failure.

MURASHIMA: Now he's back on the dating scene and says that deleting dating apps has improved his love life. He's been meeting people through friends and has found them to be more understanding of his living situation.

SALAZAR: Dating apps are, like, the worst thing for you. For me, personally, like, it commodifies your self-worth in a very dangerous way.

MURASHIMA: He says the apps made him more lonely despite the sea of options.

SALAZAR: It doesn't actually put you in a community of people who like the same stuff you like. When you have a sense of community with people that you enjoy being around, you're much more likely to find successful relationships and partners.

MURASHIMA: Meeting the parents is usually something that happens later in relationships. But when your parents are your roommates, that's not always the case.

SALAZAR: I don't want that, like, meet-the-parents moment where it's like, hey, Mom, look at this person, and it's, like, the second time you've ever see me.

MURASHIMA: And he's had some awkward moments.

SALAZAR: Me and my friends had a board games night. And she spent the night at my place. And so, like, she was up before I was. And then when my parents were home, they were like, oh, hey, you (laughter).

MURASHIMA: Despite the uncomfortable moments, he says living with his parents is mostly positive. His situation allows him to save money for the day when he does buy the house. For now, he plans to replace some of their old kitchen appliances as a Christmas gift this year.

Claire Murashima, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF BLACK FLAG'S "SCREW THE LAW") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Claire Murashima
Claire Murashima is a production assistant on Morning Edition and Up First. Before that, she worked on How I Built This, NPR's Team Atlas and Michigan Radio. She graduated from Calvin University.