In the 80s my dad bought a house and a car. I’ll be 80 when I can get those,’ this young man laments
Today’s young adults know all too well that no matter how hard they try they can likely only dream of living like their parents did when they were in their 20s. And now a new music video has brought that disappointment to life.
The satire, created by comedy video company IFHT, follows a young man during his home search as he’s forced again and again to dial back his expectations. In the course of the nearly four-minute video, the main character played by Michael Russell, goes from dreaming of a brand new home with golden toilet seats to pulling a UHaul into his parents’ driveway.
Though this might seem like a story playing on classic millennial tropes — a 20-something turns to living in his parents’ basement when life gets too tough — the portrayal is more nuanced. The main character has a full-time gig, “a respectable job with a 401(k),” as he puts it, and yet, thanks to student loans and other expenses has little hope of ever saving enough to buy a house.
“In the 80s my dad bought a house and a car. I’ll be 80 when I can get those,” he laments.
While that may be a bit of an exaggeration, the video mirrors the true experience of many millennials who want to reach the adult milestones their parents experienced at their age, but know are far off, said Stefanie O’Connell, a millennial money expert. “Everything I’ve been raised to believe and everything that I’m surrounded by tells me that I’m supposed to do this, but my reality is so far removed,” says O’Connell, 30, of the mindset of many of her generational peers.
The data backs that up. In 1975, 45% of Americans aged 24 to 35 did not live with their parents, had been married, had a child and were working, according to a recent report from the Census Bureau. These days, just 24% of young adults have reached those milestones, the report found.
Social changes partly explain that shift, but the economy is also to blame. Rising college costs and stagnant wage growth mean that today’s young people are graduating with more student debt than their parents and working in jobs that pay them less. That can make living independently, saving enough money for a down payment on a home or feeling financially comfortable enough to get married or raise a child more difficult.
Shannon McLay, the founder of the Financial Gym, a financial planning company geared toward young adults, said she regularly sees clients who dream of buying their own homes or reaching other economic milestones, but aren’t confident they can get there. “There’s a misnomer that millennials aren’t homeowners because they don’t want to be,” she said. “It’s not that they don’t want to be, it’s that they don’t see a path because of their current financial situation.”
In many cases, millennials have to cut back in order to achieve those dreams, as the video suggests when the star moves back home in the end. The majority of young people who are living with their parents are either working or in school, according to the Census Bureau, which indicates they’re using mom and dad’s basement as a place to shelter and save enough money to reach those adult milestones.
That’s a strategy that McLay said she sometimes advises for her clients. She recently had a 26-year-old client with a well-paying job who planned to buy a home do just that. “His lease came up with his roommates and he couldn’t find another roommate, so he moved back in with his parents. And I said ‘that’s good,’” she said.
Source: Market Watch