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Google Employee Stayed With Parents for 12 Years After Leaving College and Saved a Whopping $400K

Living under her parents' roof shielded Chee from the barrage of bills, rent, and car payments.
Cover Image Source: Woman calculating expenses (representative image) | Pexels | Photo by Karolina Grabowska
Cover Image Source: Woman calculating expenses (representative image) | Pexels | Photo by Karolina Grabowska

In 2012, Claudia Chee embarked on her post-college journey, securing a job at the tech giant Google. Hailing from the pricey San Francisco Bay Area, she grappled with the financial prospects of renting versus living at home, an idea her Asian parents firmly endorsed. What began as a temporary living arrangement at her parents' home extended into an unexpectedly prolonged period of 12 years. Remarkably, by the time she decided to move out in December 2023, 32-year-old Chee had amassed a savings and investment pool of $400,000, a testament to the unconventional yet strategic financial choices she made.

Philippine money | Pexels | Photo by Angie Reyes
Philippine money | Pexels | Photo by Angie Reyes

While diverging from the anticipated path, Chee reflects on her decade-plus stay at home as one of the most rewarding decisions. The unconventional living arrangement, fueled by a commitment to financial wellness, self-care, and career pivots, defied societal norms but empowered Chee in profound ways.

Living under her parents' roof shielded Chee from the barrage of bills, rent, and car payments. Google's employee perks, including shuttle services and occasional clothing provisions, further alleviated financial stress. The symbiotic arrangement extended into her early 20s when she shared meals with her parents and had food at Google cafeterias. This financial cushion allowed Chee to consciously establish robust financial habits without grappling with the typical financial strains of young adulthood, per CNBC Make It.

Guided by her financially savvy family members, especially her father's insights as a financial advisor, Chee delved into money management. She actively participated in a financial wellness group, constructed a meticulous budget, and fortified her financial safety net with three emergency funds. Applying investment principles from Vanguard founder John Bogle, she diversified her investment portfolio into stocks, bonds, and ETFs, complemented by maximizing retirement contributions at work.

People discuss about graphs and rates | Pexels | Photo by fauxels
People discuss about graphs and rates | Pexels | Photo by fauxels

Beyond financial prudence, Chee navigated the complex terrain of self-care. Recognizing the toll living at home could take on her mental health, she devoted a substantial portion of her budget to holistic well-being. This included gym memberships, therapy sessions, self-help resources, and career coaching. This intentional focus on personal growth and mental health became a cornerstone of her journey.

In 2017, Chee made a pivotal career choice, stepping away from the tech industry grind at Google to pursue her true passions. Transitioning from teaching yoga to establishing Claudia's Music Studio in 2021, she found fulfillment in her newfound career trajectory. However, it wasn't until the winter of 2022, during a hiatus in her teaching schedule, that an unexpected opportunity emerged. Frequent visits to Costco sparked the inception of an Instagram account, Costco Chee, where she engages with 183,000 followers by trying on the latest Costco styles. What started as a lighthearted hobby morphed into an unforeseen career path, showcasing Chee's ability to adapt and find joy in diverse pursuits.

Getty Images | Tim Boyle
Costco card | Getty Images | Tim Boyle

During the winter of 2023, Chee decided to venture into independent living. Settling into a one-bedroom sublet in Fremont, California, for $2,000 a month, she found a balance between affordability and comfort. Monthly utility costs of $255, coupled with her penchant for thrift shopping, underscore her commitment to frugality. Notably, her new residence is a mere 10-minute drive from her parents' home, emphasizing the close-knit family ties that persisted even during her prolonged stay at home.

Chee acknowledges the societal stigma surrounding extended stays at home, particularly in regions like the Bay Area. However, her unorthodox path, characterized by financial astuteness, career shifts, and prioritizing well-being, stands as a testament to the personal growth and success that can emerge from defying conventional timelines.