Much like the Beatles, millennials get by with a little help from their friends. That is, if they’re friends with their parents.
Thirty-five percent of millennials say their parents pay at least one of their monthly bills, according to a survey OnePoll conducted for Chartway Credit Union of 2,000 Americans between December and January. Housing is one of the larger expenses handed off: Almost one-quarter of millennials said their parents cover their rent.
No surprise there. Rent reached a record high in major cities, which typically attract young professionals, over the summer. While rents have slowly started to decline, they’re still more expensive than they were a year ago. The number of people renting apartments has reached the highest level in half a century—even millionaire millennials are renting (although some just prefer to direct their cash elsewhere).
Millennials also reported that their parents cover the costs for groceries, utility bills, auto insurance, car payments, and streaming services. Perhaps some of these parents are holding onto the financial reigns too long—but the situation is also indicative of the short end of the economic stick millennials have long been dealing with.
They graduated into the Great Recession and its aftermath only to be hit by a pandemic when they were finally gaining financial ground and accelerating their careers—all while saddled with massive student debt. An increasing cost of living has already prompted millennials to delay life milestones like starting a family or buying a home, and facing 40-year high inflation for the first time in their lives hasn’t helped.
For their mostly baby boomer parents, homeownership and wealth building was a different story. The American Dream was a more affordable deal for the older generation, who built greater fortunes and achieved financial independence at an earlier age than their children. Research finds the average wealth gap between those 60 and older and 40 and younger has almost doubled since the 1960s and 1970s. While boomers have had more time to accumulate wealth, the wealth of those ages 20 to 39 has declined.
“It’s almost like we don’t want millennials to get a piece of the American Dream,” André Perry, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told Fortune.
Receiving parental financial assistance—or even living at home, as many millennials still do, can help the generation save and get their finances in order.
Many of the millennials polled seem to want to take on their own bills, or at least 72% plan to within the next two years. Thirty-one percent say that staying on some of their parents’ monthly plans helps them try to save. But 30% admit they’ll take all the financial assistance they can get until their parents cut them off.
Personal finance guru Dave Ramsey has said that “Momma” can’t protect young adults living at home— but she might just have a bit more money in her purse to help her children who are struggling to afford even renting a home.
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