But while I moved back home to both help and be helped by my family — my parents emigrated from Morocco and in our culture it's customary for children to help out once we have jobs — my friends who were originally from the city had different ideas. Whether or not they were making money, they wanted to live on their own.
"Don't you want to be independent?" they asked me.
The question bothered me for a while until I attended their parties and understood the irony. They were not fully employed yet but they inhabited spaces that were twice the size of my parents' home, because their parents were assisting them financially.
They thought they were being independent. Meanwhile, my goal was achieving actual financial independence, and being debt-free, by the age of 25. Living at home while I work full-time is part of my plan.
The most obvious plus is that I don't have to pay rent. My parents own their apartment, so they mostly are concerned with other expenses, like utilities, wifi, laundry, and groceries.
I took over paying for these expenses so my parents could focus on saving money for retirement and travel. I contribute about $600 a month to cover these costs. That is still much lower than average rent in New York City, which is about $2700.