At the age of 27, I am starting to have moments now and then that are making me feel super old. For example, my oldest nieces, twins, just graduated high school, and then, double whammy, decided to move out and get their own apartment. There is just something about the youngest generation of your family doing grown-up things that makes you feel one step short of a rocking chair.

But that isn’t really what this is about.

This is about what they have learned through this experience, and how this can hopefully help you as you explore moving out on your own.

1. There is more to rent than just rent. My oldest niece, Thing 1, is a serious planner, and makes even the most financially adept adult look like a shameful money waster. She very wisely realized in the early planning stages of this move that there is more to pay for then just rent when you move out. You and your roommates will also need to consider, and split, and be able to afford, things like power and water (if not included), TV and internet, and grocery bills/ food sharing. They share the apartment with one other friend, and Thing 1 collects money from them each month to cover rent, and their portions of the above-mentioned bills.

2) Even the most reliable roommates aren’t always reliable. Fortunately, all 3 roommates have good jobs that appear to be steady. But what if one of them should lose a job? Have a huge bill one month, and can’t pay their rent portion? What if someone wants to MOVE OUT? Make sure, before you enter a roommate type arrangement, that you know what your backup plan is if someone moves out. My nieces are confident they could afford to keep the apartment if one of the three roommates moves out, but if you are already stretched to cover your portion of rent and expenses, you may not have this luxury.

3) Who gets stuck with the bill? Again, should someone move out, make sure you know whose name the rental contract, and power, water, cable, etc… accounts are in. You may have to suddenly open a new account in your name- and sometimes, this may mean a large deposit to get started. OR, worse, if your roommates end up having the heating tendencies of tropical flowers, you may get stuck with a giant power bill. Even though you agreed to split these, ultimate responsibility- and ultimate credit report risk- will fall on the person whose name the account is in.

Moving out is- and should be- exciting, and for many of us, roommates make this possibility a reality much sooner in life. Just be cautious, and have a backup plan.

What is your best advice for moving out?