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Twenty-Somethings Less Financially Independent

PITTSBURGH, July 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Financial independence is even more elusive than it was two years ago for 20-somethings coming of age amid global economic uncertainty. Millennials with at least some college education who claim to be "totally independent" decreased 26 percent in 2013 (17 percent) compared to 2011 (23 percent), according to the second nationwide survey by The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC).

"Many of my peers suffer from a failure-to-launch syndrome directly related to the surge in unemployment during the Great Recession and slow pace of recovery," said Mekael Teshome, economist at The PNC Financial Services Group. "It is not a lack of ambition we are seeing in these data. It is more about a lack of opportunity that has hindered many young adults' progress against their professional and financial objectives." 

More than half (58 percent) of 20-29 year-olds with some college rate themselves behind where they expected to be in terms of financial success, a 26 percent increase since 2011. However, for many of these children of baby-boomers, optimism remains high; 60 percent of those who do not identify as "totally independent" are determined to be independent soon.   

The second PNC Financial Independence Survey sought insights into the financial mindset of 20-29 year-olds who are establishing their careers in a highly competitive job market in the shadows of the global recession. The unique study compares responses both within the age group and among those with and without higher education.  

Path to Financial Independence

The top three factors identified by 20-somethings as essential to achieving financial independence are:

  • Paying the bills (78 percent): While paying one's own living expenses is considered essential to achieving financial independence, only six in 10 (60 percent) of those aged 25-29 have achieved that milestone.
  • Obtaining full-time job in preferred profession (59 percent): Only one third (35 percent) of 25-29 year-olds surveyed described their current job as an established position in their chosen field while 71 percent had expected to hit this milestone already. Hard work (64 percent), experience (58 percent) and education (57 percent) are the factors that 20-somethings believe did or will help get that elusive, preferred job.
  • Moving out of parents' home (55 percent): Forty percent of all 20-somethings and more than one-fourth (28 percent) of 25-29 year olds still live with parents or other relatives. There are also more mama's boys (44 percent) than daddy's little girls (37 percent) when it comes to still living with parents.  

"Twenty-somethings tend to have fewer skills than their older counterparts and generally earn less as well, which makes it especially difficult for them to cope with a competitive job market and steer their lives in the direction they hoped," Teshome said.

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