More parents expect children will be financially dependent longer

Moving Out

Parents are expecting that their kids will be moving out and becoming independent later in life. Image: Flickr / skewgee / CC-BY-SA

The age at which parents expect their kids to be completely financially independent has been going up. According to a new Pew research survey, more parents expect their kids to remain financially dependent past the age of 22.

Parents are lowering expectations

In both 1993 and this year, a selection of adults, including parents, were asked at what point they expect adult children to be entirely financially independent from their parents. In 1993, 80 percent of parents said that they think children should be completely financially independent by the age of 22. Only 18 percent of parents thought that children should become financially independent at age 25 or older. In a similar survey this year, only 67 percent of parents expected children to be independent by the age of 22. The percentage that believed it’s OK for children to be dependent age 25 or older almost doubled, to 31 percent.

The perspective of young adults

Parents are saying that they expect children to remain financially dependent longer, and the views of those children are similar. Sixty-six percent of younger adults, aged 18-34, say children should be entirely financially independent by the age of 22. Forty-four percent of adults aged 50 or older fall into that same category.

Seeing a tougher future

Despite the fact that most kids and parents expect that they will be entirely independent by the age of 22, a huge percentage of 18- to 34-year-olds think they face more challenges than their parents’ generation. About 79 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds thought that it was harder to find a job, almost 70 percent thought it was harder to save for the future or buy a home, and 35 percent thought it was tougher to get into college.

[Using personal loans to cover expenses is something many young adults find themselves doing at some point.]

In short, most individuals 34 years of age or younger believe that getting ahead financially is much more difficult, but that it is still possible, later in life. A full 88 percent of individuals age 18 to 34 stated that they either earn or have enough now or will earn enough to be comfortable in the future.

Women seeing a tougher future than men

Generally, women surveyed stated that they felt it would be much more difficult to get ahead, financially, in life. This could be one of the reasons that women tend to be spending much more on higher education and pursuing higher educational degrees than they were in previous generations. Many more women have also reported that they are taking jobs “just to get by” until a better job comes along.


NY Times
Pew Social Trends
Free Republic

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