Learning To Navigate Change: How To Know If I’m Ready To Move Out
By: Michael Puskar
Updated December 01, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Christy B.
Many young adults eventually reach the point at which they are ready to move out of their family homes and establish households of their own. For some young people, that change occurs immediately after graduating from high school or college. Others may be thinking about moving out upon starting a job that can sufficiently pay for rent and other living expenses, and some young adults may not transition to moving out until they are ready to start living with roommates, a domestic partner, or a spouse. Some individuals may wait until later in adulthood for a variety of reasons, and some may remain at home with their parents or other family members indefinitely, either by necessity or by choice.
Moving out is a significant life transition that can bring positive and negative consequences, so it is important to think through the steps of that transition before beginning the process. Whether you are a teenager eager to strike out on your own, a young adult beginning your first full-time job, or an adult preparing to make the switch to independent living, you should consider several important factors about your being ready to actually move out, including financial readiness, emotional readiness, and overall preparedness. If you’re considering the move out but aren’t sure whether the time is right for you, consider the questions and topics presented in this article.
Am I Ready To Move Out?
The desire to move out is natural and highly common. If people never experienced the desire to have independence, they would never leave the comfort of their family homes and establish their own residences. As you grow and develop your adult life, though, you also set new career, personal, and relationship goals, and those goals may require you to leave and move out and start your own home—whether that move is across town or to the other side of the globe. Remaining “at home” indefinitely might limit your career paths, relationship building, or personal growth.
However, many people start to feel ready to move out before they are fully ready. Alternatively, some individuals are physically and financially prepared but are anxious about “leaving home" when it comes to the move out.
Knowing If You're Prepared For The Transition: What Are The Signs?
Multiple indicators can tell you whether you're ready to move out on your own. While you may not think that you fully satisfy every item on the following list, it's a good idea to have achieved or be working toward each of them before you make the decision to move out. Consider these important steps as you evaluate yourself and your being ready to move out:
You are financially independent. Having a job (or another source of regular, steady income) is the most significant step to establishing your own household. You need to be able to pay for not only housing, but also utilities, food, transportation, insurance, and any other necessary items. It's a good idea to have (or be working toward) 3-6 months of savings in the bank in case of emergencies if possible. This helps ensure that you can not only become independent, but also remain independent in the event of unforeseen expenses.
You are financially responsible. Not only do you have money coming in, but you're managing it in a way that shows you have your priorities in line and can make financially responsible decisions. When you are responsible for your residence and living expenses, you need to pay your obligations first and add in any luxuries later.
You can maintain a home. You should know or be in the process of learning how to keep a home in good livable condition. This does not necessarily mean you need to know how to complete big home repairs or renovations, but rather that you are able to complete chores, maintain cleanliness and order, and establish a system of organization that keeps your home functional and safe.
You are emotionally independent. When making decisions, you should be confident that you have the ability to make them on your own. You may find consulting with close family and friends on significant life decisions to be very helpful and valuable, but you will need to be willing to shoulder the weight of your decision making and all its consequences. If problems occur in your new residence, you will need to accept your responsibility as the householder and take charge of solving them. Even if loved ones kindly offer to help, you will need the emotional maturity to resist relying completely on them to solve problems for you.
Seeking Assistance For The Transition
No matter your circumstances, getting ready to move into your own place is a big life transition, full of new responsibilities, exciting changes, and stressors. It is natural and typical to seek out plenty of support in making this decision. Family and friends, especially those who have already experienced the change of moving out, can provide valuable guidance and advice. Helpful checklists for household essentials can give you a sense of your starting costs and needs. While these are all important, useful resources to rely on when you are preparing to move out and seek greater independence, you should also not underestimate the need to look after your mental and emotional wellbeing during such a major life change. A great, proactive way to support yourself throughout this time of transition is to connect with a mental health professional. Online counseling through BetterHelp can make all the difference.
Regardless of the emotions you might feel about the prospect of moving out—guilt over leaving family members, anxiety about the future, fear of the unknown, uncertainty over your decision making—speaking with a licensed counselor can bring you clarity and confidence. Online counseling is a particularly excellent fit for someone on the cusp of moving out; it is convenient, flexible, and affordable. If you work with a therapist or counselor through BetterHelp, you will not need to arrange in-person appointments and deal with traffic and waiting rooms. You will be able to access mental healthcare when you need it, from the comfort of your own home (whether you share that home with others or not!).
Moving To A New Place
You can receive online therapy in a variety of ways—video chats, phone calls, emails, or text messages—whichever is the best fit for you. This flexibility also allows for greater discretion, so if you’re still living with family members but want to discuss issues without including them in the conversation, you can communicate with a counselor as privately as you wish. And the affordability of BetterHelp’s services compared to in-person therapy means that you will spend less on mental healthcare while you’re preparing for the financial costs of living independently. The reviews below illustrate how other individuals making major life decisions have benefited from online therapy with BetterHelp.
"I have been talking with Carrie for a few weeks now and found she has been incredibly helpful. I was really confused and struggling with some major changes in my life and had been looking for an unbiased outside perspective and someone to help me through my anxiety with the transition. Carrie was immediately supportive and respectful of my choices and offered a lot of great advice and insight. She's very respectful of your boundaries and works hard to fully understand your situation to give you honest and helpful advice and perspective. She's honest and kind, and easily approachable."
"I was in a very bad place when I started counseling with Vanessa. I was drowning in my negative thoughts, especially about moving into a new place. Vanessa helped me face these thoughts, counter them. It isn't easy, but I am training myself and getting better at it. She helps boost my confidence in all aspects. In Vanessa, I found guidance, empathy, open-mindedness, and a good listener. Vanessa will never fail you!"
Knowing when to move out and wondering if you're making the right choice can add a lot of stress on the pre-existing pressure to leave your parents' house. However, by weighing out your options and talking to a professional, you can relieve some of this anxiety and make the most informed and rational decision for yourself. A fulfilling, independent life is within reach -- all you need are the right tools. Take the first step today.
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