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- Millennials are already dealing with a more expensive life than previous generations, thanks to higher costs of living and crushing student-loan debt.
- Now, an increasing number of millennials have another expense to contend with: caring for aging parents.
- According to The Wall Street Journal, millennial caregivers are spending more of their incomes than older generations on caring for aging family members.
Life is more expensive for American millennials than it was for previous generations for a host of reasons: soaring rent and housing costs, pricier health-insurance premiums, increasing childcare costs, and, most popularly, crushing student-loan debt.
Now, there’s another factor to add to the list: caring for aging parents.
Clare Ansberry of The Wall Street Journal found that caregivers are becoming younger – since 2009, the number of unpaid young-adult caregivers has increased by 2 percentage points, to 24%, she reported, citing figures from the National Alliance for Caregiving.
According to a 2018 AARP Public Policy Institute report, she added, about 6.2 million millennials and counting are acting as caregivers for a parent, in-law, or grandparent.
The financial burden of caregiving is undeniable. The average cost of elder care can range from $18,000 a year for adult day care to $91,000 a year for a private room in a nursing home, Business Insider’s Rachel Gillett previously reported, citing a survey commissioned by Genworth Financial.
Despite earning less, millennials are spending more than older caregivers, and they’re doing it during significant life milestones. Scott Williams of the global initiative Embracing Carers told Ansberry that millennials spend 27% more of their incomes on caregiving than other generations in the same situation, and that one-third of millennial caregivers who have jobs earn less than $30,000 on average.
That’s not to mention any benefit losses or reduced work hours for millennial caregivers due to the demanding constraints of caregiving. Some are even forced to relocate. One woman Ansberry spoke to quit her job in New York City and moved to Florida to take care of her mother, who had Parkinson’s disease.
Caring for elders can be a burden no matter where you live – especially for millennials, who can have a hard time affording to take care of their parents when they often rely on them for help. According to the Country Financial Security Index, more than 35% of millennials live at home with their parents for financial reasons, and more than half have received financial assistance from a parent, guardian, or family member since turning 21, Business Insider previously reported.
Millennials born in the 1980s may be struggling even more so, considering they’ve been described as a “lost generation” at risk of accumulating less wealth during their lives, struggling to catch up ever since they entered the workforce during the Great Recession.
Millennials are already carrying the weight of economic consequences and higher costs of living. The strain of caring for aging parents just makes the financial struggles millennials are already buckling under even heavier.