Why Are Our Dependents Remaining, Well, Dependent Longer?

According to the above article by CNBC, 25% of millennials who work full time are still being subsidized by their parents.  The most common subsidies are for cell phones and car insurance. The recurring message in this, as well as other similar articles, is that millennials are disadvantaged compared to their baby boomer parents.    Take note that baby boomers span 18 years from beginning to end.  They did not all enjoy the same experiences or levels of prosperity; conversely, not all millennials have a need for parental rescuing.   The economy is always evolving.  Earlier generations had a plethora of manufacturing jobs.  Technology jobs are more common today.   Because much of the technology did not even exist when the baby boomers were in school, that gives the millennials an employment advantage in that sector.  Rather than the economy, there may be a few other reasons that millennials “need” more subsidies than their parents did at the same age. Some cannot distinguish wants from needs.

  • Boomers didn’t have Starbucks. A $3 cup of coffee, 5 times a week costs about $65 per month.  That would most likely cover the cost of a shared cell phone plan or car insurance.
  • Boomers didn’t have cell phones. They likely lived in a house with several other family members who all had to take turns using ONE landline!
  • Boomers didn’t have laptops, IPads, or internet. They had a lot of extra time on their hands!
  • Boomers didn’t have cable TV or DVR’s. They actually had to be home at a certain time in order to watch their favorite shows.
  • Boomers probably didn’t have their own rooms. They often shared it with one or more siblings. Sometimes, the only way they could get their own room was to get their own apartment!
  • Boomers are more likely to know what it is like to share ONE bathroom with several other people on a daily basis. Who remembers dancing around outside the bathroom door waiting for your turn?
  • Boomers didn’t all have their own cars. Driving the family’s Country Squire station wagon might have been an exquisite treat!
  • Boomers didn’t all go to college. Those who did were not necessarily bankrolled by their parents. Some (gulp) actually worked summers and holidays to earn tuition!
  • Boomers didn’t view experiences as necessities. Vacations and excursions are part of what makes life enjoyable. However, the parents of said boomers would not have subsidized frivolity before responsibility.
  • Boomers may have made comparatively more money, but they were more likely to have additional mouths to feed at an earlier age.

I’m sure you can see by the picture I’ve painted of Boomer Life, it was easier for them to WANT to grow up and move out!   If there is a perceived need for you to render support to your young adult, consider that in addition to the earning situation, there has also been a shift in spending priorities.  Now, you may be thinking, “I’d love to cut back on my contributions, but I would feel so guilty!”   Well I’ll leave you with a thought that may help you with that.  Have you fully funded your retirement account or invested in a long term care policy?  If so, you can alleviate your guilt by knowing that when you are older, you will not need to ask your kids to take care of you!

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