BY: ALEEMA ALI
Grown kid syndrome. What is that you may ask?
Independent California-based hip-hop group Pac Div explains it as: “A grown ass kid that don’t have sh**, at home […] 22 years old and I live home, another victim of the grown kid syndrome.”
According to a 2011 Statistics Canada report, of the almost five million young adults living in Canada, ages 20 to 29, nearly two million (or 40 per cent) lived at home with their parents. This is much greater than the 27 per cent that lived at home in 1981. Our U.S. counterparts don’t differ much either; 31 per cent of young adults are living at home with their parents as of 2014, according to the Pew Research Centre.
Aaron Hodgson could be said to have the grown kid syndrome, but a more modern version of it.
The 25-year-old Toronto resident runs a hip-hop blog called What The Hype while living at home with his mother and kid brother. He says he’s responsible for half the rent, groceries, and looking after his family. Hodgson makes a living from shooting videos for various artists and promoters. He worked as a security guard for a few years (before throwing his back and neck out) and previously at a bar. Hodgson decided that life was not for him.
Although he does what he loves, he says videography can be an unpredictable line of work. “I had five videos booked this week, and four of them cancelled. So, it was like ‘OK, cool I’m sitting on $2,500 coming,’ and then the four dropped and it’s like damn.”
He adds though that it doesn’t discourage him to keep doing what he wants.
Hodgson has some experience living on his own. At age 18 he made the rash decision to move out and lived in a rooming house. “It was the worst experience of my life,” he says. Not only was it about $600 per month to rent one room, it wasn’t an ideal place to live. Conditions were sketchy, and people’s belongings were often stolen because there was no way of locking up your valuables. He says he could only put up with it for six months before he called it quits and went back home.
When it comes to living on his own, Hodgson says he’s not afraid of it and doesn’t see it as a milestone. In fact, living at home has helped him substantially. He knows rent can be ridiculously expensive, especially in Toronto, so he would have to plan accordingly.
“It’s helped me expand my equipment and invest in myself so that later on down the line, I can make money.”
“If I’m 30 years old and still living with my mom, there’s something wrong.”
Hodgson says he’ll give himself another three to four years before he thinks he’ll have enough to move out.
He says that it isn’t necessarily a priority to move out at a certain time, especially now because he wouldn’t know how to go about paying for a roof over his head and be able to live at the same time.
Toronto-based real estate agent Lee Taylor says there are many factors to consider when moving out. For one, it depends on the individual’s credit rating and situation. If a person has the ability to stay at home and save money, then they should be able to build up their credit well enough in order to move out, says the Royal LePage agent.
When it comes to renting in the heart of Toronto, Taylor says it’s not cheap at all.
“It’s anywhere from $1,700 to $1,800 a month for a 550 to 600-square foot apartment or condo downtown.”
However, she says the further out of the downtown area, the cheaper the rent gets. RentSeeker, one of Canada’s most visited online apartment finders confirms from 2011 to 2016, places such as Etobicoke, North York and parts of Scarborough were cheaper to live in than downtown Toronto.
Taylor also says youngsters should be aware of the age of the buildings they choose to rent. Anything built after 1991 gives landlords the right to increase rent as much as they please.
As for what to look forward to in the future, Taylor says it’s unpredictable.
“Nobody has a crystal ball as to where the market is going,” she says.
Hafiz Rahaman, a 22-year-old professional network marketer, says his responsibilities while living at home include mortgage payments, buying groceries, paying for various bills and taking care of multiple family members. He says staying at home as long as he can or wants is always encouraged.
“My parents want me to live with them as long as I possibly can,” he says. “They know how expensive it is out there to live on your own.”
Rahaman says he and his parents know that with housing inflation, it’s hard for young people to find a place and be able to keep it on their own. Although his parents don’t mind him staying home, he says moving out is a priority.
“I need my own space to just grow as a human being. I need to develop and turn more into a man.”
Rahaman makes enough to move out whenever he wants, but living at home has helped him more than he could imagine since graduating from George Brown a few years ago.
“I know I wouldn’t have made it if I wasn’t living at home. I’d probably be working like three jobs, with not enough groceries to last me throughout the week. So living at home really helped change everything.”
Rahaman considers moving out a huge milestone and doing so at such a young age into a ‘not-so-crappy place’, an even bigger accomplishment.
“It’s the first of many to come,” he says.
Whatever problems he runs into when he moves out won’t be anything he can’t handle, and if worse comes to worst, he’d just move back home and work harder.
“I still don’t know how to do taxes or any of that stuff. I’m used to just taking money out of the bank and giving it to my parents. So I have to figure out how to grow up. Baby steps though.”