Did you catch that new trend which has been building among millennials for the past couple of years now? It’s called “adulting” and it has its own hashtag and everything. Merriam Webster is considering adding it to the dictionary and there’s even a school in Maine offering adulting classes. How is it being used? Here’s one recent example from Twitter.
I chose getting an oil change over going to be a hoe and I feel like that should be celebrated. #adulting
— Marisa Mendez 🧜🏼♀️ (@MarisaMendez) March 21, 2018
For all of the young adults out there struggling with the concept, here’s one way you can build up your adulting cred quickly: pay your own bills. That may sound slightly more obvious than the idea that the sun goes down at night, but apparently this bit of wisdom is being lost. CBS New York reports on a recent survey which indicates that a staggering three out of four parents of adult children are still helping them pay some or all of their bills. And we’re not talking about children with disabilities or special circumstances. Many have college educations and are fully able. So why are the parents still shelling out the cash? As Felicia DeFranco, of Newburg, New York, said, “It’s so hard for them out there in this world.”
According to a recent poll by CreditCards.com, three in four parents with adult kids over the age of 18 help them pay debts and living expenses. Thirty nine percent pay their cellphone, 36 transportation, 24 rent, 21 utilities and 20 percent pay their kids’ student loans.
“As a grad student, it’s kind of impossible to do that – work and study,” said one woman.
The poll also found dads are more likely to pay their kids’ living expenses, married couples help out more often than divorced couples, and parents in the Northeast are significantly more likely than other regions to help with student loans.
Parenting expert Tammy Golds says it’s happening because the cost of living is extremely high.
Yes, the cost of living is high. But when you look at inflation and generational shifts in costs, it’s always been pretty high. Admittedly, stagnant wage growth has no doubt exacerbated the problem over the past couple of decades, but every generation has had to face their own challenges. My parents were born during the great depression, and my grandparents raised them during a time when there frequently was zero cash money to be had. Farming and barter were how many people in rural areas got along.
But there’s no need to focus on the distant past. When you graduate, either from high school or college, you go out into the world and figure out how to make your way. If you don’t make enough money to buy a house, you rent. If the rents are too high where you live you may have to get a roommate to split expenses. Failing that, you move somewhere with a lower cost of living. Or you bust your butt looking for a better job or a promotion at your current place of employment. Perhaps you could pick up a copy of a book by our friends Jim Geraghty and Cam Edwards, Heavy Lifting: Grow Up, Get a Job, Raise a Family, and Other Manly Advice. You can get a used one for a couple of bucks these days. Or just take one out at the library.
Seriously, folks. Your parents have enough to worry about unless you were truly born into the lap of luxury. If they live to a decent age, they’ll need all the money they can save for retirement so they don’t wind up deciding which flavor of cat food to have for dinner. The more you drain their resources now, the more you’ll be on the hook to help support them later, assuming you’ve mustered the resources and willingness to do so.
I frequently joke about how my father gave me a couple pieces of luggage for my high school graduation. But it’s not a joke. He actually gave me a suitcase and a duffel bag. I was the youngest of the children and he was ready to get on with his life once I was out of school. That wasn’t in any way unusual back then. In fact, it was the norm. Now, only a couple of generations later, we have three-quarters of parents paying their adult kids’ bills for them? The wheels are continuing to come off this wagon and there’s a big ditch on either side of the road. Some of you need to get a lot better at adulting and do so quickly.