Time and time again, we’ve discussed how America’s millennial generation is burdened by debt, effectively precluded from home ownership and increasingly disgruntled and pessimistic about their future prospects for wealth and happiness.
In its latest Global Wealth Report, Credit Suisse said the millennial generation has faced “a run of bad luck”, much of which was centered around the financial crisis.
“The “Millennials” – people who came of age after the turn of the century – have had a run of bad luck, most clearly in developed markets. Capital losses in the global financial crisis of 2008-2009 and high subsequent unemployment have dealt serious blows to young workers and savers. Add rising student debt in several developed countries, tighter mortgage rules after 2008, higher house prices, increased income inequality, less access to pensions and lower income mobility and you have a “perfect storm” holding back wealth accumulation by the Millennials in many countries.”
And maybe as a consequence of this “bad luck” (or perhaps because of their sense of entitlement and their unwillingness to seek challenging careers in the sciences or engineering fields), millennials also outrank previous generations in another area: The unprecedented number of people in their mid-to-late 20s (and some even later) who are still living with their parents, or relying on some form of financial help from their parents. Even some who have full time jobs.
To that end, CNBC recently pointed out a study showing that nearly a quarter of millennials who are fully employed report receiving help from their parents.
The survey, conducted by Instamonitor, involved 800 millennials, defined as those between the ages of 18 and 34.
The most common bills paid for by parents were cell phones – 54% – and car insurance – 31%.
“For some millennials, especially those just transitioning into adulthood, it can take some time to get to the point where they don’t need their parents’ help,” said certified financial planner Marguerita Cheng, CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
“I’d never tell a parent not to help their kids, but they do need to set parameters,” Cheng said.
The more than 75.4 million millennials generally face financial challenges that their parents did not, CNBC concludes. And it’s not just that they’re carrying $1.4 trillion in student loan debt – their wages are lower than their parents’ wages were when they were in their 20s (when adjusted for inflation, of course).
A 2017 study of Federal Reserve data by advocacy group Young Invincibles showed that millennials earned an average of $40,581 in 2013. That’s 20 percent less than the inflation-adjusted $50,910 earned baby boomers in 1989.
As one might expect, a separate study conducted by CreditCards.com last year found that parents report higher rates of helping out their adult children – with as many as 74% of parents saying they provided some form of financial support.
Of course, as CNBC points out, for many millennials, accepting support from their parents comes with some uncomfortable strings, like allowing parents to monitor your spending to a certain degree.
Which is why it recommends that all adult children should have “an exit strategy” by having a pre-set date in mind for when they will take over paying whatever bill their parents hep them with.
But since many of the jobs being created by the US’s allegedly “tight” labor market are part-time gigs (and what’s worse, wage growth across industries has been stagnant) – and pretty much all high-paying career-track jobs requiring advanced degrees or some specialized skill like software programming – we wonder whether a growing number of millennials are coming to terms with the idea that they might need to rely on their parents forever.