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Work-Life Balance

Moving out: Expectations versus reality

By Paulo Vargas on May 5, 2015

In the Philippines, moving out is usually something only newlyweds do. More often than not, children stay with their parents even when they are no longer children and that's totally okay. Family is important and it always will be.

If you're reading this though, chances are, you've started to think about what it would mean to be independent. What's going to happen when you step out of the nest? Is living on your own something you can handle? As it's romanticized by U.S. sitcoms and movies, living independently might mean something totally different to you than what it's actually like. It's a classic case of expectations versus reality - having your own place is not really what it seems. It isn't all parties and hanging out with friends, nor is it having the freedom to be messy or bringing all sorts of people home. What moving out really means is removing your training wheels, paying bills, and many other "adult" things.

Master of your ship

It's often the case that when you live with your parents, you get free food, you don't have to pay rent or utilities, and you can ask mom or dad for help with things like ironing a polo shirt or two. You keep your salary (unless you need to contribute), and you get to save. It's a good deal, but in exchange, you follow the leader and you go home early. We've all heard it at one point or another, "My house, my rules."

If you get your own place, you can feel free to walk around in your underwear, do the dishes a day later, and play loud music by bands your mom would hate.

No matter how small your place is, you are the master of your ship. Take it from William Ernest Henley himself, "I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."

A ship is a lot of work and money to maintain

Living with your folks is great for your wallet. Even if you give them part of your salary it won't be as expensive as living alone. Before moving out, Natasha, a member of Kalibrr's business development team, calculated ahead and found out that for a small condo unit in Makati, she would have to pay P16,000 to P20,000 a month.

Even if you find a cheap place, you need to shell out at least two months worth of rent, plus a safety deposit. That's easily three months worth of rent just to move in. Before you move out, save up and figure out how you're going to make your ship sustainable.

Now that's just the rent. Finding a good laundry place is also hard, even if there are dozens in a street. That place takes too long to deliver, the other one does a bad job, the one right across it is notorious for losing items. Do you pay for the service or do you spend your well-earned me time arm deep in your own dirty clothes?

Cleaning your place is no joke either, especially if you're used to having household help. Even more important than that, what are you going to eat everyday? Even if you earn enough to afford eating out every night, you'll eventually realize how much cheaper and healthier cooking at home is. Again, there's the question of paying for these services or spending your after-work time taking care of your home.

We're not trying to turn you off from moving out - these are just the realities all of us who step out of home for the first time have to deal with. More often than not, you'll realize that many of these things are trade offs between spending your well-earned money, or spending your well-earned time. Either way, it's all you.

The metaphorical ship gets you to work on time

One of the best reasons to move out is that you can get a place closer to work. No more waking up at 5AM just so you can ride a shuttle van to get you near the MRT. No more having to endure the sea of people on the train. No more running towards your office building because you're already late. Is it all worth it?

"When I moved out, I leave for work 30 minutes before my work starts," says accountant Dennis Chua. For most of us, 3o minutes is just a fraction of the time it takes for us to even get a ride. Let's all agree. Dennis is living the dream.

Let that ship sail

Moving out is something we all have to consider. Most of the drawbacks mentioned can actually be avoided by responsible planning.

All things considered, after all the weighing of options and calculating costs, ask yourself this: Am I ready?

It's more than just having the means to do so. Moving out will require you to be responsible, mature, and emotionally ready to do everything alone. Imagine, no more tasty home-cooked meals, no more people taking care of you when you get sick, and no siblings to banter with. Having your own place will get lonely at times but it's a trade off you have to weigh. What are you gaining and what are you losing?

What's good about Filipinos, families, and Filipino families is they encourage you to try it and if things don't work out, you can always move back home. Whatever the case may be, independence, even for a short while, is a beautiful teacher. Go sail that ship of independence and see where it takes you.