‘Pay Up Kid, I’m Your Parent’

By Esther Karpets

How would you feel if your parents asked you to reimbursement all of the money they spent on you from the start? You might find yourself to be in over your head, and in more debt than your college loans. The fact is, parents invest an immeasurable amount of resources to raise their children and they never ask for equal compensation in return.

Of course, parents have the obligated role as their child’s provider, but when the child becomes an adult, the roles should not stay the same. Once a grown child moves out or finishes college and then decides to move back in with their parents, the child needs to learn how to be a real, independent adult. For this reason, millennials should pay rent if they live with their parents.

Homebodies On The Rise

The youngest of the millennial generation is currently in their college-age years and the oldest are in their mid-thirties.  According to the Marketing Charts and the US Census Bureau, an average of 54.8 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds live with their parents, compared to the 16.1 percent of 25 to 34-year-olds. The significantly higher percentage of younger millennials living at home is because of the dependent college kids who are counted into the percentage even though they may be living in a dorm. Therefore, the medium percentage of millennials living at home averages to about 35 percent.

For the older half of millennials, the average has doubled if compared to the early boomer generation. The Pew Research Center shows that in 1981, the early boomer generation had an average of 8 percent of 25 to 35-year-olds living at home.

What Is The Cause?

In the past generations, young adults got married earlier and became financially independent a lot quicker than young adults today who choose to pursue higher degrees and still depend on their parents for gas money.

Some contributing factors observed by The Pew Research Center that influence millennials to live at home include “their success in the labor market, the cost of living independently, and their debt obligations.”

The problem is not that millennials are lazy and don’t care to become financially stable. Instead, surveys by Statista reveal that “Millennials are more concerned with their financial future than other generations.” It is for this reason that many young adults find the benefit of living rent-free by housing with their parents while they deal with other budget issues like food, student loans, and basic expenses.

The Rent is Overdue

The choice to require millennials to pay rent to live at home is not to create another financial burden or to keep them from moving back. The ultimate purpose is to teach the young adult to become financially independent and more responsible in their spending habits.

Yes, millennials may be living from paycheck to paycheck and filling up their gas tank only halfway, but somehow they also have money to spend elsewhere. An article by Lexington Law mentions that “Millennials spend two thirds the amount spent by Generation Xers and Baby Boomers on entertainment.” If young adults are to become self-sustaining individuals, they need to learn how to balance healthy spending habits. And one way to get there is to teach them that the cost of living is not free.

I think that millennials will begin to value money more quickly and be more motivated to spend it on the things that matter if parents stop treating them like needful teenagers. Instead of offering all services free of charge, a young adult is better helped by paying a monthly fee for their stay.

It was at the age of 21 when I moved out and no longer depended on my parents for a roof over my head and a hot meal. I remember this transition being difficult to maneuver as I searched to account for every dollar. Aside from the challenges, I am now more aware of the correlative relationship between my work, my earnings, and my spending habits.

And with this awareness, I am more thankful for my parents to have provided for me when I was a child. Now that I am a young adult, I appreciate that they have taught me the value of money by no longer treating me like a child, but the independent millennial that I am.

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