College graduates have increasingly returned to their childhood homes after receiving their diplomas. In 2011, the consulting firm Twentysomething Inc estimated that 85 percent of new grads moved back home with their parents. As recently as the mid-1990s, fewer than 60 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds lived at home, according to the Network on Transitions to Adulthood.
Now, a new study shows that the march back to the nest continues – and grads have no shame about it. TD Ameritrade’s Generation Z Survey found that young people ages 14 to 23 say they aren’t embarrassed about living at home until they pass their 28th birthday, at which point shacking up with mom and dad becomes more of a liability. By age 30, almost 9 in 10 respondents said they would be embarrassed to still be living at home. (In contrast, just half said it was embarrassing to live at home at age 25.)
The reasons behind parents’ appeal are primarily financial. Respondents said living with their parents lets them save money, as well as be pickier about the post-graduation jobs they are willing to accept. The cost of college and student loan debt also weighs heavily on their minds. In fact, half of the respondents cited graduating with hefty student loan debt as their biggest worry.
Those concerns have also been in the news this week, as Congress debates student loan increases. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who says the government should continue to subsidize rates for low-income students, released snippets of emails he received from young constituents, which echo the TD Ameritrade survey findings. Andrea Craft, 25, a single mother with $20,000 in debt and a year left before graduation, wrote, “I often feel like I am not ever going to be able to ‘get ahead’ and ‘make it’ in spite of my advantages.”
Melissa Weber, also 25, wrote that she is “struggling to survive” on her own, even though she has a masters degree, because of her loan debt. “As a result of my daunting loan payments I find myself barely surviving on an income that should easily support a small family,” she wrote.
According to the TD Ameritrade survey, many young people share those sentiments. One in three survey respondents said they worry about affording college tuition at all, while most also believe college education is crucial to future success.
The good news from the TD Ameritrade survey is that young people also demonstrated some financial know-how and commitment to saving. Respondents said that if they received a windfall of $500, most (70 percent) would save some of it, and 1 in 3 said they would put the money toward college. They also expect their income to increase over time, starting at around $40,000 a year after graduation and slowly climbing to $119,000 by age 60.
[Read: 50 Ways to Improve Your Finances.]
Just in time to help send their own kids to college.