One of the presentations I gave this year was entitled “Getting to Life After Dr.” It was only a one hour program, but answered the question, “How much money do I need to retire?” and advised “How to put that money aside.” None of my recommendations included “How to pay for your kids to live in your basement.”
It’s amazing to me that, more than three years past the peak of the pandemic, 35% of Millennials and Gen Zs are still relying on their parents for financial assistance. Some are still living at home, while others are relying on their parents to pay their rent, car payment, and cell phone bill. And, incredibly, most plan to “retire” by age 55. Retire from what, and how does that math work exactly?
I can understand that those who got a trophy for “showing up” might feel entitled, but I really blame the parents for teaching their kids that they don’t have to be responsible for themselves. Providing needed assistance during a temporary life crisis is one thing (job loss, divorce, limited child-care), but allowing the status quo to remain unchanged long term, is quite another. They’re adults, and its past time they made their own way. It’s not as though good jobs aren’t available!
Sadly, these well-meaning parents, while continuing to care for their children, are forgoing saving for their own, well-deserved, retirement while enabling bad behavior. And, one day, the bill will come due. The question is, if these parents sacrificed for their children, will their children be willing and financially able to care for them as elders, or help them age in place? That’s a fair question, and I’m not sure either generation has considered such a scenario to any great degree.
As a member of the “Boomer,” generation, I remember how excited my friends and I were to get our first job; mowing yards, delivering newspapers, clerking in the hardware store, or working as “soda jerks” after school. It was a rite of passage, and helped us buy our first cars. We were, in fact, fiercely independent and embraced young adulthood. I’m not sure these younger generations do.
One day the bill will come due for these aging, but well-meaning parents. But I believe that, unless things change, they’ll be the ones picking up the tab.
“Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.“