For years, many American families shared one of the same ideals: when you turn 18, you’re out. Turning 18 is meant to be a sign of independence, that it is time to get out and tackle the world.
Times have changed a bit as it is more common for kids to either live at home into their 20s or at least live at home while attending school. For those who wish to branch out into freedom as soon as possible, a guide can help.
Here is what you need to know for how to move out at 18.
Why Move Out at 18?
There are plenty of reasons why moving out at 18 may be the way to go. First, it is important to note that turning 18 is known as the “age of majority.”
This is because it is the official legal age at which a person is not a minor anymore. That age of majority can change depending on the state or country, but in the US, the age of adulthood is 18 years.
Reaching adulthood means that these individuals can exercise freedoms that were otherwise unavailable as minors. That means being able to vote and also no longer requiring a legal guardian. At 18, responsibilities also fall on that person for their actions.
Moving Out at 18
If the goal is to leave the nest as soon as possible, there are a few items worth considering. With as much planning and preparation as possible, you can learn how to move out at 18 and stand on your own. Here is what to know.
Have a Discussion with Parents or a Guardian
The first people to talk to about your decision to move out are your parents or guardian. Though it isn’t required, it is ideal to have their blessing before moving.
It will result in far less friction throughout the process while also likely resulting in their assistance.
Make sure to come to them with a plan in mind. Tell them why you want to move out and how it is you plan to live responsibly and safely. With approval, though it is not required, it can also mean getting help throughout the process of moving.
Moving out at 18, with little to no money, is already going to be hard enough. Having to battle parents or a guardian for approval will only make the move all the more difficult.
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Earning an Income
Of course, living independently means paying the bills. If the plan is to move out at 18, then the goal should be to have a job in place before the decision is made.
At this stage, simply having a means of earning income is all that you need. Something that will pay your bills and ensure that you have food on the table is a must when learning how to move out at 18.
The legal working age in the United States is 16, but many take on odd jobs at a younger age. This can happen in family businesses or just doing odd jobs.
Given how available online jobs are in this day and age, it is possible to find remote work like freelancing, becoming a personal assistant, or affiliate marketing, all of which can help to create reliable income used to pay the bills.
It is important to note that you don’t need to have a career established here. It is fine to have a side gig while going to school. So long as the bills get paid, that is all that matters.
Start Building Credit
Moving out at 18 means that you have to have your credit score built up before moving out. Having a good credit score can unlock a lot of doors in life, especially when it comes to renting an apartment or condo.
Start with a credit card or two, paying off the balance each month to help establish a credit history. One of the easiest ways to build credit is to become an authorized user on the card of someone who has a good credit history, like a parent.
Credit cards can be dangerous to your credit and future if not used wisely, so be sure you only make purchases that you can afford to pay off immediately.
It is a great way to establish enough credit that moving out won’t be difficult, at least not in that aspect.
This is why having the conversation about moving out can be beneficial; parents have tools that can help their children move out at 18 that the son or daughter may not otherwise possess.
Plan a Budget
Planning out as much as possible is necessary for learning how to move out at 18. Some think that it is just a matter of packing your belongings and heading out but that can lead to many more difficulties along the way.
Part of creating a plan means creating a budget. The budget makes it more predictable as to what those bills will look like going forward. There’s an old saying: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
Being on your own means that you are responsible for things like shelter, food, clothing, utilities, and all the other expenses that come with living on your own.
The sooner you plan, the smoother things will go. Know where you want to move to, what the living expenses are, how you plan to cover them, how you’re going to make money, and any other questions that bear answering.
It is a good idea to start planning six months or even a year ahead of time. The more time you have the plan, the more time there is to iron out any potential kinks in the budget.
It might be the single most important aspect of moving out at 18 and can cause so many problems if poorly thought out.
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Finding a Place
Though it may be preferable to live on your own, moving out at 18 without a lot of money can make that difficult, especially in this housing market, where rentals are in higher demand and rent is higher on average.
Moving out at 18 means knowing where you want to move to. Picking out a neighborhood, as well as a place to live, can give you a better idea of how your budget will shake out.
It will also give a better idea as to how realistic those goals are and whether living alone is an attainable goal.
If living alone doesn’t seem realistic, then it may be time to consider a roommate. Having a roommate is a great way to keep the cost of living down, as certain things like rent, electricity, gas, water, and internet can all be split.
There are a ton of real estate portals out there to choose from. With a little bit of research, you can find the perfect option to suit your needs.
Most of the search portals give you the option to search based on area, square footage, monthly rent price, amenities, and so much more.
When everything has been properly planned out, it is time to perform the move itself. There are a lot of things that will happen come moving day, and it can become an overwhelming and emotional day for both you and your family.
It is also totally normal to second-guess the decision. Given how much is already in play and has been planned out, it is probably too late to turn back.
Trust in the preparation that you have put into the process, ask questions of your friends and families to get answers you may need, and remember why you wanted to move out in the first place.
Moving out, not necessarily at 18 but in general, is part of adulthood. The planning, preparation, implementation, and execution of that plan, and taking responsibility for yourself and your actions are all foundations of being an adult.
When the big day arrives, make sure that you have ample help to get your stuff to the new place. Whether that be a friend, family member, or movers, don’t try to go it alone. Even if you think you don’t have that much stuff, you will have more than you realize.
Say your goodbyes to anyone who isn’t coming along to help on the move. Make sure to share your address with loved ones and know where you can go in the event of an emergency.
Moving out can be scary but it does not mean having to be cut off from anyone in your life that cares.
Planning Is Crucial to Move Out
Though it can seem like an easy thing, moving out, especially at 18 years old, is quite difficult to do. Responsibility adds up quickly and even those who have been living on their own for decades can struggle with it.
If the plan is to move out at 18, then there should be ample planning done. Make sure that you talk to your parents or a guardian, plan, budget, determine living expenses, build your credit, find a job, and all the other necessities that come with moving out. That is just the start of the journey.
Eugene is a Chemical Engineer with a passion for personal finance and is constantly learning new tricks to make his money work for him. He obtained an MBA part time and hasn’t stopped finding ways to make money, save money, and properly invest money. He currently lives at the Jersey Shore with my wife and two children.