Fox Family Edge: Moving Out vs. Moving Back Home

(CNN)) -- For Jessica Spencer, four years of undergraduate study in screenwriting matched a long-time passion, with new skills. "I've always felt like i am a storyteller," she said. A new graduate of Pittsburgh's Point Park University, she's eager to begin her next act, just undecided on where. "I would look more forward to possibly having my own place, staying in Pittsburgh getting a job up there, but I do realize the limitations, so going home isn't a bad thing to me."

At some point, Jessica sees herself in Los Angeles, a city with lots of opportunities, but a high price tag. While new grads may be eager to jump start life in big cities, personal finance expert Scott Gamm says it's important to really crunch the numbers. "Doing your research, and knowing what things cost, and what your priorities should be, that's going to put you ahead of everyone else," he said.

It's more than rent. The cost of utilities and the commute often get overlooked. So do the costs of experiencing a big city and having fun, and for so many grads like Jessica, student loan repayment, too. "That's one reason why we have kept that option of moving back home open because that will be her main expense," said Jessica's mom, Cindy.

Gamm suggests parents like the Spencers chip in with expenses other than an apartment. "Helping them with their student loans, building up that emergency savings fund, or even helping them build up that security deposit, so when the time comes, they're able to leave without your help," he said. Short-term decisions about spending and debt can impact long-term financial plans.

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