Millennials have a new definition of “adulting.” A survey conducted by Bank of America and USA Today found that millennials tend to believe that adulthood begins when you’re financially independent. This is different from previous generations that defined adulthood by marriage or other important milestones. There has also been an increasingly obvious difference within the generation; they’re taking longer to “adult.”
There are theories that millennials are taking longer to transition into adulthood because of parents who don’t want to let go, or even because of a new stage in life called “emerging adulthood.”
The term “emerging adulthood” is a developmental stage that fits between adolescence and young adulthood, and it has quickly become the go-to reason for why millennials are taking longer to transition into adulthood. This theory points to the idea that millennials are taking more time to focus on their futures and finding themselves rather than jumping right into adult life.
Although “emerging adulthood” is a go-to theory, a major reason why millennials are taking longer to become financially independent is because of money. Studies suggest that both millennials and their parents agree that it is a lot more difficult for them to become financially independent because of different financial factors their parents didn’t have to face. Millennials have enough difficulty earning enough to support themselves, let alone a family.
Student loan debt along with job growth has held millennials back from thinking or planning about the future. It has become increasingly difficult for millennials to handle multiple financial commitments such as bills. Millennials are at a disadvantage when it comes to their futures because they don’t have the resources they need to reach their goals as fast as previous generations.
As more people are noticing and becoming more educated on the differences with the millennial generation, there are more theories on how to help them get through the transition. First, it started with colleges and universities providing more support for students through counseling, and now those programs have slowly developed into “adulting” classes that teach students basic responsibilities. For instance, East Carolina University has brought on adulting counselors to help students cope with real-world problems such as paying bills.
Other classes are being offered, for example, in the North Bend Public Library in Oregon. The librarians themselves teach basic skills on how to maintain a budget, find an apartment and even help millennials sift through and understand real news on the internet.
Adulting programs seem to be incredibly beneficial for millennials, however some people are not so convinced. There’s a number of people who are openly critical about the programs and deem them embarrassing. However, studies have found that millennials suffer from anxiety at a higher rate than generations before them, making the transition into adulthood incredibly stressful for the generation. These adulting programs will help calm many people’s anxieties because they will have had help making that transition.
Each generation has had its challenges, and millennials face the challenge of becoming financially independent and transitioning into adulthood. Programs such as adulting classes allow millennials to face their fears and take small steps toward becoming an adult rather than being overwhelmed by the process.
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