September 25, 2023

Why No Kids? Dependent 20 Somethings!

Why no kids? Dependent 20 somethings! (Photo credit: Junior Achievement)

Why no kids? Dependent 20 somethings! (Photo credit: Junior Achievement)

In what could be an indicator of either a massive drop in teens’ financial prospects or the fact that teens today are getting more realistic about their financial futures, a new survey shows that the percentage of teenagers who expect to remain dependent on mom and/or dad until at least age 27 has doubled in just the last two years. (Consumerist)

Chris Morran’s post, “Number Of Teens Expecting To Depend On Parents Into Adulthood Has Doubled Since 2011“, breaks down the startling figures from a Junior Achievement study released on March 27.

Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs. (Junior Achievement)

The statistics, based on a survey conducted with The Allstate Foundation does indicate that teenagers have become more optimistic since 2011 about their financial futures, but there’s a catch.

Junior Achievement USA® (JA) and The Allstate Foundation’s 2013 Teens and Personal Finance Poll shows that teenagers are more optimistic about their financial futures, with a 20 percent increase in teens believing they will be financially better off than their parents. However, part of their financial security comes from depending on parents until a later age. (Junior Achievement)

Read: teens eye a brighter financial future so long as they can maintain their allowance cord into their late twenties. Hang on, ‘rents, don’t snip the dinero umbilical cord yet! But when exactly is “yet”?

The survey found that 25 percent of teens think they will be age 25-27 before becoming financially independent from their parents, up from 12 percent in 2011. (Junior Achievement)

Umbilical Cord Bungee Jump (Credit: Rob Caswell)

Umbilical Cord Bungee Jump (Credit: Rob Caswell)

Heck, by then these coddled teens might even have children of their own. Having spent a few years living in France and Italy as a 20 something where this social trend was common, this sounds familiar. Jack E. Kosakowski, the President and CEO of Junior Achievement USA fleshes out the news a bit.

[I] infer that teens expect to live with their parents longer because 23 percent are unsure about their ability to budget and nearly 20 percent express similar feelings about the use of credit cards. Additionally, 34 percent of teens express a lack of confidence in their ability to invest their money. (Junior Achievement)

A 40 Something on Dependent 20 Somethings

I’m no finance wizard (Team WNK relies on BrianWNK for all matters economic) nor do I claim a stellar post adolescence financial trajectory. In short, I’m ill qualified to opine on the dramatic shift over the last two years highlighted in these sorts of survey results:

In 2011, 75% of teens said they would be supporting themselves at some point between 18 and 24. In just two years, that has decreased to 59%. (Consumerist)

Sounds like bad news to me, probably in keeping with US financial outlooks in general, but my macroeconomic barometer is probably not that relevant. Nor is it worth my weighing in on these findings (via Junior Achievement):

  • Of the 33 percent of teens who say they do not use a budget, 42 percent are “not interested” and more than a quarter (26 percent) think “budgets are for adults.”
  • More than half of teens (52 percent) think students are borrowing too much to pay for college, yet only nine percent report they are currently saving money for college. Nearly 30 percent have not talked with their parents about paying for higher education.

The times are a’changing. I suspect that our collective unconscious should be unsettled. But I’ll leave the really wise and useful conclusions to scholars and pundits.

So, if I’m not going to slash around in the statistics and social science mosh pit, then why-oh-why did I bring up all these distressing survey results? And why are they distressing?

Well, in a very selfish way, they are not too distressing. Not to me. Personally. Because… I have no children, dependent or otherwise. But if I did, if Junior were texting me another request for an advance on his allowance to cover his Verizon bill, then I might well be extremely distressed about the survey results. The odds seem to be increasingly good that Junior will be siphoning off funds for a looong time. And, frankly, I’m pretty sure I’d be concerned if my 20 something were still totally dependent into the dawn of his/her third decade.

Do you follow me?

Dependent 20 somethings strike me as another really good reason why not to have kids. Let’s call it reason #1972. Actually I might have already used that. There are a lot of reasons why I don’t have kids. Cash hungry 20 somethings had never before crossed my mind. Overall expense? Check. Tuition? Check. But the possibility of having a 20 something that fails to launch? Add it to the list…

Why no kids? Dependent 20 somethings!