The US Census Bureau released a report that 30% of young adults were living with their parents. That is more than any other generation since 1980. A number factors such as unemployment, college enrollment as well as generational perspectives are driving this trend.
A poll conducted by Clark University in 2013 found that 74% of young adults receive financial help from their parents after graduating from college. The financial support may be in the form of staying on their parent’s health insurance, staying on the family cell phone plan, or receiving help with rent or other expenses.
In comparison, 61% of the parents polled by Clark University (the same parents supporting 74% of young adults who have graduated from college) say that they did not receive any support from their parents when they were in their 20s. Only 14% of the parents polled said that when they were in their 20s they did receive regular or frequent support from their parents.
Although the majority of the parents of young adults polled believe in financially supporting their children, societal beliefs are not changing as quickly as their beliefs. The parents in this survey were happy to help their adult children but admitted that they were uncomfortable because society does not agree with them. The societal norm has been for adult children to support their aging parents. Many parents are now supporting both their adult children and their aging parents.
Why do so many young adults rely on their parents for help now?
There are two reasons: an entitlement mentality and the great recession
Some young adults rely on their parents to keep them living the lifestyle they grew up with but cannot afford on their own salaries. Instead of saving and working towards that lifestyle, they expect it now. They were spoiled children who have grown into spoiled adults enabled by their parents. They did not learn how to live on a budget. They have never been financially independent and don’t understand why they should settle for less when their parents can help them. In short, some young adults feel a sense of entitlement.
Other young adults have fallen on hard times because they became adults during the Great Recession. They started their careers during a period of poor economic growth and stagnant wages. Many graduated with large student loan debt. They need short-term help from their parents while they start their career or recover financially from a period of unemployment or underemployment. They are actively working to become financially independent and know that the help they receive from their parents is a temporary solution.
One of the goals of parenting should be to raise children who are self-sufficient, strong and can be successful in their own right. It’s time for parents to stop spoiling their adult children and make them become financially responsible. If you are supporting your adult children, you should let them know that your support will not continue forever. You shouldn’t cut them off cold turkey, but let them know how much financial help you can give them and for how long. Make sure they understand that your financial assistance is temporary and they should be looking for a way to support themselves without your help. Don’t let your children ruin your retirement.