Nearly a Quarter of Millennials Say Their Parents are Paying at Least One of Their Bills

We surveyed millennials across the country to find out what expenses are still being covered by their parents and how much their parents actually know about their financial life.

Nearly a Quarter of Millennials Say Their Parents are Paying at Least One of Their Bills

Adulthood doesn’t necessarily mean financial independence, at least not for millennials. Despite leaving home and starting careers, many millennials still rely on their parents to cover at least some of their expenses.

We surveyed 800 millennials, employed full-time, about their financial life as it relates to their parents support and we found:

Many Parents are Still Footing the Bill for Their Millennial Children

Nearly a quarter (24%) of millennials who work full-time say their parents pay at least one of their bills. Additionally, nearly 4 in 5 (79.7%) millennials with parents footing bills do not live at home.

The most common expense paid by millennial’s parents? Cell phone bills (53%), followed by car insurance (30.7%), car payments and utilities (29.7%).

More than 4 in 5 (84%) millennials say their parents would help them if they had a financial emergency like car trouble or medical expenses, and more than 3 in 5 (62.4%) say their parents have or would help them pay for their wedding.

Some Parents Don’t Have Their Millennials’ Complete Financial Picture

While parents may be paying the way, they may not know everything about their child’s financial life. More than 1 in 3 (36.6%) millennials say their parents don’t know how much money they make and nearly just as many (32.1%) say their parents don’t know the cost of all their bills and expenses. More than 1 in 5 (22%) say their parents don’t know anything at all about their spending habits.

Millennials Feel Well Prepared by Their Parents to Make Good Financial Decisions

Perhaps the reason millennial parents are relatively hands-off in millennials day-to-day finances is because they’ve prepared their millennials well to make financial decisions for themselves.
More than half (56.8%) of millennials feel their parents prepared them well to make good financial decisions. Nearly 4 in 5 (78.5%) say their parents have given them financial advice.

The most common topic discussed is the importance of saving (71.5%), followed by budgeting (59.3%) and debt such are credit cards and loans (49.6%).
The topic least discussed by millennials with their parents? Investing. Only 1 in 3 (34.8%) millennials who have received financial advice from their parents has discussed investing such as stocks, bonds and 401k accounts.

Tips for Talking to Your Adult Children About Finances

If you’re anything like the parents of the millennials we surveyed, you’ve probably already given your adult children at least some financial advice. However, maybe you aren’t sure if they heard you or are actually heeding your advice. No worries, here are some tips for talking to your children about finances in a way that will make them most receptive to your advice.

Be thoughtful about what topics you need to discuss. If you’ve been feeling more like a bank than a parent lately, maybe this is a good sign that budgeting and bill managements are topics that you should discuss your child. If it’s been a while since they’ve asked you for money, it may be safe to assume that they have basic budgeting and bill management down pat. Now might be a good time to talk to them about saving and investing for the future.

Let it be a discussion, not a lecture. Remember to talk with them and not at them. The last thing your adult child wants is to be told what they should and should not do with their hard earned money. Discussions about money will go over much better if you talk to them like a fellow adult, or even a peer.

Be brief and accurate. Again, it’s not a lecture. In fact, this doesn’t even have to be a long winded, sit down conversation. “Does your company offer a 401k? You should start contributing. It’s best to start contributing sooner than later. I’ll send you an article about it.” Making brief and accurate suggestions are the best way to get through to your adult child. Even better, arm them with information to make a decisions for themselves, like sending an article.

Call for backup. Maybe the fact is that your son or daughter just doesn’t want to hear it from you. That’s when it’s time to call for backup. Recruit the help of someone else in their life that they would take financial advice from. Maybe that’s a favorite aunt or uncle, older sibling or family friend. It’s more important that they get the information and advice that they need to be successful, not who they get the information from.


We surveyed 800 millennials who are employed full-time (at least 35 hrs/week) in the U.S. about their financial life in relation to their parents via the survey platform Pollfish. The survey was conducted Jan. 12, 2017.

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Brionna LewisBrionna Lewis

Brionna is on a roller coaster that only goes up. You can follow her on twitter @BrionnaLewis.

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