Rent or the mortgage is usually the biggest bill for Americans, with 60 percent of those surveyed agreeing that's the case for them.
While many people get annual raises, it's not quite happening at a pace to keep up with increasing living costs. Forty-four percent of employees say their annual residential expenses (rent or mortgage, utilities, household maintenance) increase more than their salary does each year. Younger workers (ages 18-24) say this is even more common, with 52 percent agreeing that their residential costs raise more than salary each year.
Almost a third (28 percent) of employees say they have more than one job to supplement their living expenses, with even more Gen Z workers (50 percent) doing so.
Beyond getting a second job, the rising living costs but desire to live near work and other amenities like grocery stores, gyms and restaurants often means the need to have someone help pay for the location.
Ashad, a Millennial who lives in Ft. Myers, FL shares:
“Where I live, I almost feel the need to have a roommate or a two-income home in order to live a comfortable life."
This isn't an uncommon feeling amongst Americans. Just more than one-third of renters (39 percent of house renters, 38 percent of room renters and 33 percent of apartment renters) say they have a roommate because the cost of their home is too high for the amount of income they make. More than half (56 percent) of Gen Z workers feel this way.
Dave, a Boomer in Atlanta, explains:
“My commute was less than 5 minutes. It was awesome! For the past five of eight years, I've had a roommate so I can live close to the city…Having the right roommate makes all the difference, though."
It's important that you're on the same page with your roommate, so having a roommate agreement is a good idea to keep the peace.
Just more than one-fifth of those surveyed (21 percent) said they need more than one roommate to afford their current rent or mortgage, with that being the case for even more Gen Z workers (43 percent).
Out of all renting options, townhome renting seems most expensive and offers the least amount of amenities. More than a quarter (29 percent) of townhouse renters need more than one roommate to afford where they live. Comparatively, 33 percent of room renters and 26 percent of apartment renters agree.
A big factor in choosing where to live is usually the commute time and in many major cities with great public transportation, people don't always have a car. Traffic and parking can add stress and costs, so there are often alternative commutes considered such as public transportation, ride-share services, biking and walking.
Jacob, a Millennial in Boston, told us:
“The options are usually to either pick a job close to your apartment or pick an apartment close to your job. As someone on the hunt for a new job, when I see a promising job opportunity, I quickly type the location into Google Maps and make sure it wouldn't take an hour to commute on buses each way. There's only so much daily podcast listening a man can take!"
The decision to rent vs. buy is one that many people weigh each year, especially if they're moving to a new city for a job. More than a quarter of employees (26 precent) say they currently rent but plan to purchase a home when they get a raise at work.
Since we know rent increases faster than wages for most employees, budgeting is key when looking to rent a new place or think about saving up to buy.
Research findings are based on an OmniPulse survey fielded by national polling firm Research Now on behalf of Randstad US and Apartment Guide. The survey was fielded from April 8-12, 2019. It included 1,211 employed people between the ages of 18 and 45+ who are either homeowners or renters of a house, room or apartment and a nationally representative sample balanced on age, gender and region.
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