We Can Finally End The Myth Of The Lazy Millennial
All those headlines, all the jokes, all the misrepresentations about America's most deliciously hateable adults — they’re fake, people.
Of all the noxious, insulting stereotypes millennials have to endure about their generation — that they're self-centered, lazy, and entitled, not to mention the fucking avocado toast — none merits rioting in the streets like the fetid narrative that millennials are useless parasites leeching off their far more industrious, far more successful, endlessly responsible parents. Especially because it’s not true. And I’m not being defensive. Data proves it. In fact, just as many American millennials have been quietly supporting their parents as boomers who have been supporting their adult children.
BuzzFeed News performed our own analysis of US Census Bureau data, the official source of demographic information in the country. The bureau conducts a study called the Survey of Income and Program Participation that asks people a few questions relevant to this issue: how old they are, if they are financially supporting any adult children age 21 or older living outside their household, and if they are financially supporting any parents living outside their household.
Hidden in this census data, BuzzFeed News found that 1.4 million American millennials (born 1981–1996) supported their parents in 2016, the most recent year for which data was available. That number was statistically indistinguishable from the number of boomers (born 1946–1964) supporting their adult children in the same year.
“OK boomer” is not just a pithy retort; it’s totally valid. I’m giddy; maybe you are too. The same number of millennials financially support their parents as the number of boomers who support their grown children.
All the headlines, and the jokes, all the (mis)representations about America’s deliciously hateable young adults, they’re fucking fake, folks! A tale spread by a group of grumpy (and probably well-off) boomers that took on a life of its own, sapping a generation — their own children’s generation — of its dignity.
Millennials are surely not the first generation to support their parents (Gen X is doing a lot of heavy lifting right now). People have done this forever — because we love our parents, and parents need help sometimes too. But millennials get close to no credit for their efforts because they’ve been dragged by an unfair stigma for more than a decade, and it’s time to correct this error.
To find out who these parent-supporting millennials are, we reached out to the BuzzFeed community to ask people to share their stories. While some were rooted in macroeconomic trends — the fallout of last decade’s recession is still real — many more were about parents with health issues or disabilities, parents who made poor financial decisions, single parents struggling after a divorce or the death of a spouse, stay-at-home moms who had been out of the workforce for too long, and families who come from cultures where supporting parents is expected.
“Most people assumed I was doing the typical ‘millennial’ thing by moving back home, but I knew that was the only way my parents would accept me paying for some of their utilities, and they needed help caring for my mom’s health,” one reader wrote.
And contrary to the stereotype of stunted millennials living in their parents’ basements, a number of people said their parents had moved in with them: “I have to wonder how many other parents are claiming their kids still live at home so their friends don’t know that they can’t afford their mortgages to their excessive houses and pointless HOAs,” wrote another.
It’s difficult to read these stories and not conclude the myth of the lazy millennial was popularized by parents with enough privilege to actually support their children financially, whose voices were amplified over an entirely different reality lived by millions of people. If financial stress alone isn’t enough, the disregard for your peer group will certainly contribute to millennial burnout. Here’s a selection of stories we received.
1. My dad was laid off a couple of years ago when he was just six years shy of retirement.
I’m 36 and live with my parents to help pay the mortgage on my childhood home. My dad was laid off a couple of years ago, when he was just six years shy of retirement. My mom is a hairstylist, and she and I have been covering all the bills. Recently, we had to refinance the house, and I was put on the loan so my parents could qualify. While I had no qualms about doing this, I do feel trapped now. I also deal with the stigma of being a single 36-year-old woman living with her parents. I feel guilty because my parents worked so hard for this house and it’s something they want to be able to give me and my brother one day.
2. My mom left her stable, long-term job in 2010 for more money but was laid off just eight months later.
I help support my mom and my grandmother. My grandmother is a widow, and her and my grandfather’s life savings were almost decimated by the financial crisis. She at least has a home and decent health insurance, being a retired teacher protected by a union, but she needs help with everything else. My mom left her stable, long-term job in 2010 for more money but was laid off just eight months later. She has struggled to find a decent paying job with benefits since. I help her with rent, groceries, subsidize her car payment, and take care of her phone bill. I made decent money, but nothing close to six figures. It makes it hard to save and kind of feels like constantly treading water. It’s frustrating to hear baby boomers call millennials lazy.
3. She got into a lot of house debt with a second mortgage.
I have been supporting supporting my mother-in-law on and off for the past 10 years. She got into a lot of house debt with a second mortgage on their old house, and was making minimum wage in a very expensive state. We were able to sell it, fortunately. She recently moved in with us, as we have a small guesthouse, and she pays us $100 a month to cover utilities. She was able to find a full-time job and for the first time has been able to put money towards retirement and savings, as she's no longer living paycheck to paycheck.
4. Like many baby boomers, they had no retirement plan and had been using their house as a piggy bank for years.
After my father-in-law had a heart attack last year, it was clear they wouldn't be able to live in a house with so many stairs. It’s been a gradual process of moving them both into our house. We have given up our family room but gained live-in cooks and babysitters, which is amazing. I highly recommend multigenerational living if you can pull it off. That being said, this entire thing started because, like many baby boomers, they had no retirement plan and had been using their house as a piggy bank for years. They got far less for their house than they had hoped, and owed double their original mortgage. The out-of-pocket costs we have absorbed since starting this adventure are closing in on $8,000. I am genuinely happy to have them, but I also see the corner they got themselves into, and I will try not to repeat their mistakes.
5. The owners of their rental were selling, and they have not been able to find anything at all in their price range.
I am 37, and my husband is 36. His parents moved in with us about seven months ago because the owners of their rental were selling, and they have not been able to find anything at all in their price range. My mother-in-law fell ill a few years ago, and her medical bills are through the roof. Because of her illness, she's had trouble keeping a job. But she helps us out with babysitting and cooking. My father-in-law has worked for the same company for over 10 years as a kitchen designer/salesman, but his employer cut all commissions and he hasn't been able to find work in his field elsewhere. I work for a financial institution, so I've been trying to help them with budgeting and getting them back on their feet. We share a small three-bedroom house, and it has certainly been an adjustment, but there is no shortage of love.
6. My dad’s business failed, and my mom had to leave her job because of a bad knee.
I’m 40 and supporting my parents. We didn’t plan on it like this. My dad’s business failed, and my mom had to leave her job because of a bad knee. They took early Social Security, which was a huge mistake because they only get one-third of what they would have if they’d waited until 67. So now my sister and I pay them $1,700/month to watch our two children. That combined with their Social Security gets them by in their apartment, but whenever something extra comes up, like medical bills, we have to cover that too. Both of my parents have tried to find jobs, but no one is hiring 74-year-olds. I can’t make any financial plans without considering how they’ll survive. My husband and I have pretty much agreed that any house we move into in the future is going to have to have space for them, because they’ll never have the money for a retirement home. I love my parents, and I’m glad I can be there for them, but it’s hard.
7. She quit a job thinking she was getting another position, and it didn’t pan out.
I am 31 and I’ve been taking care of my mom for the past nine years. After my father died, we briefly lived apart, but she quit a job thinking she was getting another position, and it didn’t pan out. She moved in with me and never left. She just recently got Social Security — but before that, I had to pay for every living expense you could imagine. She has helped me with my children but it’s still been a lot.
8. It was a weird thing for me to have to teach my own mother how to “adult.”
My mom had been a stay-at-home mom almost her whole adult life. She never held a job more than two years. She went to college for “fun” for 13 years and got a bachelor's degree. My parents divorced, and my mom does not know how to manage money. I had to help pay her bills or give her gas money on many occasions. I finally had to sit her down and make her a budget because I couldn’t support two households, two children, and college on waitress pay. It got much better after I made the budget. My mom is a pretty good person with no addictions or anything, just ignorant to the realities of adulthood. It was a weird thing for me to have to teach my own mother how to “adult.” Honestly, she still can’t do it. She’s now engaged to a wonderful man that does everything my dad did and more.
9. She’s asked us to pay her mortgage, car payment, electric bill, etc., a few times over the years.
My father died when I was 10. By the time I was 16, my mother had burned through all the life insurance and racked up major credit card bills. By my senior year in high school, she was asking me for money even though I literally made $50 a week at my part-time job. We lost our house, and she filed for bankruptcy. Now I’m 30 and my husband is 33, and she’s asked us to pay her mortgage, car payment, electric bill, etc., a few times over the years. She got back on her feet, bought a house, and bought a reliable car. Little did I know she started using credit cards again and can’t pay her bills. Best part is she refuses to get a job. She sold her house and is now living for free at my cousin's with her 75-year-old brother. She never saved for retirement, or anything else.
10. Most people assumed I was doing the typical “millennial” thing by moving back home, but I knew that was the only way my parents would accept me paying for some of their utilities, and they needed help caring for my mom’s health.
I just turned 26 and I’ve been helping my parents out for a little while now. I worked almost full-time hours while in college and would offer to cover things for them here and there. After college, I moved back home for a little while. Most people assumed I was doing the typical “millennial” thing by moving back home, but I knew that was the only way my parents would accept me paying for some of their utilities, and they needed help caring for my mom’s health. I have since moved out, but I still help out with my mom’s medicine costs each month. My parents have never really come out and asked for money when things are hard, but I offer it. They’re my parents, and I know they would do it for me if they could. I’d love to be able to spend my money on frivolous things like my friends, or save up to buy a house one day, but keeping my parents happy and healthy is more important for me right now.
It’s so annoying to hear most baby boomers assume that millennials are entitled or lazy. I’ve spent such a big part of my life working for and caring for my parents, and it made me grow up quickly. Even now, as I settle into a career, the older generations constantly speak down to me and treat me like I must be so immature. But they don’t know one of the main reasons I work as hard as I do is for my parents.
11. I have to wonder how many other parents are claiming their kids still live at home so their friends don’t know that they can’t afford their mortgages to their excessive houses and pointless HOAs.
My husband and I are 27 and 29. I have been financially independent since I was 18 years old. After getting married, my husband and I prepared to buy a house when we learned that his parents were struggling financially. In the state they had just moved to, the minimum wage was lower and their fields of choice were not hiring. We ended up moving down immediately and moving in with them. We helped bring them to and from work and helped to pay their mortgage. Unfortunately, because of boomer pride, they tell people that we live with them and “pay rent” in order to save face. I have to wonder how many other parents are claiming their kids still live at home so their friends don’t know that they can’t afford their mortgages to their excessive houses and pointless HOAs. We've moved out into our own home, and still quietly send them money.
12. My siblings and I talked my mom into finally leaving my abusive father.
My siblings and I talked my mom into finally leaving my abusive father. For safety, she had to move across the country, and that meant leaving her career and using her savings for the move. It was more important to us that she have time for emotional rest, and that meant my siblings and I supported her, and still support her, while she rebuilds her life in a new state. I'm so lucky that my family is still so close, despite the trauma we've endured. We help each other when we're in a position to do so, and we never shame each other for asking for help.
13. She had left an abusive relationship, and, having been a stay-at-home mom for over 10 years, had to rejoin the workforce.
Right out of college, I was helping to support my mother financially. She had left an abusive relationship, and, having been a stay-at-home mom for over 10 years, had to rejoin the workforce. I went to an engineering school and thankfully had gotten an internship during school that turned into a full-time job after graduation, and the starting pay was actually livable for Chicago. I had approximately $38,000 in student loans, and was planning on getting a cheap apartment so that I could pay them off quickly. My plans changed when my mom told me she needed help. I rented her an apartment right away. It was 600 sq. ft. and $900 a month on my own credit. Once I graduated, we decided we would get an apartment together, but she did not have the same idea of getting a cheap apartment. We rented a 1,400 sq. ft. apartment for $2,400 a month. I paid $1,800 and she paid the rest, and we split utilities and other expenses. We just have different mentalities about how to live within your means. It's been a few years later now, and she is finally on her own two feet. We are immigrants to the US, and I wouldn't even be here or have any of the opportunities in my life without her brave decisions. It took me offtrack of paying back my loans — I still have about $23,000 to pay off — but I feel so blessed I can actually afford the payments. She does not see our story as one of positivity and survival, but more so of shame. I keep telling her: We are survivors — of abusive relationships, a crushing education system, a TOUGH immigration process, etc. Never forget how brave you are, and be kind to yourself as you give yourself time to grow, even when life challenges you the most.
—Two Frenchies in Chicago <3
14. My mom raised us as a single mother and has a lot of trauma from my very abusive father.
I’m 28 years old and I support my mother. We live in subsidized housing with my 20-year-old brother. My mom raised us as a single mother and has a lot of trauma from my very abusive father. I am currently paying off my student loans, and my brother and I pay for rent, groceries, and some utilities. My mom is able to work a small amount, and she contributes to utilities, but mostly uses her income to cover dental bills and therapy (she doesn’t have health benefits). I am aware that I could be living in my own and saving money (instead of living paycheck to paycheck), and I could probably work my way to homeownership, but I am unwilling to let my mom slide back into the social services system.
15. She couldn't find a job after having no education and being a stay-at-home mom.
I'm 29 years old and help my mom out financially every month. I just finished my PhD and am currently doing a postdoc, which is a temporary job. My parents got divorced when I was 15, my dad has been out of the picture since, and my mom has been living on alimony. She couldn't find a job after having no education and being a stay-at-home mom. She's also never been able to manage money. I make more than I ever have now — but it's still not enough to really save money, especially with paying student loans and giving my mom money constantly. I think if I weren't so financially burdened, I'd want to have kids but I don't see it happening, especially as my mom ages and needs more care.
16. My mother lost her career as a result of mental illness and substance abuse.
My mother lost her career as a result of mental illness and substance abuse. She spent several years working odd jobs but eventually went on disability, which wasn’t enough for her to be financially independent. My younger brother agreed to get an apartment with her, paying a little more than half the rent and expenses. After several years, he wanted to live with his girlfriend. So after I finished grad school, I came back and moved in with her. We split things pretty much evenly, but she won’t ever be able to live by herself. The eventual goal is for my brother and I to be making enough that we can split the rent on a place for her, but we’re definitely not there yet.
17. I am 27 and I have been fully supporting my mom since her mental breakdown 11 years ago.
I am 27 and I have been fully supporting my mom since her mental breakdown 11 years ago. I left high school at 16 and didn't get the opportunity to have normal teenage experiences. My entire working life has been motivated by paying the bills and expenses for her and I to live. Since her breakdown, she hasn't worked and rarely leaves the house. I managed to buy a house on my own two years ago. I picked out a home that is split-level so she has her own space to go about her daily activities and privacy. At times, it has been very stressful for me to have so much responsibility. I am now trying to get my bachelor's degree, but have to go part time to be able to afford everything for her and I. When I can't make the bills at the end of the month, that means I am out working a side job like Postmates to make ends meet on top of my full-time job and school. I love my mom, but she doesn't realize how lucky she is to have a kid like me. She never has said 'thank you' or has acknowledged my hard work for us. Somehow it is a twisted delusion for her that she is doing me a favor by living with me. I have accepted that this is a part of her mental illness that she can't control.
18. After she and my father divorced 11 years ago, my mother struggled financially.
My husband and I both support my mother, who is turning 65 in January. After she and my father divorced 11 years ago, my mother struggled financially. We are currently in the process of building a home where she can have her own apartment/space. It’s tough, but we make it work because that’s what families do.
19. My father left my mom when I was in high school.
My father left my mom when I was in high school, and my parents officially divorced last year. Our house went to my father in the divorce, and my mom is unable to afford housing. She works full time and takes extra work on nights and weekends and makes enough to cover just her bills. I’m blessed to have a great salary and an understanding husband who is welcoming of my mom living with us. But my heart breaks for her every day that she has lost so much over her life.
20. She has trouble finding and keeping a job in a small town that doesn't have any opportunities.
My parents got divorced when I was 7 years old. My mom was out of the workforce, taking care of her kids for so many years that she has trouble finding and keeping a job in a small town that doesn't have any opportunities. She also has health concerns. I started college at 18 and I paid for it myself. (My brother unexpectedly passed away, so I am all my mom has.) That's also when I started helping out my mom. At first, it was on a smaller scale, such as giving her a sum of money to pay for a large bill or something along those lines. It has progressed into now paying for groceries for her once a month, paying her property taxes (she owns her home outright), paying her car insurance, and buying her a car so she would no longer have any lease payments. The implications of helping my mom are absolutely astronomical. My husband and I are both 27 and have so many payments of our own to make. Giving to my mom adds a large amount of pressure and stress to our lives in a way we never expected to have so soon. It's also one of the reasons that neither one of us wants children. We know we cannot financially be responsible for one or two kids while we are already supporting ourselves and a parent.
21. I have a brother with special needs, and my dad has been giving my mom less and less money for his expenses.
I’m 25 and my husband is 30. I have a brother with special needs, and my dad has been giving my mom less and less money for his expenses. Their living situation was so poor that we have moved from a home we own to another state to try and get a house for all of us and for a better financial opportunity for my husband. I estimate we're spending about $2,000 a month in support for rent, groceries, utilities, etc.
22. I mostly give her money for rent, bills, and groceries for her and my little sister.
I’m 24 and make more money than both of my parents. My dad is remarried, and, because he is in a two-income household, it is my mom who at times needs financial assistance. I mostly give her money for rent, bills, and groceries for her and my little sister.
23. My mom has had heart problems her whole life.
24. As an only child, I always knew I’d end up taking care of my parents one day but just not so soon.
Dad was diagnosed with ALS three years ago, forcing his early retirement. As an only child, I always knew I’d end up taking care of my parents one day but just not so soon. I’m lucky: I paid off my loans and make six figures, so I bought a home last year and moved them in. But financials are always on the mind with a progressive and fatal disease. I hate all the entitled millennial talk: I’m in the absolute minority of my friends who aren’t paying back student loans and can own property. Not because they’re lazy or noncommittal but because we entered the job market when it wasn’t as strong and people lost valuable time getting ahead. Ultimately I’ve changed my entire life to take care of my parents and some days it is a burden and lonely. But I really consider myself fortunate to not only be able to help myself but also support those who raised me.
25. My father had a stroke nine years ago, which paralyzed his right side of his body.
My father had a stroke nine years ago, which paralyzed his right side of his body. He was a pilot. I was just starting out in my career. He was the breadwinner in our home, and my mother is a housewife. Ever since my two younger sisters and I have been supporting our parents due to my father's health circumstances, and our mother is the only person who could provide the caretaking in his condition.
26. I have been supporting my dad for almost seven years after he became disabled.
I'm 35 and have been supporting my dad for almost seven years after he became disabled and couldn't work. The Social Security disability process is cruel, so it took him two years to be approved. Since then, I've been helping with groceries and his bills since his rent is so high (over half his check). I pay about $300 per month of his bills on top of mine. I can no longer work a second job because the hours at my full-time job have changed and make it nearly impossible to do so. I recently took at a loan for $7,000 so I could pay off my high credit card bills and get my head above water a little bit.
27. They both have severe COPD and other ailments that make them unable to work.
My husband is 29, I am 24. We have been supporting both my husband's parents for four years now. They both have severe COPD and other ailments that make them unable to work. We both work 40-plus hours per week, and I go to school online. Our 6-year-old son is in school and daycare all those hours because my in-laws are physically unable to watch him. We pay rent, food, cars, utilities, phone bills, student loans, etc. We thank god Medicaid helps with their medical expenses, because we barely afford their medications. We do not qualify for any other state assistance, and only one of them is eligible to pull from Social Security. We have trouble even making ends meet month to month. We add to our retirement as much as possible in hopes that our child does not have the same burden as we do.
28. She's 71 and has both MS and ALS.
I'm 32 and I support my mother. She's 71 and has both MS and ALS. I've been her caregiver for 10 years. She lives in my home with me, my fiancé, and our daughter. I cover all her costs (food, utilities, phone, clothes, mortgage). I'm happy taking care of her, and I wouldn't trust anyone else to do it. She's always going to have someone to take care of her. It's benefited me as well. I've been able to make an income and not pay for daycare when my daughter was little.
29. My mom has MS and is on disability.
My mom has MS and is on disability. She’s on my family's phone plan, and we buy 80% of her groceries. I also supplement her income monthly and put some funds in her bank account or pay bills. Luckily she is in low-income housing so she can afford her rent.
30. I've had to put my entire life on hold to take care of my mom, who has a disability.
I'm 30. I've had to put my entire life on hold to take care of my mom, who has a disability. I'm a college graduate, but, because I can't relocate, I'm stuck in dead-end jobs. I'm trapped in an endless cycle in which I work and come home and take care of her. I haven't had a date in two years. But my mom is my best friend, and I'd much rather have her with me; assisted living isn't an option.
31. She has a double amputation.
My parents divorced when I was 9 but argued so much about child support that at the age of 16 I got a part-time job. When I was in college, I stayed home and worked a full-time job so that I could help pay bills — the recession hit my mother hard and she was out of work for nearly three years. I no longer live with my mom but I still help with some utilities. My husband never really got away from his parents: his father died and his mother lives with us. She has a double amputation and can't live alone. She gets disability but most of that goes toward paying for her medical expenses. Caring for our parents has put considerable stress on our relationship, and we have even put off having kids of our own because, even though we are in a better position financially than a lot of our peers, we don't think we'd be able to afford caring for our parents and children.
32. Our mom has no health insurance but has many health concerns including type 2 diabetes.
I'm Gen X, but my two younger sisters are millennials, and together we will be supporting our mom. She's lived with one sister for almost three years and will stay there until she needs more care. Our mom has no health insurance but has many health concerns including type 2 diabetes. She recently got a job at a grocery store, and I hope she can get health insurance. She had supported herself and her business on alimony, which ended this past summer. I have stayed home with my child and am looking for work now earlier than planned in part to care for my mom. How to use money is something most people need to be taught — and I wasn’t, nor was my mom. I’m grateful my sisters learned when they did.
33. My older sister and I paid for everything.
I am 28. My older sister and I have been financially helping my family (I have six siblings) since we were in high school. Growing up, I would hear my dad talk about how successful he was — but he didn't make the best financial choices and lost everything. Then he fell ill, so by the time I was in college he couldn't work anymore. My older sister and I paid for everything from groceries, his medications, doctors appts, rent, utilities, etc. I live with them, so I don't have to pay twice the rent. In addition to their expenses, I help with my younger siblings' expenses and my own. I have so much credit card debt, car payments, and student loans. I come from an Asian family, so it's assumed that you help out your family no matter what. I did it because I loved my mom and siblings. I used to be so bitter towards my dad. The first year of college was the worst. We were going through so much financially and emotionally. I wanted to be a doctor, but I needed a career that would make money fast so I switched my major to business. I am not as bitter now, but the years of hardship have worn me down.
34. I started paying half the mortgage along with my older sibling.
I have been paying my bills plus my mother's (mortgage, phone, and electricity) for eight years. When I was 16, I started paying half the mortgage along with my older sibling. My sister, now in her thirties, continues to buy my mother clothes and pay her electricity/phone while I pay for internet, new appliances, everyday items (paper towels, toilet paper, food, soap). I had to move back home to pay the mortgage because I could not afford my own bills and her house went into foreclosure. My life is hell and I can’t afford a night out at a bar because I need to provide for a perfectly mentally well woman. All I want is a thank-you once in a while.
35. I slowly started taking over all the bills that my mom couldn't afford.
My parents got divorced when I was 12 and my brother and I lived with my mom in a small townhouse. Once I turned 16 and could get a job after school, I slowly started taking over all the bills that my mom couldn't afford. By time I was 17, I paid all the household bills and rent. My mom only paid for food. My brother only paid for his own stuff. Now that I'm a married thirtysomething adult with two kids, my mother lives with us. And we pay for everything for my mom, including her car insurance and cellphone. The only thing she pays for is her own food. She is my childcare though.
36. My parents asked if I could take out more loans to help them pay their bills.
It started my first year of college during the loan process when my parents asked if I could take out more loans to help them pay their bills. I was told they would pay me back, but they weren’t able to. It’s been eight years now, and I support my parents with rent and any financial burden they have. Sometimes they go on dates and go shopping, and I get a bit peeved because they shouldn’t purchase unnecessary items with my money. But then I think about all the times they bought me everything growing up. It’s definitely a burden, and I don’t tell anyone, not even my fiancé. He grew up wealthy, so he doesn’t understand the importance of caring for parents, and he honestly isn’t close with his parents at all. It can cause problems in relationships for sure. Family comes first, though, although a lot of times I feel a bit annoyed by it. Hope my kids don’t have to do this.
37. I am a soon-to-be newlywed and am hesitant to start my own family in fear I can’t handle my parents and a baby financially.
My parents both live with me. In 2001, Mom lost her corporate job. She hasn’t been the same since, and, no matter how much encouragement, holding a decent-paying job will never happen for her. Dad went from six figures a year to nothing overnight due to an elevator accident. The painkillers, blood pressure pills, and Adderall make him unrecognizable to most of the family. He tries to make some money doing handiwork, and this seems to keep him going — so I am okay with it. I am a soon-to-be newlywed and am hesitant to start my own family in fear I can’t handle my parents and a baby financially. My fiancé is a champ for putting up with this.
38. My husband and I take care of my mother completely, and partially care for my grandfather.
I am 32 and my husband is 38. The catalyst of our financial struggles started when my father suddenly passed away on his birthday, a week before Christmas. Two years later my grandma died, and six months later my uncle killed himself. These three deaths have almost crippled my family. My husband and I take care of my mother completely, and partially care for my grandfather. We live in the Bay Area, where life is already expensive. Trying to pay off student debt, mortgage, and taxes is almost too tall of a mountain to climb.
39. Paying for her to live with me makes affording my degree harder.
My mother moved back to Michigan five years ago. She was living off money an ex left for her in his will. I was renting a house and when the money ran out she asked to stay with me, saying it would be easier for me to go to college with her helping with rent. But she didn't work for a whole year and I covered rent and paid all the utilities. Now she finally has a part-time job, but doesn't want to pay me, she just wants to save up for her future (she's 60). I also want to save up for my future (I'm 24). Paying for her to live with me makes affording my degree harder. I can only afford one or two classes a term. It'll take five years just for me to get a two-year degree with my mom living here. She has no plans to move out.
40. Half of my paycheck goes to them.
I started supporting my parents and siblings right out of college. They covered all my college expenses, and thanks to it I have no student loans. My adult siblings live at home and only one of them works. My father still works twice a week, but most of their expenses are covered by me. It is a little discouraging at times since half of my paycheck goes to them all the time. I get paid well enough that I still can cover my expenses and have a little bit extra, but I can't save money or take vacations 'cause there isn't enough money for that.
41. My dad has been living with us since my mom left a few months ago.
My dad has been living with us since my mom left a few months ago. Because she never worked a job, but spent all the money, he is in the hole by quite a bit. My husband and I (almost in our thirties) own our home and have lots of space so it just made sense for him to move in and try to get out of debt. And hey, we get a live in babysitter out of the deal!
42. Our mother passed away when we were younger, and our dad was never really good with money.
My sister fully supports our father and our younger brother as needed. I help some, but I have a baby and family. Our mother passed away when we were younger, and our dad was never really good with money. We had to put ourselves through school or work from a young age. Even though she has a great job and would like to buy a condo, living in Manhattan makes it tough. Not all millennials can count on parents, and all three of us had to make it on our own.
43. It became clear that I couldn't just leave my mom all alone — monetarily or companionship-wise.
I'm 35 and have never left home. In my early twenties, it was because I was couldn't afford to move out on my own. Then in my mid-twenties, I stayed to help my mother care for my grandmother, who had Alzheimer's. She passed away seven years ago, but it became clear that I couldn't just leave my mom all alone — monetarily or companionship-wise. My mother and I split the household bills. Luckily, I adore my mother and we would do anything for the each other. It works out for both of us, though eventually I'd love to move us to a larger house with an in-law suite for a bit more privacy when I start a family.
44. That's how my family works. We have always struggled.
My mom and I moved in together when my daughter was 2 months old. She and I split rent and bills (she is on disability and I was on welfare), and I bought all the groceries. When I started school, she took me to interviews. When I got a job, I started paying all the rent and bills and she took care of groceries. I paid her car note, insurance, and tags once a year. Her husband (they have a weird situationship) paid our phone bill. After my husband joined the military, we moved out but continued to pay half the rent for her to stay there until my grandmother moved in with her. Its been three years since we moved out, and we still pay her car note and insurance occasionally, and she is now on my phone plan. My husband and I are struggling in the sense that two days after each pay period, we might have $10 in the bank. We have no savings and if our car broke down we'd be in the shitter. His parents are comfortable, and we've been able to go to them when we needed bailouts. That's how my family works. We have always struggled; we have always had to stretch money or ask each other for help. I do it because I love her.
45. In the Philippines, it is part of the culture to support your parents when you start working.
Both my husband’s parents are in their sixties and don't have stable jobs. In the Philippines, it is part of the culture to support your parents when you start working, so it's not even a surprise for us. Considering our current responsibilities and expenses, I have to work extra to support our parents, our own family, and plan our retirement. Maybe this culture could stop with us, and our kids won’t have to worry the same way we do.
46. In South Asian and Muslim cultures, it's expected for adult children to help out their parents once they've entered the workforce.
I've supported my mom since I graduated college in 2009. In South Asian and Muslim cultures, adult children are expected to help out their parents. I started supporting her fully at 22 while most of my peers just help out here and there. As an immigrant and single mother, my mom worked very hard to support me while I was growing up. At times she worked physically demanding odd jobs that left her with chronic back pain. So when I miraculously got a job at the height of the recession, I took on the responsibility of maintaining the household to pay her back for all she did for me. My mom quit her teaching job soon after I took over. Now I'm 32, and we still live together, as is customary in South Asian households where children support their parents. I pay for rent, utilities, cable/phone/internet, cellphone, groceries, and other household goods like toiletries — and sometimes her car insurance, on top of my own expenses like car payment, insurance, student loans, etc. My mom runs a small at-home daycare and uses her income for her own car payment and sends money back home — she and her brother have always supported their mother, their two siblings, and their families in South Asia. If I were just supporting myself I would have rented an apartment with a roommate and spent no more than $1,000–$1,200 a month instead of the $2,000 I pay now. I wouldn't have cable and a landline, which would have saved me $150 a month. Considering other expenses, I estimate that I'd free up $1,500–$2,000 a month if I lived on my own, which over the past decade would have gone a long way in paying down my student loan debt, saving up to own a home, and just living a better lifestyle. However, I was raised to believe family always comes first, and I feel beyond blessed to be in a position to support my mother — and consequently help support several family members overseas — with ease.
47. After my mother fell really ill and couldn’t work for almost a year, we decided that it was best for her to focus on herself and her healing.
48. There are times I have stayed in jobs I don’t like 'cause I know my parents rely on my check.
About three years after I got out of college I stared to financially support my parents — my dad lost his job and my mom was a housewife. My dad continues to look for work but he has yet to find one. My mom started her own business but, like all small-business owners, most of her profit goes back into growing her shop. My money goes towards bills like car insurance and food. I just turned 30 and, because of all the help I provide my parents, I still live at home. I also sometimes skip things that normal people my age do, like going out with friends to bars or dinner. I won’t lie — there are times when it’s hard and I wonder if I will ever be able to move out or have a family of my own. And there are times I have stayed in jobs I don’t like 'cause I know my parents rely on my check. But in the end I love my parents, and they have done so much for me that I will help them as long as they need.
49. I don't feel burdened — I love my mom and love that I can provide for her.
My dad died some years ago, and between that and a myriad other issues, my mother is not able to work full time. She works monthly as a substitute teacher, makes jewelry, and receives a small pension. I have a great job i'm thankful for. I pay her utility bills, the family mobile phone plan, internet, TV streaming, groceries. She has money, money for doctors' appointments, and discretionary money. Basically whatever she needs. My brother gives her auto insurance, lawn care money, and help with various other costs. It's hard sometimes, but I don't feel burdened — I love my mom and love that I can provide for her.
50. I think it's more that we support each other.
I don't really support my mother financially — I think it's more that we support each other. I am 31, own my own home, and my mother lives here with me. However, she pays the household bills, like the electric, water/trash, and internet. I pay the mortgage (it is my home). My mortgage payment is just short of $900 a month, whereas she's paying about half of that for the other bills. It definitely helps me out though, because not having to worry about paying utilities allows me to save more money and also treat myself on occasion.
51. I know if I moved out finances would be tight.
I am in my early thirties and live in a house with my mother and grandparents. I pay all utilities, cable, internet, the family cellphone bill, and insurances. They pay the mortgage and buy groceries. I know if I moved out finances would be tight. I also help her care for my grandparents, who are both in bad health. I don’t think it’s a bad thing; we help each other out, and that's what family does. I have a two brothers and a sister, but they are married with children and are not in the position to help out financially.
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.