Call it a generation gap.
About one-fifth of Millennials expect to be financially reliant on their parents into their 30s, while most parents say it’s “embarrassing” for kids to stay on their payroll past the age of 27.
That’s just one of many notable findings spotlighted by TD Ameritrade in its latest annual “Young Money Survey.”
The study, released on Tuesday, examines the state of young adult money habits and attitudes in the U.S. This year the data suggests that young Americans are powering through a series of financial challenges, including a lack of budgeting and decreasing savings tied to the nation’s mounting student loan debt.
On average, young Americans ages 15 through 21 expect to be financially independent by the age of 22. Ninety-one percent of parents say they expect those children to be fully financially independent by the age of 25.
“What was interesting was seeing that roughly half of them have felt that they’re falling short of achieving some of those high expectations, and higher financial ambitions,” said Chris Bohlsen, director of strategic planning at Ameritrade.
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“They have a plan. They have high expectations. (But) at some point, there’s a disconnect in terms of them achieving these expectations and there has to be a reconciling of what’s going on and what’s happening next.”
As expectations for one’s life have begun to clash with financial reality, feelings of underachievement have caused 48% of young adults to experience “quarter-life crises,” according to TD Ameritrade.
Traditionally, expectations for your life are defined through the experiences of your parents, Bohlsen said. However, as Millennials and Gen-Z continue to carry over $1 trillion in student loan debt, they are altering the way they define success to focus less on monetary values, the financial services company found.
Sixty-three percent of Gen Z and 64% of young Millennials agree that wealth today is more defined by the way you live than by the amount of money you have. And more than half expect to be “more successful” than their parents.
It’s been widely reported that Millennials define success through doing meaningful work, finding work-life balance and spending money on rare experiences.
Paying off student debt will take some time, and owing all that money is continuing to have an effect on young adult’s saving habits.
One in five of the young Millennials surveyed by TD Ameritrade said they “still can’t afford to save,” and those who are saving put away under $200 a month.
The number of Gen Z savers increased 6% from two years ago, according to the survey.
Most young Americans said they don’t even have a budget or can’t follow it, TD Ameritrade found. Thirty percent of Gen Z said they don’t budget because they are too young or haven’t learned how to.
The segments of young adults don’t differ much from Baby boomers – or any other generation – in that emergency funds are scarce. On average, Gen Zers say their emergency funds could cover five months of expenses, while young Millennials say they could handle eight.
Across generations, everyone agrees on the importance of their familial bond, TD Ameritrade found, as parents are the go-to source for budgeting and saving questions for young adults.
Two-thirds of Gen Zers and half of young Millennials said they turn to their parents most for financial advice, with friends a distant second.
Bohlsen warns, however, that relying solely on your loved ones is not the best choice as financial decisions should be based on your individual needs that parents may be unaware of.
“When it comes to being financially independent, I would certainly point out that there are a number of other sources to gain financial knowledge online, in a library, (or from) other people. That knowledge is extremely powerful.,” Bohlsen said.
“Do not simply take this one source of information, if you could diversify that financial guidance and try to gain as much knowledge as possible” that will help your financial situation “matter what your age is.”
Follow Dalvin Brown on Twitter: @Dalvin_Brown.