Teenagers have several reasons why they may want to move out and live by their own rules and independently.
Mostly, teenagers don’t have exceptional reasons for wanting freedom and making their own decisions. They either feel ready to support themselves or want to follow the example of their peers. In some circumstances, including when living in a hostile environment, they have experienced abuse or neglect, they may feel the need to jump out of the nest as soon as possible.
However, can you move out at 18? Yes, the legal age of majority in most U.S. states is 18, meaning you don’t need permission to move out of your parental home.
Can You Move out at 18? Understanding the Legal Age of Majority
Depending on the laws of your state, the age of majority changes. The age of majority means that you are legally considered capable of accepting responsibility for your actions.
Once you reach the age of majority for your state, you can vote, sign a contract, and join the armed forces without parental permission.
Summing up, you cannot move out of your parental home without their permission before you reach the legal age of majority for your state. In most states, you can legally do this at 18. If you leave home before this, most states classify you as a runaway.
It’s worth noting that 47 states legally consider 18 as the age of majority. Alabama, Colorado, Indiana, New Jersey, and Nebraska differ because they have set it at 19.
The state with the highest age of majority is Mississippi, which is 21. However, the state has some exceptions. A 17-year-old can leave home legally without being considered a runaway, even if their parents file a missing person report. The parents are still responsible for their child in that state until 18, even if the child has moved away.
Other states also allow teenagers to leave their homes without parental consent if they have enrolled in a tertiary institution, are married, or have a job.
Considerations for a Successful Move
Moving away from home might be your decision, but it’s not uncommon to feel unsure once you have decided. Some issues you may encounter include:
- Worried parents
- Not being ready to face the responsibilities
- Worries about the cost of living independently
- Problems with the flatmate you have chosen
Reflect on the following before deciding to ensure you make a successful move:
- Consider these questions before making a rash decision. Are you mature enough to live independently? Can you support yourself financially? Have you thought through the reasons for moving out?
- Have you worked out a realistic budget for your move? Some unexpected expenses include the security deposit for a rental home (usually the equivalent of a month’s rent), utility connection fees, and insurance. Here is an excellent resource from EddyBalle on how to meet the responsibilities of living independently.
- Avoid misunderstandings by ensuring good communication – This means talking openly and respectfully when you have concerns with your parents and any flatmates. You must also be prepared to listen and be open to their point of view.
- Don’t forget to keep in touch with your parents by arranging when you can visit. For example, they may feel better if you pop in for a weekly lunch date.
- Forget your pride if things get complicated, and ask your parents or a responsible adult friend or relative for help.
Planning Your Move Out at 18
Now that you have established the answer to your question: “Can I move out at 18?” here’s how to successfully plan your move.
- Inform your Parents
Talking with your parents about your plans can help make the transition smoother. Let them know why you have decided to move out and how you plan to fund the move. Even though you don’t need parental approval to move out in most states, your discussion will help alleviate their fears about your safety and how you will cope. Their consent is a blessing since it will ensure their support in difficult times.
- Plan Ahead
It’s important to know where you want to move to and how you will meet the expenses of the move. If moving to another city, find out how much you need for travel expenses. You should also contact a mover to establish the price of moving your belongings, even if moving within your hometown.
- Create a Budget for Your Living Expenses
Living expenses do not only include the money required for your accommodation. Consider how you can afford food, transportation, insurance, utility bills, clothing, and entertainment.
- Start Building Your Credit Score
Can you move out at 18? Yes, but a good credit score will make it easier. Start building your credit score early, ensuring you get better rates when applying for a credit card. You can create a credit score if your parents grant you the authorized use of their credit card and they have a good credit history. You could also get approval to get a secured credit card.
- Secure an Income Source
Once you move out, your parents may require you to pay your expenses. These can add up, so start building an income even if you are still at school or college with a side hustle or part-time job.
- Find Accommodation
Whether moving to the same city as your parents or elsewhere, deciding on your preferred neighborhood is vital before hunting for accommodation. If you haven’t saved enough money to meet the expenses of paying an expensive rental, you can consider finding a roommate to reduce the costs. You can also ask your family to loan or gift you the money for your initial costs until you become more financially independent.
- Moving Out
Moving day can prove overwhelming and emotional, but being prepared will help make things easier. The consequences of a move will hit you most as you implement your plan, but this is a move you would need to make at some time – you have chosen to do it sooner. You could ask a family member or friend to help you settle in, but even if you don’t prefer this, let them know where you are moving.
- Setting Up Your New Home
After saying your goodbyes, it’s time to move. You must ensure you have set up the necessary utilities and sent your new mailing address to your bank and other relevant accounts. Make sure you have all the essentials to make your new home comfortable, and locate your nearest grocery stores and amenities.
We have established the answer to your question: Can you move out at 18? In most states, you can make a mature decision at 18 based on the above thoughts and tips to ensure a smooth change from living in your parental home to independence. The proper preparation will ensure a smooth journey to freedom.