Flashback to Girls season 1 episode 1, where an unemployed Hannah Horvath dines with her parents in a New York City restaurant only to be told they’re cutting her off completely, cellphone bill included.
“But you said it was cheaper for you if I was on the family plan”, Horvath protests with little to no avail.
While 20somethings can relate to Lena Dunham’s character from the hit series in some ways, when it comes to making ends meet, a good amount of 25-year-olds in the U.S. today are not 100% financially independent.
According to Temple University Psychologist Laurence Steinberg’s latest book The Age of Opportunity, today’s 25-year-olds are 50% more likely to receive financial assistance from their families compared to 25-year-olds from their parent’s generation. Steinberg notes that unlike the 1950’s, today’s adolescence stretches over a 15-year span, beginning at 10 and ending at age 25.
On the receiving end of this delay, Randye Hoder, mother of a 22-year-old recent grad, published a piece in The Atlantic about her daughter’s $12 an hour job and why she and her husband are stepping in to help.
By providing their daughter with an extra $200 every month, paying her car bills and covering her health insurance, the two of them are not only preventing their daughter from falling into debt, they’re investing in her professional future as well, something that might advance her job prospects down the line she claims.
However, Hoder often finds herself burdened with determining what the “acceptable” age is for cutting their daughter Emma off.
“Is this just another form of over-involvement in a kid’s life, a monetary form of helicopter parenting? When does a financial lifeline become a crutch?” she asks.
In Steinberg’s book, the psychologist notes that it’s natural for parent’s to want to help their children, especially when entry-level wages are falling for both male and female graduates and unemployment rates remainin exceedingly high.
He points out that “what you have to remember is that times have changed. Parents need to resist the temptation to say, ‘when I was your age, I had a job and I took care of myself.’ That is not relevant now. We do not live in the same world”.
In Hoder’s opinion , what matters most in a case like this is that recent graduates make financial independence one of their ultimate goals. “If our daughter was at home all day, goofing around, my husband and I would be far less inclined to lend a hand” she says.
Read Hoder’s full article “25 Is The New 21″ here.