Comfy Nest Syndrome: Millennials Lack Money Autonomy


mom-and-daughterParents who provided financial help as their kids progressed from kindergarten through senior year of college are probably feeling some relief, knowing their days of forking over their hard-earned cash are finally over.

But new research finds many families are still on the hook, as more than half of recent college graduates still receive financial support from their parents.

The study, “Life After College: Drivers for Young Adult Success,” followed about 2,000 students from 2007, when they entered the University of Arizona as freshmen, to 2013, two years after their expected graduation date.

At the end of the study, only about one-third of participants said they were financially self-sufficient.

Meanwhile, 50.6% reported they relied on support from family to meet their financial demands, and 17.4% were borrowing money elsewhere. Even gainfully employed graduates still struggled to support themselves: As many as 48.9% said they received financial help from family.

As for the participants’ hopes of achieving financial independence, 98% expected to reach that goal within 10 years. Still, a small sliver (2%) of recent grads said they were unlikely to ever be financially independent. Two years earlier, only 0.6% of those same participants felt that way, leading the researchers to believe that college grads are growing increasingly pessimistic about their ability to support themselves.

The study authors say these findings indicate a shift in what it means to be an “adult,” suggesting that it’s possible to feel grown-up even when still reliant on a monthly check (or more) from the ’rents.

They also noted some potential negative implications for parents of recent grads, who are now faced with juggling their children’s financial needs as well as their own as they transition into retirement.

Whether you’re a recent grad or the parent of one, there are steps you can take to (painlessly) sever the financial ties to your family. Check out our guides to moving out of your parents’ house and giving your kid financial freedom.

  • linwf78

    Are you sure this is millennials? Granted, I’m on the upper end of that bracket, but they need my mother – I’ve only borrowed from her once – no twice- and I got no end of grief. (She didn’t pad my pockets when I was a kid either, or buy me things.) I’d rather eat ramen all month than ask her for money.

  • Ann Gonzalez

    I feel the same. Have a Mother who brags about her expensive truck, car, house, jewelry, ect… Also always bragging about helping her two fav. Grown adult children out of 6 adult children she has!

  • Angela Ford

    I think this depends, I’ve been financially independent from my parents since the age of 22 and continue to learn about being financially savvy. Although it took a year and a half after graduating to find a full-time job, I was able to make it happen by working 3 different jobs. It just depends on how badly you want to make it work. Having parents hand you money is all too easy and takes away from finding your own financial security.