Published in: Banks | Dec. 21, 2019

The Top 10 Costs That Young Adults Need Parents' Help With

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Younger Americans are still turning to their parents to cover certain bills. 

Millennials tend to get a bad rap in the media for being lazy and entitled when, in reality, what many younger adults crave is financial independence. But between lackluster wages and insane student loans, a large number of millennials inevitably find themselves struggling to break free from their folks' on the financial front. In fact, according to recent research by The Ascent, parents are still helping their young adult kids pay for a number of key expenses. 

A mother cooking at the stove with her adult son looking over her shoulder.

Image source: Getty Images

The top expenses parents still pay for

Despite their efforts to be more financially independent, many millennials are still receiving handouts from their parents, even after they've graduated college, moved out, and gotten jobs of their own. Here are the top 10 expenses some parents pay for in full:

  1. Phone bills
  2. Auto insurance
  3. Health insurance
  4. Mortgage/rent payments
  5. Streaming services
  6. Electricity
  7. Groceries
  8. Medical bills
  9. Toiletries
  10. Car payments

Now, some of these categories represent pure necessities. All adults need a roof over their head, a means of transportation, food, and healthcare. And while it's a little strange to see streaming services make the above list, it could be the case that parents pay for them somewhat willingly because they're fairly inexpensive. Or parents could simply let their grown kids use their existing streaming accounts, which doesn't actually cost them anything. 

But even though parents may have good reasons for helping out their grown kids, there comes a point when that support needs to start waning. For one thing, parents who give their adult children too much money on a regular basis risk falling behind on their own retirement savings, thereby leading to a scenario where they're potentially short on cash during their golden years. That's a dangerous thing to happen. 

Another issue, frankly, is that the longer parents indulge their grown children, the longer it'll take them to learn to better manage money on their own. In fact, The Ascent reports that it is millennials themselves who are spearheading the push for financial independence rather than their parents. This means that many parents who are generous with their money should instead consider encouraging their adult children to start hacking life on their own. 

Millennials have mixed feelings about getting financial help

Relying on parents financially to pay for so many basic expenses can take a toll on young adults, too. A good 59% of millennials say they're embarrassed to depend on their folks for money, and 46% say it makes them feel guilty. Another 39% acknowledge that getting those handouts makes them feel spoiled. 

Breaking that cycle

Millennials who still get help from their parents to cover the bills should instead seek to cut those financial ties -- for their parents' sake as well as their own. Learning to budget is a good way to achieve financial independence, and so to this end, parents should encourage their grown kids to map out their expenses and make smart spending choices that don't consistently max out their paychecks. Building an emergency fund is crucial, too -- having a healthy sum of cash tucked away in a savings account can help young adults steer clear of debt as they try to really make it on their own. 

The real world is expensive, and it's not an easy place to navigate financially. But the sooner millennials learn to tackle it solo -- and the sooner their parents push them to do so -- the better off everyone will be. 

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