Author Topic: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?  (Read 12626 times)

Ricky

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Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« on: January 04, 2015, 10:16:07 PM »
America, and much of the world, is decidedly single. Single person households make up the majority of the pie in urban areas. Living alone could be so liberating and free, but obviously not cheap. Studies have shown that singles average more spending per year than their married counterparts. This makes sense, considering singles are spending more money to have social interaction and to eventually land the right person. Mustachian or not, I think these figures would hold true.

I have never lived alone and dont know for sure that I would, but I recognize it as a luxurious option that is available. It may not even be that luxurious when you think of all the benefits that could come from living alone. But I think I liken an experience of living alone to paying for education more so than a frivolous purchase. Living alone, you can get more things that you want to get done, and more efficiently. I also think there are other intangible benefits here, but being able to get things done in the peace and quiet of your own dwelling is arguably the greatest benefit.

I don't think I'd be happy living alone unless it was in a very walkable, dense area. This means more money. At what points are the benefits worth the costs? I think I'd have to have a very high paying job to justify the costs. Housing could cost anywhere bereeen $1,400-$2,500.

I guess I'm just trying to imagine a scenario in which one could get the most out of their twenties without wasting critical wealth building years. I'm sure there are plenty of those here who live on their own and others who have roommates, so I'd be curious to hear why you went the route you did.

Thoughts?



lostamonkey

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2015, 10:36:10 PM »
I live alone but I realize it's a luxury which I am willing to pay for. I don't enjoy travel and my parents live in the same city so I spend almost nothing on travel unlike some of the other Mustachians on this forum (see the travel thread). I really like living alone and I don't see myself giving it up till I am married or in a very serious relationship. I know that this will delay FI by a few years but I am okay with this and still maintain a fairly high savings rate.

You can get a good studio/small one bedroom in a walkable dense area for alot less than $1400 in most places IMO.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2015, 10:38:40 PM by lostamonkey »

mxt0133

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2015, 10:44:44 PM »
I lived alone and with a roommate when I was single.  When I lived alone I was barely home, worked, went to grad school, and went out a lot.  It was same when I had a roommate.  The only difference was that my expenses were cut in half and I found I spent a bit more time at home because there was someone there to actually talk to and share a meal with.  Learned a lot from both experiences but if I had to do it all over again I would definitely do my best to live with a roommate.  I enjoy good company but I can also keep myself entertained if my roommate is not as social.  The savings you can achieve by splitting rent, utilities, even food (buying in bulk) adds up.  I think it is very inefficient to have a one bedroom just for one person, mind you I currently live in a one bedroom with my wife and two toddlers.


deborah

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2015, 12:03:52 AM »
I lived alone in my twenties. I was in a flat on the top of a set of stairs, and towards the end a father bought the flat on the top of the stairs next to mine for his son and a friend. I remember contrasting myself with them. I had become independent - they weren't. Despite having two left thumbs, I had become handy, and was prepared to fix anything that went wrong. I knew if I didn't do something, it wouldn't get done. I believe I wouldn't be FIRE today if I had not been single and living alone in my 20s.

marty998

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2015, 12:22:56 AM »
I live alone but I realize it's a luxury which I am willing to pay for. I don't enjoy travel and my parents live in the same city so I spend almost nothing on travel unlike some of the other Mustachians on this forum (see the travel thread). I really like living alone and I don't see myself giving it up till I am married or in a very serious relationship. I know that this will delay FI by a few years but I am okay with this and still maintain a fairly high savings rate.

Except for the travel bit you took the words right out of me, exactly what I would post had you not done so already.

Shacking up would do wonders for my time to FI, but in the absence of that I don't consider my total spending of $14k a year to be too much of a "singles penalty".

B-May

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2015, 12:45:38 AM »
I'm in my late twenties and I've never lived alone. Sometimes I fantasised about it, but it probably (hopefully) won't happen now that I'm shacked up. Went from living on res and sharing a kitchen with 30 other people in first year uni, to housemates, to living with my partner.

It's definitely a lot cheaper splitting the costs, at least here in Melbourne, and where I used to live in Vancouver. While they might top the lists of the most "liveable" cities in the world, they're not exactly cheap.

My happiness has varied: your housemates/roommates are important! Some become lifelong friends, others can make you insanely miserable. Thankfully I only had to deal with 1 year of horrible housemates, and that was a while ago.

My landlord in Canada was in his mid-twenties and owned and lived in the house. It was a larger house (two story, seven bedrooms, two kitchens) that his parents had helped him buy a few years before, but he rented out all the rooms and managed it and we were paying off his mortgage and more and he had pretty much already retired. It was a pretty sweet deal for him.

acorn

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2015, 01:54:38 AM »
I'm in my twenties, and I'm currently living alone. I've lived with roommates/housemates for 5 years, which was great for cutting costs, esp for rent/utilities/groceries. But my introverted nature took over and I moved out to my own place. I've been living alone for a few years now and it's one of the best things I've done. I have all 200 sq ft to myself, my own kitchen, privacy, no obligation to interact with other people, no worry about housemates paying bills late. Living alone gives you a lot of freedom, but you also need to be independent. No one's going to help you fix that leaking tap or bubble-wrap your windows during winter. And depending on how social your housemates are, you could also be saving a bunch from impromptu household takeout sessions/restaurant outings/bar outings/etc etc by living alone.

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2015, 02:05:30 AM »
As an introvert, I have to say that living alone is one of the bestest things about my life. I've lived with other people in the past and I think I'd have to love the hell out of another person to share living space with them in the future.

Yes, it's a luxury but so worth the sacrifice of extra cost. Every day I think how lucky I am to not have to put up with other people in my sanctuary from the world. It's just me and the dogs. I don't even particularly like to have people over to my place...

limeandpepper

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2015, 03:08:35 AM »
I am also an introvert, but I have no problem living with others, I am happy to stay in my room most of the time and leave the living room to my housemates. I've never lived alone, and though I have experienced the loveliness of what it was like e.g. when my housemates go on holidays, ultimately, I am happy to live with people to cut costs. The other benefit is that of safety and convenience, when you live with other people you watch out for each other to some extent. You never know if you might encounter, say, an unexpected medical emergency or whatnot, and it's comforting to know that there are other people in the house who will likely notice soon enough and get help.

Of course, having bad housemates can make your life frustrating or even hellish, but choose carefully and it can be a great way to stay in a nice place, in a nice location, at an affordable price - these are elements that I value more than absolute solitude, but everyone is different.

xenon5

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2015, 03:38:33 AM »
I'm divided on this too.  I had terrible roommates for the first 2 years of college, then I found a good one in year 3 and we got an apartment off campus for year 4.  We were a good match, also introvert types, and it was also nice to have another intelligent person around to bounce ideas off of.  Somehow his mom found us a perfect apartment in brooklyn with a skyline view of manhattan and we paid way under market to live there.  It was still too much money to take on the rent solo, so I moved back in with my parents after college.  I miss it so. 


I live with my parents now and he lives in another city.  If I move out and go the roommate route, I have to find another good match.  On the other hand, I've always wanted to live alone.  It seems like it would make romantic pursuits a little easier too.  I have some neighborhoods in mind where I can get a studio at a great rate while still being close to downtown and public transportation.  For now, I'm with parents, even though I honestly hate the area.  There's very little to do within walking distance and public transit is crappy too.  But I've just about paid off my student loans, and then I can max out those tax deferred accounts for 2015.

Nudelkopf

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2015, 04:49:42 AM »
I'm 23. I lived on campus for 3 years (always in a single room, with a shared bathroom in first year, but then an en suit for the second two years). Then spent the next 3 years living in partially furnished houses with 2-3 other girls.

I think I'd get lonely living by myself... And then I'd have to buy stuff which is currently communal (e.g. microwave, toaster, TV, coaches, dining table, washing machine, etc) (Let's be honest, I pretty much only own a bed and a desk)

Living in a share house is how I imagine my life for the next maybe 10 years, and then move in with possible future partner. It's cheaper, and staves off loneliness.

chasesfish

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2015, 04:55:35 AM »
I think part of your question depends on how much more you can earn in a larger city in your profession?  For me, it was a simple economics calculation of moving to a larger city.

In my industry, working your butt off in your 20's resulted in nice raises and a high on-going salary by the end of my 20's.  I had to move to an urban area and spend a bit more, but having my salary double over 5 years made this well worth it.  My 30 something self is very thankful for how hard my 20 something self worked.


ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2015, 05:07:16 AM »
Saving in your twenties means you're better able to pay for a house and kids (not that they need to be that expensive) when you do shack up.

JLee

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2015, 07:27:31 AM »
This is such an individual question; I can understand people wanting to live alone, but I wouldn't want to.  I have briefly (when I first bought my house, and for some time in between roommates) but I love the roommates I have now. Living alone would be lonely.

Philociraptor

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2015, 07:35:43 AM »
25 here, married, and living with roommate (soon to be roommates). We bought a house 2.5 years ago ($110k, mortgage around $1k/mo) and have been renting out extra rooms ever since. Its a 4-bedroom house so at times we've had 4 roommates (one lived in the den) and at times 1. They’re all friends from high school or family, so we tend to get along. Other than them hoarding dirty dishes in their rooms, leaving their desktop computers and TV’s on all day, being too loud after sundown (though they get quiet when we ask), and showering for 45 minutes, we've had no real issues. Increased utility usage is easily covered by the modest rent they pay us, and the extra income has helped immensely. Have you thought about buying a house and renting the extra room(s) for awhile?

thedayisbrave

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2015, 09:00:27 AM »
My thread "Buying a House the Mustachian way" was largely about this subject. 

I live alone now, but up until a few months ago have lived w/ roommates (owning the property, and having the roomies pay me rent).  IMO, this small sacrifice is worth it to me.  I've learned it depends largely on the roommates and that if I'm living there, I have to be choosier about who I want to live with.  I've lived with so many different kinds of people, that I have a good idea of who I get along with and who I don't (more about lifestyle than personality to me at least).

I'm an introvert, and yes I value my alone time.  But that doesn't mean I want to be alone 100% of the time.  It's a delicate balance and largely depends on the person. 

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lostamonkey

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2015, 10:55:05 AM »
Deb, Marty, B-May, acorn, pants- I agree with all your posts.

I did the math for myself and living alone till I get married will cost me about $75K total more than living with roommates after taxes. I am making a few assumptions as to the age I'll get married, tax rates, and costs and I assumed that all savings from roommates would be invested in the market. I think this number is reasonable, and I am willing to make this sacrifice.

cashstasherat23

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2015, 11:09:09 AM »
I am pondering this very question right now. I currently live in an apartment with two (very non-mustachian) roommates, and pay $800 for rent, plus another $70-80 for utilities. I am looking at a 1 bedroom studio apartment about 10 minutes away from my current apartment, total of $850 with utilities included. I am leaning towards this as I very much enjoy a clean and quiet home base, and the roommates are not very clean/considerate. Will be making a decision on the move by the end of this week. 

I also have the option to move back home rent-free for a few months, but the commute would be 1.5 hours each way, 3 hours total. For reference, the current apartment is a 15 minute commute and then new 1bd would be a 35 minute commute.

I think that for me moving to my own space is the right thing to do, although my mother has me worried that I will be lonely there. However, it is less expensive and I will be able to implement other money saving tactics, ie getting gym equipment and leaving my gym membership, if I have my own space. It may not be the most mustachian to have my own apartment vs living with roommates, but I think it is one place that I am willing to spend money on.

I also travel quite a bit, so could turn my 1bd into a nice side hustle with AirBNB, as I'm right across the river from NYC, only about a 25 minute bus ride. 
« Last Edit: January 05, 2015, 12:46:20 PM by kwaz29 »

dantownehall

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2015, 11:57:52 AM »
I'm 28, and I've been at both ends of the specturm on this one.

When I was in college, I shared a 4 bedroom house with 6 other guys.  Rent was $110/month, and utilities become vanishingly small when divided by seven.

I've also lived alone in apartments and with one or two roommates since then.

I'm currently in the best situation - renting out a room to a roommate in a house that I own!  This last option is my recommendation.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2015, 12:25:52 PM »
I think I'd get lonely living by myself... And then I'd have to buy stuff which is currently communal (e.g. microwave, toaster, TV, coaches, dining table, washing machine, etc) (Let's be honest, I pretty much only own a bed and a desk)

Living in a share house is how I imagine my life for the next maybe 10 years, and then move in with possible future partner. It's cheaper, and staves off loneliness.

this is how I am. I get bored and lonely really easily if I live by myself (and I also only owned a bed, a dresser, and a desk for a long time, LOL). I haven't really gotten the chance to, which I'm fine with... I lived with roommates (while in college/grad school) until I was almost 24, then moved halfway across the country and lived by myself for 6 months while I waited for my boyfriend to join me, now I've lived with him ever since (~2.5 years) and we plan on getting married. living in a small apartment by myself was kind of fun in its own way, but it definitely doesn't suit my personality long-term. even if I were single now I'd want at least one roommate.

I do feel for people who are more introverted or otherwise really dislike living with a roommate... but then I think all personalities have their spending struggles--mine are more about spending too much going out to the bar with my spendy drunk friends :/

Dicey

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #21 on: January 05, 2015, 02:14:01 PM »
I had roommates and a rent-controlled apartment in my twenties and thirties. I was there so long that when roomies turned over, I increased their share of the rent. I went from 50-50 to 30-70 over time. Saved like hell and bought my first house. It was too far out for my job so I rented it out and kept the apartment and the roomies.
When I was 38, I bought a 2+1 condo and lived alone for the first time in my life. It was hella expensive and I didn't like being so house poor. Then a friend needed out of a bad situation, so I ended up with a roomie again.
When the job dictated a bigger home (I needed a garage for sample storage.), I bought a 4+2.5 townhouse and got another roomie. He stayed for five years. When he left, I decided to go it alone. I could afford it by then, but I still missed the money coming in.
I didn't get married until very late in life, so my situation is not quite typical. However, I know there are lots of single ladies out there who could easily adapt to this lifestyle. I traveled for work, so I loved that there was someone at home. Some roomies became lifelong friends, others were passing ships. By interviewing them as if they were job candidates, I managed to avoid duds. In fact, the only clinker was someone I worked with and thought I knew reasonably well. Fortunately, she gave notice on the day I was going to give her the boot, so even that one worked out in the end.

In the end, all of this allowed me to FIRE. At 55, it wasn't terribly early, but I was never a huge wage earner and I've lived in L.A. and the Bay Area all my life, so housing is crazy expensive. I also made sure to live for the moment, including travel to see friends and relatives and the wider world. As a cancer survivor, I was always mindful of the possibility of recurrance, so I probably saved more than I needed to, but I was careful to balance living for today with saving for the future.

Had MMM, ERE and the like existed sooner, I'm sure I could have done it earlier. As it is, I can't think of anyone I worked with who retired at a younger age.
Yeah, roommates were absolutely worth it. If I lived in a part of the country where multi-unit housing was plentiful, I'd do that in a heartbeat and have roommates.

NV Teacher

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #22 on: January 05, 2015, 03:20:40 PM »
My goal after college was to never have another roommate.  I've lived alone for almost 30 years and I've never regretted it for a minute.  It's all about what works best for you.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2015, 09:12:59 PM by NV Teacher »

EarlyStart

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #23 on: January 05, 2015, 09:09:50 PM »
I'm 22 and live on campus in a single room (partial scholarship and other things make this relatively inexpensive for me). I lived and worked in DC for a summer and shared an apartment with three other guys, and it was still incredibly expensive, but this was before I became more frugal. I'm hoping that shortly after finishing school my SO and I can get a place together or live with her family to save even more. If that doesn't work out, I will get one or more roommates. I have fairly ambitious FIRE goals, so these early savings years are crucial.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2015, 09:14:16 PM by EarlyStart »

Bob W

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #24 on: January 06, 2015, 08:30:55 AM »
My 22 year old daughter just got her first alone apartment.  She really can't afford it but insisted that living alone was her cup of tea.   I can't imagine it myself.   Roomates have always been a social connector for me but I'm old and that was before cell phones.   

I'm doing the math and I think I have lived alone for maybe 4% of my life.   I could do it but I don't think it makes financial or social sense in most cases.    And yes I'm an introvert, so having other people in my dwellings has opened my world.   

SmallCheese

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #25 on: January 06, 2015, 08:37:29 AM »
I am 27 and just moved to my first place alone. I've only been in for a month (today!) and it's the best thing I have every done. I pay $1000/mo (parking and utilities included), which I'll admit does put a small dent in my savings rate, but mentally it's worth it. I've never been happier.

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #26 on: January 06, 2015, 08:48:14 AM »
I've lived mostly alone (plus dog) for the last 10 years and it can get lonely on occasion, but I don't know if I'd be able to cope with sharing my space again unless it was with someone I was romantically involved with. Even sometimes when I have company for too long I start to get twitchy.

I feel like I have the best of both worlds with renting out my basement suite to good friends for 90% of my mortgage. It's completely separate and I have my own space, but if I need some company they aren't far away. Also every now and then I can hear them laughing with each other downstairs and it makes me smile.


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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #27 on: January 06, 2015, 09:00:37 AM »
I lived alone once in my 20's, not counting the college dorm room. The first day I was so excited I turned the heat up as high as it would go and walked around naked, LOL. Then I discovered that my dog was obscenely lonely because I was never home and I was lucky if my fridge contained 1/4 of a bottle of mustard. Then a guy who lived a few doors down from me who I'd chatted with while walking my dog showed up at my house very drunk late one night and I had to push him out the door. After that I got a roommate...and have decided I like the chaos of living with others ever since.
I think when you're young and starting out, it's good to stay alone just to find yourself. Some people I know got stuck in that mode and can't stand the idea of a roommate or SO 20 years later. Others like me realize very quickly that they like a home with people in it. Don't knock it until you've tried it!

frugaliknowit

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #28 on: January 06, 2015, 09:47:16 AM »
When in my 20's I lived alone when not "shacked up".

Mostly, I lived where I didn't need an auto.  That helped offset the inefficiencies you site.  Less square footage also helps defray the costs of the relative inefficiencies.  I love living alone.

Kaspian

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #29 on: January 06, 2015, 11:42:36 AM »
I love living alone, but we have to buy everything ourselves which a couple could split the cost on.  E.g., rent, heat, Internet, etc.  It costs the same to heat a room for one person as it does for two.  Even appliances and tools--we need one of everything but couples/roommates can share--e.g., can opener, potato masher, food processor, etc.  Sure, more than one person goes through more hot water, more electricity, more food.  ...But I have to pay my own shower, food, AND pay all the heat, and buy my own can opener. 

That said, it still rocks.  I love living alone!  It's gonna take a helluva woman to ever get me out of my rat's nest.

coffee

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #30 on: January 06, 2015, 11:51:50 AM »
Been in this same dilemma as well.  I think that the extra money saved + having someone to come home and talk to makes it all of the small
annoyances worth it.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #31 on: January 06, 2015, 05:06:13 PM »
In my social circle of twenty somethings, living alone is the exception rather than the rule, even though everybody could easily afford to if they wanted to. You can be introverted and live with roommates, it's just a matter of finding the right ones.

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Re: Twenties...live it up, live alone, or sacrifice?
« Reply #32 on: January 06, 2015, 09:17:55 PM »
Total introvert here in NYC. I make plenty enough to live alone, yet I've been living with 2 roommates for over 3 years now. To live alone here, I'd need to spend twice as much or live in an unsafe or un-fun neighborhood.

I automatically save over $800 a month with zero effort. Other things are important for me to prioritize while I'm still single, like travel and front-loading my savings. I figured that life is just going to get more expensive as I get older (like having kids, etc.), and it won't get any easier to save than it is now.

It also helps that I love my roommates (who are also introverts), and I live in one of the best neighborhoods in NYC.