At some point, it becomes embarrassing to accept monetary help from your parents. For many millennials (people born between 1981 and 1997) achieving financial independence seems impossible.
Student debt, high housing costs, and somewhat stagnant wages contribute to the millennial generation struggling to pay their own bills without help from their families. However, it is possible for millennials to wean themselves off of their parental support system. To do so, it's important to do three things, according to new research from The Ascent.
1. Have a budget
It's nearly impossible to achieve financial independence unless you know where you stand. Figuring that out requires taking an inventory of your income and expenses so you can make a budget. You can use budgeting apps on your phone to get started.
You need to be honest and lay out everything you spend money on and match it to your income. That includes listing all the things your parents pay for so you get a true picture of your financial health. This will help you see where you can make cuts or adjust spending to get you on a path to financial independence.
2. Make more money
"Millennials who were completely financially independent in college made an average of $3,421 more per year than those who were completely financially dependent," according to The Ascent.
If you make more money, it's easier to pay your bills and not have to rely on your parents. That makes sense and it's proven by the data which showed that "respondents who gained independence between 20 and 24 years old earned the highest average salary of any millennial sub-demographic, at $45,396 per year."
3. Want it
Most millennials (72%) would like to be in a position to have their parents stop paying for things as soon as possible, according to the research. That group is much more likely to reach financial independence than the 28% who don't mind taking money from mom and dad.
In many cases, the group that wants to achieve financial independence but hasn't is doing so out of necessity. Their parents may be helping because even with a decent-paying job and a reasonably austere lifestyle, the millennials simply don't have enough cash to cover their basic needs (food, shelter, transportation, student loan payments) and "extras" like phone, internet, and streaming services.
You can do it
There's no shame in getting some help from your parents if you're working toward not needing their financial support. Having mom and dad pay a bill or help with a down payment on a home is not unique to millennials.
What's important is that you make an honest appraisal of your financial situation. You also need to accept that having a budget means not spending money you don't have and sometimes missing out on things you want to do.
Start by working toward not relying on your parents for things you actually need. If mom and dad still pay your rent or your car payment then you're being financially dependent. But if your parents take you out for a pricey dinner or pay for your HBO account, you're in better shape since those are things you like but you don't actually need. If you reach the point when you're no longer dependent and your parents are willing to chip in to make your life a bit better, that's a great place to be.