I graduated college last year and ever since I’ve been living at home. Since my father doesn’t require me to pay for rent or groceries, this time living at home has allowed me to grow my savings. For this reason, I understand why living at home can be the best option. But even I was shocked that grown sons and daughters need vastly different levels of financial support from parents.
Sons need much more support than daughters. Why?
According to a survey by Harris Poll and Yodlee Interactive, men are more likely to live with parents and receive financial support. I have many friends in their 20s, both men and women who are living at home, so I did not find this fact that alarming. That was until I realized this survey was sampling people between the ages of 35 to 44.
Here are the most shocking statistics.
- Only 31 percent of women with living parents/in-laws receive financial support from them, compared to 41 percent of men.
- Women (25 percent) are less likely than men (32 percent) to live with their parents/in-laws, based on all U.S. adults with living parents/in-laws.
- Almost twice as many men (20 percent) say they do not plan to support their parents emotionally (e.g., calling them, visiting them) as do women (12 percent), based on all applicable responses.
- Men are more than twice as likely as females ages 35-44 to receive financial support from their parents, based on all U.S. adults with living parents/in-laws.
- Men are more than three times as likely as their female counterparts to live at home with their parents.
- Meny are also almost twice as likely to cite being unemployed or underemployed as the reason they live with their parents, while women ages 35-44 are more than twice as likely to cite because they’re taking care of their parents
In my experience, the women in my family have cared more for their parents. When my mother passed away three years ago, my sister and I took on the majority of responsibility caring for our grandmother. While my mother had two brothers, they rarely take care of my grandmother. For this reason, I wasn’t surprised that men are less likely to visit as often or be caregivers.
I have seen the other side of this however, as my father call his parents almost daily and visits them weekly, if not more often. Since his sister lives an hour away in Boston, he provides the majority of their care. Alternately, he did live at home with his parents until he got married at 31!
While in my family it is not rare for children in their 20s to live at home, in fact it is encouraged to live at home until you are married, right now I don’t have any family members who are over 30 and live with their parents. While my father helps me a great deal and I’m very lucky, I have no desire to remain reliant on him for financial support when I have my own family. I feel that being financially independent as an adult is a must. What do you think?
Michelle Turchin Ventresca says
I have two daughters that did live with me for at least a year after they finished college. They did not pay for rent or groceries, but did their own laundry. But once they were able, they left.
I also think that men would almost do anything not to do grocery shopping or laundry and I do think that plays a part for why more men than women live at home. All I know is once I turned 19 I got the hell out of Dodge!
Bargain Babe says
@Michelle Turchin Ventresca I agree that the more dependent a child is while they are in high school and college, the more likely they are to move back in after college. It would be interesting to see how the rates of financial dependency varied with students who moved out during college and those who lived at home.
How much do you think parental treatment influences these findings? Are parents easier on their sons than their daughters? My little brother gets a LOT of help from my parents. I find it pretty ridiculous. They are so scared of letting him fail. I doubt my sisters and I would have been so much slack had we become unemployed.
The Wallet Doctor says
Very interesting results. I wonder if it might be connected to the maturity of ladies compared to the maturity of males. Maybe it takes sons longer to realize financial independence and its virtues while women earlier see the value in relying less on their parents.
Bargain Babe says
@The Wallet Doctor That is a good point. I’ve read reports of girls maturing ahead of boys in school – by kindergarten there is already a difference. And that trend goes along with better grades. But it shifts starting around 8th grade. Anyway, one important thing the report left out is that grown children need willing parents to move back in. It takes two to tango, as they say.
Jen Y says
I think it has to do with how we’re raised.
I left home at 18 – one week after high school graduation. I came back for one summer the following yr when I was 19 but after that I was on my own by my own choice. My mother would have preferred I stayed longer – my dad died while I was in high school. It was very hard, I did without necessities at times but it was by choice. I wanted to be independent.
My husband left home at 20 & never went back. I was 21, he was 25 when we married. He paid his own way through college by working full time & taking 5 yrs to graduate. His senior year he lost his job & his dad offered to pay for his final yr so that he could just go to school…it was taking him long time to graduate with his heavy work/school load so he accepted the offer. So he was 24 that yr, he got a job around his 25th birthday & we were married right after his graduation.
Our son moved out & married when he was 20. He bought his 1st house by the time he was 21. He & my daughter-in-law are better off financially than my husband & I were at that age & their income is more than ours is now, though we are debt-free & they have a mortgage & one car payment. My daughter-in-law moved out at 20 when she married my son so the new family they formed helped her become independent of her parents.
As I was growing up my parents talked about when we were 18 we would be adults & would need to be on our own. They didn’t kick any of us out but we knew we were either going to school or job hunting the day after our high school graduation..we weren’t going just live off of them. We were all moved out by the time we were 21, there were 6 of us.
My brother-in-law lived at home until he was in his 30’s because his parents allowed it. They willingly supported him financially & were enablers to his dependence on them. The result has been a lot of heartache for the family in that he can never take responsibility for himself & expects everyone & everything to revolve around what he wants – even though he’s almost 50. He has never grown up even though he’s married & financially independent. He still manipulates any family decisions to fit his wants.
It doesn’t all fall on parents of course. At some point….I think in the teen years if not before…we are responsible for our own actions. We choose to let our parents take care of us because it’s easier than doing without. I have a friend whose son graduated from college & was job hunting. They encouraged him to move home & save his money. His answer? He was a 22 yr old man & needed to support himself because it was the right thing to do. It was harder than depending on his parents but he chose to be the adult he had become. Many of the young men I know are like this…either graduating college or already working & married by 20 to 25. I know very few who aren’t.
Bargain Babe says
@Jen Y This is exactly what I’ve been saying! I think adult financial dependency has a huge amount to do with how you were raised. It may be one family to another, but I wonder if boys are coddled more often than girls. Perhaps some soft treatment as children leads to greater dependency later on. Of course, many men are independent, like my husband, like your husband, and like your son. Thank goodness we married capable ones!
Jen Y says
I do think in some cases both boys & girls are coddled more but I think it’s much more than that. I think society has lowered their expectations of boys & raised it for girls. We’ve stopped fighting for our boys & only fight for our girls to better themselves.
Even then that’s not the main thing – it really goes back to what we teach our children.
I also have hope for the future with this current generation. My husband does new employee training at his company & he has commented on how many 18-25 yr olds he’s trained in the past few yrs that he is very impressed with. They’re appreciative of their entry level jobs, willing to work to earn more & they’re teachable. Not all of them are but many.
We know so many young people in this age range who ARE financially independent, even married & working hard to improve things for their little families. Really, I only hear of recent college graduates who are struggling. Those who chose to do on-the-job training in the workplace or trades right out of high school; or those who are working their way through college instead of borrowing their way through are the ones who are thriving. Yes, they’re living on small incomes but they’re starting from the bottom & working hard to move up. It’s exciting to me what they could accomplish.