For all the disdain heaped upon today’s young adults, the reality is that Millennials and Gen Xers are facing far nastier economic prospects than their parents and grandparents ever did. Unemployment, college tuition, student loans, rent, and healthcare costs have all gone up while job security and the promise of social security have dwindled. So it’s not too surprising that a new survey from the Society for Grownups found that 1 out of 3 young adults gets some kind of monetary support from their parents, often in the form of a family cell phone plan.
The for-profit Society for Grownups offers financial planning classes for young adults. Curious about their clients’ feelings about—and relationship to—financial independence, they partnered with Wakefield Research to survey people between the ages of 21 and 45.
More than one-third of respondents said their parents make some kind of financial contribution, whether that’s buying groceries, covering rent, paying for insurance, or, most commonly, including adult children on a family cell phone plan.
And support was not restricted to the youngest young adults; 30 percent of respondents in their 30s and 21 percent of those in their 40s said they, too, were the recipients of “significant, ongoing financial support” from their parents.
Writer Elizabeth Weingarten is in her late twenties and remains on her parents’ plan. It’s an easy, unobtrusive way to get help, she writes for Slate, since removing her from the plan would actually take more work on her parents’ part than continuing to pay. And her parents are totally on board. “It makes us feel connected to you!” her mother said. “It’s not an umbilical cord, it’s more like a little connective wisp. It’s as much for us as it is for you.”
The Society for Grownups noted that a majority of young adults getting support are doing so because they feel it’s absolutely necessary—70 percent of respondents who get money from their parents said they’d be unable to support themselves otherwise.
But as Weingarten’s mom said, this is a two-way street. More than a third of respondents said they were preparing to offer financial support to their parents in the next seven years.
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