Young Adults Survival Guide To Moving Back Home – Part 2: Set A Timeframe to Independence

This blog is part 2 in a 5 part series talking about my real-life experience moving in with my in-laws for a time.  Read part 1.

This step, in hindsight, I think is most crucial in the process of moving back in. 

When my wife and I first sat down with her parents to pitch the idea, I was a little unsure of how the meeting would go.  To ease what could have been a tense moment of uncertainty for both couples, we and her parents, I knew it was best to be as precise as possible with our request.  That is, we needed to set a SMART goal.

Perhaps you’ve heard of this acronym before, but a SMART goal stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.  I want to focus on specific and timely here.  Our specific goal was to take the opportunity of cutting our largest expense (rent and utilities) and use those funds to 1) save money for a down payment and cash reserves, and 2) pay down debt and/or eliminate monthly obligations.  To accomplish this goal, we asked for no more than 12 months of living with my wife’s parents. 

Why did we put a time frame on our goal instead of leaving it open-ended?  Simple…both families needed to know that this arrangement wasn’t going to be permanent, and that eased off a lot of the anxiety on both sides.  It added clarity to what could have been a confusing situation for all of us.  They, nor we, pictured ourselves at this juncture.  By setting a timeframe, we knew what we were signing up for, and for how long.     

Looking back on it, I think it was just as important for us to know our living arrangement wasn’t permanent as it was for her parents.  It kept us focused on what we really wanted…a place of our own, and that we would achieve that goal within a certain amount of time.  Come hell or high water, we were leaving in 12 months, so we better be ready!

Set a time frame.  Both you and your hosts will appreciate the clarity and definition in your relationship, and knowing there’s a deadline will motivate you to make the necessary steps to achieve your goal and stay on track.

Are you considering a move back home, or know someone who is? I’m happy to talk about more specifics and advice. Leave a comment, DM, or email me at

David Koch

David Koch

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