Young Americans are constantly told by the media — and, sometimes, their own parents — that they think the world owes them a favor. Bad news for baby boomers: It may be the exact opposite.
Millennials say people should be able to pay for their own housing at 22 years of age, pay for their own car at 20.5 years of age and be responsible for their own cell phone plan at 18.5 years of age, according to a new study from personal-finance site Bankrate.com.
In all three cases, the younger cohort’s average response is about a year and a half earlier than when baby boomers feel these three landmarks of financial independence should happen.
“Millennials are often stereotyped as being entitled,” Sarah Berger, a columnist and analyst at Bankrate.com, said in a statement on the survey released Wednesday. “It’s refreshing to see that millennials really do have high expectations of gaining financial independence and getting off their parents’ payroll.”
The survey tapped a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults. Those respondents living in the Northeast said parents should help with housing costs until their children are 24.5 years of age. That was two years longer than for Midwesterners, 1.5 years longer than for Southerners and about a year longer than for those who live on the West Coast.
And yet the percentage of American adults who are living with their parents has reached its highest level in 75 years. Around 40% of millennials live at home, U.S. Census data analyzed by real-estate listing site Trulia recently found — the largest percentage since 1940.
This is backed up by data released earlier this year by the Pew Research Center. For the first time in more than 130 years, American adults aged 18 to 34 were more likely to live with their parents than with a spouse or partner in their own household, it found.
Millennials, however, shoulder more student loan debt than any other generation and face house prices that are far higher than their parents did at their age in a post-recession environment of stagnant wages. Student loan debt has reached $1.3 trillion as the cost of college has soared.
And spending no more than 30% of their income on rent or a mortgage, which was deemed a golden rule for decades, is now almost impossible for many young Americans. In 2017, the median amount most renters pay is 40% of their income on rent.
While older baby boomers may have missed the property market bubble that burst just before the Great Recession, many of those homeowners did face double-digit interest rates that peaked at 20% in March 1980.
It’s not unusual to have tensions over who worked harder at a younger between two generations. Bruce Cannon Gibney, who is 40 and a Generation X-er (born between millennials and a baby boomers) said baby boomers have appetite for consumption and a lack of empathy for future generations . Those characteristics have resulted in bad policy decisions such as preferential tax treatment and entitlement programs, said Gibney, author of “A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Boomers Betrayed America.”
There were political as well as generational differences between millennials and baby boomers. The latest Bankrate study said Republicans believe Americans should afford their own car a few months shy of their 20th birthday, three years earlier than the average Democrat’s response.
But their differences are also ideological: Some 66% of Republicans say people get rich due to hard work, an earlier survey by the Pew Research Center, found, while 60% of Democrats said a person is rich because of what life handed them.