Cash-strapped millennials are turning to our parents for help, which is not too different from previous generations, except that it is taking our generation longer to gain financial independence and stand on our own two feet, according to a new survey.
Facing a 14 percent unemployment rate, at least one third of young people have had to move back home and are living on their parents couches. It’s not surprising then that young adults are increasingly turning to parents for financial help at greater levels than our parents did with their parents.
According to a USA Today/Bank of America survey, 40 percent of Millennials say they still get money from their parents with the majority being younger people 18-25 but 22 percent of 26-34 year olds say they receive financial help. Some 36 percent of young adults are likely to say they got a lot of help from their parents when starting out, compared with 12 percent of their parents who received help from their parents at the same age.
Are millennials blowing the money we get? More than two-thirds of Millennials (68%) say they save regularly, but only a third of those savers have a 401(k) and just 20 percent have investments. With decades of work ahead of us, we are in good positions to maximize our retirement planning, but many young people have other financial constraints that make for a higher priority than retirement.
Millennials are juggling high student loan debt ($1 trillion nationally), while facing slow job growth. Nearly half of all Millennials who attended or are currently attending college (49 percent), are paying on a student loan with an average payment of $201 per month. Of these, more than half (54 percent) say student loan payments have “a lot” or “some” impact on their ability to save. And the impact of loans continues to retard hitting social milestones. Twenty percent have delayed starting a family because of their loan debt.
While tapping our parents handicaps both generations, it's an avenue that many Millennials are taking just to stay afloat.
"A lot of today's Millennials are dealing with a lot of financial factors that their parents, and certainly adults in America, did not have to contend with a generation or two ago," says Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, an author and personal finance expert who runs the site askthemoneycoach.com.
Both generations surveyed said that Millennials face more difficulty achieving financial goals than previous generations, including buying a house, starting a family, earning enough to support their lifestyle and saving for retirement.
Many parents appear more than willing to help. Among those who are, more than 30% said it's because their adults kids "really need help" and 23% said it's because they feel like it's their parental responsibility to step in. Parents have more empathy for "what young adults are facing in this economy," says Andrew Plepler, head of global corporate social responsibility at Bank of America.
Student loan debt and slow job growth have held Millennials back from planning for the future or functioning completely independent of their family's support. And it's difficult for this generation to juggle multiple financial commitments.
We often hear that Millennials are “lazy” and “entitled.” Ours is a generation that faces tremendous headwinds as we came of age during the worst recession in recent memory. Our career growth as a generation has been retarded by a stagnant economy that left good jobs behind.
Instead of Washington pushing policies that advance opportunity, they hoist on us greater taxes, costs, and regulations such as ObamaCare and limits on new industries.
The shining hope is that we remain a generation with a high percentage of college degrees and that we somehow are still optimistic. It will take time for us to get to where our parents are now, but we still hope to get there.
Let us hope that we push for policies that liberate our economy and our generation so that our children won’t face the headwinds we face.