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Lack of jobs drives young adults home

More young adults are finding home is, indeed, sweet.

They are returning to live with mom and dad while they get started in careers and begin saving for their own digs.

Some also are paying down college loans, starting their first savings accounts as adults and salting away money for retirement. Many under age 24 say they have been influenced by the Great Recession that struck while they were still in school.

"I miss my independence," said Teresa Shum. She moved back to her family's Pembroke Pines, Fla., house after graduating from the University of Florida last spring and starting work as a publicist.

But, she said, "It makes more sense to save money before moving out" -- cash that could help her afford her own home. Shum said she's able to salt away about $1,000 a month.

She's not alone. The U.S. Census Bureau found that in just four years, the number of young adults, 20-29. living with their parents has increased from 27 percent in 2007 to 30 percent in 2011.

Nearly half of those who are 20 to 24 years old now live with Mom and Dad.

Alex Seaman, a 22-year-old firefighter-paramedic, wants to save enough for a down payment on a house. He thinks he'll reach that goal in another year or two, as long as he lives at his parents' home in Plantation, Fla. He's also started to put away money for his retirement.

"I'm fortunate to have a career and can save some money," Seaman said.

He knows it would take a lot longer to save for a down payment if he had to rent an apartment.

Economist Salazar-Carrillo said rent, utilities, cable TV, insurance and other expenses can eat most of a starting income.

He also said many young people don't want to scrimp. This is not a generation to forego fun, Salazar-Carrillo said.

"Those 26 and under have their own ideas of consumption," he said. "That includes a car, some weekend splurge money," as much as $200 a weekend.

He disagreed with some analysts who say the increased number of young people living at home is hurting the economy because they are not spending on furniture and other goods to start a new household.

They are choosing to spend their money elsewhere, especially on entertainment, Salazar-Carrillo said.

Many are used to their parents' comfortable home that includes cable and other amenities, he said.

Shum's family, for example, lives in a gated community that has a pool and club house with exercise equipment -- although she said she is too busy to use it.

The young adults returning home said they help their parents at home.

Bryan Sharkey, a 2009 Princeton graduate who works for an investment bank in Miami, does household chores as well as pays $500 a month to his parents for room and board at their Pinecrest, Fla., home.

He's grateful that his parents allowed him to come home: "It has definitely allowed me to save," Sharkey said, estimating that apartment rent and other household expenses could have eaten about half his paycheck.

Many friends are returning home once they leave college, he said.

"My two best friends moved back. They started their own business" and are trying to cut expenses, Sharkey said.

"More kids are coming home to save money. We're trying to be frugal."

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