Returning to the nest

Author: Canadian Living


Returning to the nest

I first met Keith in high school. After an awkward first date, we went out again. And again, and again, until five years later we announced to our families that we were getting married. We were only halfway through university. We had no savings and no one knew we were contemplating marriage. But it was right for us.

I remember my mother's joking refrain, "You can move out, and you can move back in. But you can't move out, multiply, then move back in." Being young and impulsive, Keith and I couldn't imagine why we would ever have to move back home.

The first pangs of home ownership
After two and a half years of marriage my husband and I decided to purchase a house. After wandering through showhomes every weekend, the very sight of our tiny basement suite often left me in tears. Our maroon carpets, pink walls, and a brown flowered ‘80s couch were not enough. I wanted a garage and a skylight and a kitchen island.

The harshness of reality
With dropping interest rates, it was the right time to buy. There was only one problem: We needed a down payment. While we had very little debt, we also had no savings. Accumulating the five per cent needed for the down payment would take us almost two years.

I had moved out. I had multiplied. And I asked to move back into my mother's home.

Flying back home
Keith and I approached my mother and her husband, Russ. Armed with personal budgets, financial goals and bank statements, we asked to move back home for just six months. The money we saved in rent and utilities would easily cover our down payment.

Would they find it in their hearts to let us in? They did. Turns out I had moved out much too soon for my mother, who was thrilled I'd be back for a few months. Russ was equally as happy that our frequent discussions on the importance of saving for the future, investing early and saving our pennies had hit home. He was glad to have the opportunity to set us on the path to home ownership.

Overcoming obstacles, one at a time
Living with the parents meant changes for everyone in the house. Some of us were on the receiving end of an icy shower blast when a toilet on another floor flushed. My husband and I accepted a lot of teasing from friends, but we also related to many peers who were in the same boat. Saving upwards of $7,000 cash right out of post-secondary is a challenge and we found that, like us, many shun the rental life and move back home to save the necessary funds to buy a house or condo.

With just a few weeks left until our new house is finished, I'm already wondering what the future will hold this time. Perhaps someday my kids will boomerang to and from my house, too. At the very least, I think Mom and Russ have guaranteed there isn't a retirement home in their future. Keith and I are already planning the mother-in-law suite add-on.


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Returning to the nest