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An Insider and Morning Consult survey reveals that millennials are more likely than previous generations to postpone major life events because they cannot afford them. Money concerns, whether they are student debt, living costs or still recovering from the Great Recession, are not only affecting their financial and physical fitness, but also their timeline of significant life events.

The survey polled 2,096 Americans about their financial health, debt and earnings for the series, “The State of Our Money.” More than 670 respondents were millennials, (ages 23-28 as of 2019), and 730 respondents were baby boomers, defined as ages 55 to 73.

Key Findings
Below is a list of major life events and the share of respondents who have reported delaying each event because of money concerns.

  • Buying a home: 23 percent of baby boomers and 50 percent of millennials
  • Having a medical procedure: 41 percent of baby boomers and 49 percent of millennials
  • Quitting a job: 20 percent of baby boomers and 41 percent of millennials
  • Starting a business: 16 percent of baby boomers and 31 percent of millennials
  • Having children: 8 percent of baby boomers and 28 percent of millennials
  • Getting married: 8 percent of baby boomers and 26 percent of millennials
  • Entering a relationship: 9 percent of baby boomers and 20 percent of millennials
  • Ending a relationship: 9 percent of baby boomers and 19 percent of millennials

Millennials are more likely to delay every life event because of money problems compared to previous generations. The biggest difference is in buying a home, as half of millennials said they have postponed becoming homeowners due to money concerns, compared to 23 percent of baby boomers. This is not very surprising, as the median price of home sales has increased by 39 percent since 1970, according to U.S. Federal Housing Finance Agency data.

About the same percentage of millennials and baby boomers have delayed a medical procedure because they could not afford it. Millennials are twice as likely as baby boomers to have delayed a career decision, such as quitting a job or starting a business, because they did not feel financially fit.

Money is a deciding factor in the love lives of the millennial generation, as well. They are more likely to delay having children (if they want them), get married (if they want to) and enter or end a relationship than baby boomers were at their age.

In fact, the average age for adults to marry was 27 for women and 29 for men in 2017; in 1980, the common age was 22 and 25, respectively. A delay in marriage can sometimes result in a delay in childbearing. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that more 30-something-year-old women are having babies than women in their 20s for the first time in history. 

Desirée Patno is the CEO and president of Women in the Housing and Real Estate Ecosystem (NAWRB) and Desirée Patno Enterprises, Inc. (DPE), as well as chairwoman of NAWRB’s Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Council (NDILC). With 30 years of experience in housing, Patno is a champion for women’s economic growth and independence. In 2017, Entrepreneur.com named her the Highest-Ranking Woman and 4th Overall Top Real Estate Influencer to Follow. For more information, please visit www.nawrb.com.

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