A quarter of this generation of young adults might never marry
May 25, 2016 11:48 AM   Subscribe

Millennials’ Roommates Now More Likely to Be Parents Than Partners. "Millennials, who have been slower than previous generations to marry and set up their own households, reached that milestone in 2014, when 32.1 percent lived in a parent’s home, compared with 31.6 percent who lived with a spouse or a partner, the report found."

The full report is available here.
posted by crazy with stars (103 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's great that they're supporting their parents like that.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 11:58 AM on May 25, 2016 [16 favorites]


Thankfully the economy is strong, so we can only attribute this to the fecklessness of that cohort. <--this is meant to be despairing sarcasm, not an actual statement of belief.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 11:59 AM on May 25, 2016 [33 favorites]


I've got two high school aged daughters at home, and I swear to God, I will go the arranged marriage route if they are still kicking around in a decade.

I`ll even kick in a couple sheep if that helps sweeten the deal.
posted by Keith Talent at 12:00 PM on May 25, 2016 [10 favorites]




we can only attribute this to the fecklessness of that cohort

They do seem to take a lot of pride in not giving a feck, is all I'm saying.
posted by The Tensor at 12:05 PM on May 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


millennials in this study defined as "adults ages 18 to 34" (which, come on, seriously?)

Further down it states:

Beyond gender, young adults’ living arrangements differ considerably by education and racial and ethnic background—both of which are tied to economic wherewithal.


As those of "racial and ethnic background" and those lacking economic "wherewithal" increase in this nation, I'm not surprised that folkhabitation increases as well.
posted by rebent at 12:06 PM on May 25, 2016 [2 favorites]




Perhaps we can do away with the assumption that all adults get married and have kids or they aren't adults. Some do...but not all do.

Kudos to all those who live the life they want, with their own rules and timetable, rather than being forced into the life expected of them by others.
posted by answergrape at 12:09 PM on May 25, 2016 [36 favorites]


I saw this the other day and was surprised that it didn't bother me (other than the "I would like this not to be because my kid had no other options" thing). We only have one kid, and when he's an adult, we'll be getting close to retirement age. If he lives with us till he marries (if he wants to) it might not be the worst thing to have him around the house.

It used to be much more the norm for young adults to do just that.

I mean, I'm not going to be washing his socks that whole time. We are teaching him to cook, clean and otherwise care for himself. We'll expect him to work and provide his own entertainment. And if it really cramped everyone's style we'd have to go our own ways.

But both the husband and I, when we were young and out of the house, made many financial missteps, lived in dangerous/horrible places, and worked for abusive bosses. The question is, were those necessary life lessons or things it would have been ok to avoid?

(I do not know the answer to this question).
posted by emjaybee at 12:10 PM on May 25, 2016 [28 favorites]


Welp there's only one solution to this. Boomer parents, it's time to sign title of your properties over to your kids, recede into the woods, and sing folk songs while you wait for wolves and beetles to return you to nature
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:11 PM on May 25, 2016 [76 favorites]


And yet housing prices go up and up and up and up despite the fact that no-one can allegedly afford to buy them.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:14 PM on May 25, 2016 [10 favorites]


recede into the woods, and sing folk songs while you wait for wolves and beetles to return you to nature

We can't go out on the ice to die anymore, since it's all melted.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:21 PM on May 25, 2016 [50 favorites]


And yet housing prices go up and up and up and up despite the fact that no-one can allegedly afford to buy them.

Oh no, there's people who can afford to buy them. Hundreds of them. Thousands of them. Then they'll just collect rent on them, because everybody else has to live somewhere.

Eventually there'll be no more money to pay the rent, and people will pay through things like sexual favors, or working the lord's fields five days a week.
posted by Naberius at 12:21 PM on May 25, 2016 [41 favorites]


Something people may not be considering:

Some millennials are living with their parents because their parents are no longer able to care for themselves and are unable to retire and/or afford an in-house caretaker, or even a nursing home.

So yeah, big surprise, who takes care of the parents? The children. Why do they end up living with them? It's easier when you have to be there all the time to help them get out of bed, change their diapers, eat a meal, etc. etc.

Now, I'm sure that plenty of millennials are also living with parents simply out of necessity, however, considering my own families circumstances, despite not currently living with my family, I could see my mother needing to live with me within the next five years. She is still paying off her house and she's going on 70. She will not have retirement and only a pittance of Social Security. There is no way for her to really "retire" and when she does stop working, it will simply be because her body has given out and she can no longer do it. When that time comes, she will not have the money to pay for a caretaker, so hopefully the house is already paid off and she can sell it and come live with me because I do not look forward to moving back to my shithole hometown to do end-of-life care for my mother.

Just helping people remember not all Baby Boomers are rich fuckwads, and plenty of them got totally shafted in terms of their retirement savings in the housing market crash (like my uncle, who went from being the richest person I knew after decades at IBM then Sun Microsystems, to living with roommates at the age of 68.). Yes, plenty of millennials have been priced out of adulthood, but plenty of those millennials are also in the process of trying to help their families not starve in their old age, because they got priced out of adulthood after being there for 30 years.
posted by deadaluspark at 12:22 PM on May 25, 2016 [66 favorites]


About 22 percent of young adults now live in a dormitory or a prison, or with a relative like a grandparent or a sibling — compared with 13 percent in 1960.

And 37% of young adults' favorite food is pizza, cheeseburgers or battery acid. Not sure why we threw that last one in with the others, but there it is!
posted by gurple at 12:26 PM on May 25, 2016 [51 favorites]


About 22 percent of young adults now live in a dormitory or a prison
One of these things is not like the other.
posted by drlith at 12:27 PM on May 25, 2016 [8 favorites]


"But in some cases, he cautioned, the grown children’s continued presence in the parental home can signal an inability to take the steps needed to become real adults."

So what is a "real adult" I keep seeing versions of "real adult" around and I don't know what a real adult is supposed to be.

Based on the "adults" I've known... is it when I get a 30 year adjustable rate mortage and develop a drinking problem? After my first or second unplanned child? When I have a crazy ex I need to bail out of jail every couple months? When I my crows feet get to a certain millimeter depth? What is it exactly that I and the rest of my cohort need to do?

I'm pretty sure talking about "real adults" is just a way to shit on kids from a place of inscrutable presumed adulthood and I'm tired of people treating me and my cohort like we're immature and irresponsible lazy roustabouts because homeownership and thirty years of servitude to a lender looks like a scam and not an investment and because I recognize that I am not and may never be suited to raise children and recognizing this avoid causing new children to exist!
posted by Matt Oneiros at 12:28 PM on May 25, 2016 [36 favorites]


I saw this the other day and was surprised that it didn't bother me (other than the "I would like this not to be because my kid had no other options" thing). We only have one kid, and when he's an adult, we'll be getting close to retirement age. If he lives with us till he marries (if he wants to) it might not be the worst thing to have him around the house.

We're raising my daughter in a multigenerational situation (my folks' house is right behind mine on our lot), and I'm hoping that normalizing the experience removes any/all external baggage about what adults "should" or shouldn't do vis a vis living with family. I say I'd love to have her live here after college now, but she's also adorable and kindergarten aged. When she's in her teens, we may well be working on the rocket that launches one of us into space just to get away from the other one.
posted by sobell at 12:28 PM on May 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


There was a worry that a lot of McMansions would go unoccupied as the kids moved out and the parents looked for some place smaller. Perhaps that will no longer be a concern.

All witticism aside, me and Mrs Ber are in our fifties. Six years ago, after my wife's job had long gone south and the robber barons now running my then employer began shipping jobs off to India and the Philippines, we moved across two states back to my parents house. There were two low-paying jobs we could take, no big city housing cost, a four block commute, and mom only lived there three months out of the year. The odd thing was that once we moved back I found that we weren't the only one. I met other people who really shouldn't be on the move that did what we did.

I think that the current state of affairs is not the blame of the milennials but the goddamn economy, income inequality, the vanishing middle class, etc. This is the state of affairs we are now in.

If you think there's an uptick in multi-generation homes now, wait until the Atlantic and Pacific rise over the coastlines. We may be seeing a single-family home a rarity.
posted by Ber at 12:30 PM on May 25, 2016 [13 favorites]


You can take my delicious battery acid out of my cold dead hands thank you very much.

I mean it's not like you'll have to wait long, depending on ambient temperatures.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 12:31 PM on May 25, 2016 [7 favorites]


What bugs me here (this statistic strikes pretty close to home right now) is that the stigma of living with one's parents means that it then becomes much harder to find a partner or spouse with whom to share living costs. The only other option is living with strangers, which sucks. Living with parents can suck too, but there are often a lot of advantages compared to living either with strangers or alone, and I wish making that choice didn't also mean effectively shutting oneself out of the dating pool.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 12:31 PM on May 25, 2016 [15 favorites]


Oof this hits close to home. I need a new a place in NYC after cohabitating for 4 years and the market is so fucking depressing if God said he needed needed some people in heaven right away I would be first in line.
posted by STFUDonnie at 12:34 PM on May 25, 2016


For the first time in modern history, young adults ages 18 to 34 are more likely to live with a parent than with a romantic partner
It is interesting to me that this article just presumes that everybody who reads this understands that this is about people in the US and that of course the article does not need to mention that. I just read an article in a Dutch newspaper about how in the Netherlands about half of all babies are born to unmarried parents (dutch source) which clarified in the first sentence that this was an article about "babies born in the Netherlands".
posted by blub at 12:36 PM on May 25, 2016 [12 favorites]


people: this is not a choice, not for millennials. no one i went to high school with is taking care of their parents, or enjoys living with them at 23, 24, 25. there is a stigma against living with your parents as a young adult because it kind of sucks. it's better than being out on the street because you're not making enough money to pay a reasonable rent anywhere, sure. it's a support system, and the people who have it are lucky (I do not), but all of my friends who live with their parents would figure something better out if they had the means to. i didn't bother reading tfa, i refuse to read articles about my generation anymore because they always get it backwards. they present our circumstances as the result of choices we have made as opposed to what they are: inevitablities, the circumstances of the decisions of other (older, wealthier) people.
posted by JimBennett at 12:38 PM on May 25, 2016 [38 favorites]


blub: "It is interesting to me that this article just presumes that everybody who reads this understands that this is about people in the US and that of course the article does not need to mention that."

Well, it is in the U.S. section of the New York Times.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:40 PM on May 25, 2016 [11 favorites]


Perhaps we can do away with the assumption that all adults get married and have kids or they aren't adults. Some do...but not all do.

Kudos to all those who live the life they want, with their own rules and timetable, rather than being forced into the life expected of them by others.


There's a difference between choosing not to get married, buy a home, have children, etc., and being unable to get married, buy a home, have children, etc.
posted by Lexica at 12:40 PM on May 25, 2016 [41 favorites]


at least the 1% is better off today than ever, right guys? eh? right?
posted by entropicamericana at 12:41 PM on May 25, 2016 [8 favorites]


And yet I have an inexpensive studio apartment in a relatively desirable part of town (Lincoln Park, Chicago) that I simply cannot sell even though the mortgage would be tiny (like $400), apparently because everyone wants a 1 bedroom even when they're entirely unaffordable.
posted by aramaic at 12:41 PM on May 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oy. This stuff scares me. I recently got a job with the city, pays good (not great), great benefits. But it was supposed to be an "in between" job between undergrad (i took the long route, 32 now) and graduate school (accepted and deferred to fall 2017). It's a full time program so I fully planned to pad my resume with this job, work to live, and maybe save up some / pay off a bit of my student loans. These types of statistics though, make me think it'd be less painless to do the thing I said I'd never do again: work full time and go to school full time (FUCK). I don't want to do that. I've done that. That life sucks. I was a relationship anorexic at the time (almost necessarily but I had other more personal reasons) and would most likely need to be again. Friends are coworkers at best and usually just at happy hour on Thur/Fri. No time for much else outside of that. Exhaustion. Stress. Ugh.

But why would I drop this job with the HOPE I'll pick something up again on the other side in a timely enough fashion that I wouldn't have to max out an AMEX or pull way more student loans than I want? I would NEVER move back with my parents because my parents were terrible people growing up, and not not terrible people now. The thought of living with them again is why I fantasize about a backup plan of going full buddhist monk and seeing if there's a temple I can just go meditate, read, clean, and do whatever other chores they do. I survived a couple 10 day silent retreats. It wouldn't be easy, but I doubt I'd regret it.

I recognize this is a fairly privileged position to be in. I could just keep this job and live a lower middle class life until the end times or a drastic shift in the economy, but fuck. I wanted to help people with this life. That was the plan.
posted by avalonian at 12:47 PM on May 25, 2016 [10 favorites]


Well, it is in the U.S. section of the New York Times

It's still a particularly American thing that I've noticed everywhere since coming to live here. Americans presume that everyone in the audience is American and that the American experience is essentially universal. This is why your sports leagues are named the way they are - the World Series? It's not really true in other countries in my experience - a similar article in an Indian newspaper would be sure to talk about "a quarter of Indians..." etc.
posted by peacheater at 12:49 PM on May 25, 2016 [14 favorites]


Well yeah aramaic, living in a studio apartment is pretty limiting compared to even a one bedroom. It makes it much harder to entertain, having your sleeping space and your kitchen in the same room sucks, and they're harder to keep presentable because if you have even the tiniest bit of clutter it's obvious the second you walk in the door. The jump from zero to one bedrooms is much greater than from one to two or two to three, in terms of quality of life.

Mind you, if I could afford one in my area I'd consider it. I live and work in the suburbs though (I do want to be close to my family, just not this close) and my local Big City is both very expensive and 45 minutes further away by car from my work, my family, and my friends. Rental stock out here, what there is of it, is mostly houses or parts of houses. Studios aren't a big part of the mix where I am.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 12:50 PM on May 25, 2016


The cultural aspects are interesting to me. My 60-something Indian mom sees the Western societal imperative to kick kids out of the nest at the age of 18 to be callous, an enormous financial and familial black hole that can only come from extreme wealth, privilege, and moral decay. Or something. I don't really agree with all that, but I have to admit that from a financial perspective, forcing young adults to make it on their own before they've even been allowed to prove themselves is just frankly nuts. And the wealth the US experienced for a few decades should be seen as a historical blip. What we're seeing now is the reckoning and the reality that late capitalism brings. It was extremely odd that Baby Boomers could go to college, get married, buy a house, have kids, and start saving towards a comfortable retirement all around the age of 27. Like people will read about that historical bubble and think UHH WTF. This is the new reality, and it means that ordinary families have to huddle together and pool resources and reconsider living spaces and etc. Plenty of the rest of the world just does this as a baseline expectation.
posted by naju at 12:50 PM on May 25, 2016 [42 favorites]


Plenty of the rest of the world just does this as a baseline expectation.

A million times this. I grew up in a town with a large Latino immigrant population, and multi-generational families wasn't just the norm, it was expected and it was considered weird within the Latino population to be desiring to escape that.
posted by deadaluspark at 12:53 PM on May 25, 2016 [9 favorites]


Boy I have a hard time with this. It's so interesting how all the articles talk about "the stories we tell ourselves about adulthood," like now that no one can afford these things we can see how they're really not necessary, anyway. Which they're really not, and I support people making whatever choices they want about how they live their lives, always! But it comes off as sour grapes, almost, that now that these things are out of reach we're not supposed to want them anymore because they're all just middle-class conformist trappings and we're so much more socially enlightened than that. But I don't WANT to live with roommates. I want a damn junior 1-bedroom apartment, and I want to get married and maybe to be able to consider having kids by 38 or so. How fucking selfish and bourgeois of me, right?

The World Series is named after the World, the newspaper that initially sponsored it. I am a San Franciscan who lived abroad in 2010 so I had to explain this a lot
posted by sunset in snow country at 12:54 PM on May 25, 2016 [57 favorites]


"millennials in this study defined as "adults ages 18 to 34" (which, come on, seriously?)"

That's pretty much what the definition of "millenials" is. Used to be called "Generation Y".
posted by I-baLL at 12:57 PM on May 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Maybe we can all get jobs smothering to death the Xers who can't afford to retire.
posted by The Whelk at 12:58 PM on May 25, 2016 [15 favorites]


So I'm 40 and I don't really give a shit about buying a house or getting married. I would however like to have a day where I don't worry about spending my retirement (ha) under an overpass.
posted by thivaia at 1:00 PM on May 25, 2016 [13 favorites]


Even the oldest Xers aren't quite old enough to retire yet, unless they're rich, which they are not.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:03 PM on May 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


Studio apartments can be pretty miserable, and if you facor in tiny, unuseable kitchens making you eat out more, and the cramped quarters making it less easy to actually use it as living/socializing space, you can end up saving less money than expected.

Plus, in my area they actually aren't all that much cheaper even in their upfront costs, because most of them are in more central areas. (So you end up paying more for the location, and also end up paying for parking.) No one seems to be building them further out because that price point is less profitable.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 1:03 PM on May 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


We get these jobs in the future, were you and I will be spending the rest of our lives
posted by The Whelk at 1:04 PM on May 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Most of us Xers aren't at retirement age anyway (either the earlier nominal 65 or the more recent 68... 70... 73) so if you're pulling out the torches and pitchforks, maybe go after the Boomers first?

(Besides, there's more of them than there are of us. You could free up a much bigger chunk of resources.)
posted by Lexica at 1:05 PM on May 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


Hey kids! I'm back and so are you. We here in GenX are blazing a wonderful trail for you into this oncoming dystopia. Marry too late to have kids, get a house too late to ever pay it off, get a real job too late to save up for retirement. And that's if you're lucky. Look at the bright side - you'll never have kids of your own to live with you until they're forty!
posted by charred husk at 1:07 PM on May 25, 2016 [23 favorites]


And yet I have an inexpensive studio apartment in a relatively desirable part of town (Lincoln Park, Chicago) that I simply cannot sell even though the mortgage would be tiny (like $400), apparently because everyone wants a 1 bedroom even when they're entirely unaffordable.

Meanwhile in DC, people are engaging in all-cash bidding wars at prices approaching $1 million for shittily flipped houses that don't meet code in super-quickly-gentrifying neighborhoods. (That's an exaggeration, but not by much.) And the prices just keep climbing into the stratosphere.
posted by sallybrown at 1:09 PM on May 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Even the oldest Xers aren't quite old enough to retire yet, unless they're rich, which they are not.

I know at least 2 fellow Xers who are rich and retired, but its not common yet sure.

I'm at the tail end of X so I still have a long way to go...

On the marriage front, I've married twice so I got at least one of you millennials covered so you don't have to worry about it.
posted by thefoxgod at 1:14 PM on May 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


> The World Series is named after the World, the newspaper that initially sponsored it. I am a San Franciscan who lived abroad in 2010 so I had to explain this a lot

Nope, this is an urban legend.
posted by languagehat at 1:26 PM on May 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


I feel like the headline talking about snake people Millennials is burying the lede. Check out this graph from the actual report. It shows a solid linear trend decline in the share of young adults living alone since 1960. This is not a "Oh those Millennials" thing, this is a "Using the postwar boom years as a yardstick for the American standard of living is a terrible idea" thing.
posted by Aizkolari at 1:27 PM on May 25, 2016 [25 favorites]


Snopes on "World Series."
posted by languagehat at 1:30 PM on May 25, 2016 [13 favorites]


One thing I would be interested to learn is why the dropoff seems to start in ~1970, before the era of middle class wage stagnation started in 1980 under Reagan.
posted by Aizkolari at 1:30 PM on May 25, 2016


I`ll even kick in a couple sheep if that helps sweeten the deal.

What kind of sheep? Asking for a friend.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:39 PM on May 25, 2016 [9 favorites]


Just one thing: before we start talking about how "normal" it is for the rest of the world and for the rest of human history for folks to live with their parents [until marriage - marriage is always in this narrative], let's not forget how horrible and self-obliterating this can be for anyone who is being abused by their parents or siblings or who is queer or trans in an unaccepting family. I have met people from traditional societies who suffered hugely from the expectation that they live at home for these reasons.

Honestly, the privileges of the Boomer generation were pretty sweet. I am not especially stoked that younger people are pushed to return to "traditional" lifeways, because historically those "traditional" ways have not been that great for people like me.
posted by Frowner at 1:41 PM on May 25, 2016 [94 favorites]


GET OFF MY PARENTS' LAWN.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:44 PM on May 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


Frowner makes a good point. And despite my complacency about my kiddo never moving out, I would and did leap at living with sketchy roommates rather than stay at home. Me and the folks were not good at living together.

Possibly my kid will think the same about us when he's grown because we're not as big a delight to live with as we'd like to believe.
posted by emjaybee at 1:48 PM on May 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


GET OFF MY PARENTS' LAWN.

more like "get off your parents' lawn" amirite
posted by entropicamericana at 1:49 PM on May 25, 2016


Just because it's normal doesn't mean it's good. I don't detect a very celebratory tone in much of the commentary on this subject here and elsewhere.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:49 PM on May 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


it's not surprising that the snake people like to live in dens full of familiar wriggling snake people...
posted by ennui.bz at 1:50 PM on May 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


It's certainly not celebratory. In addition, throwing out trans kids into a job market that overwhelmingly rejects them is not, uh, the best necessarily.
posted by naju at 1:51 PM on May 25, 2016


It's certainly not celebratory. In addition, throwing out trans kids into a job market that overwhelmingly rejects them is not, uh, the best necessarily.

I actually have a non-binary trans friend who's staying with me for a few days on an air mattress right now, because they stormed out of their parents' place in the middle of dinner. Their dad has been spending the entire start of summer accusing them of being a free-loader because they couldn't find a summer job, and he kept telling them if they "acted normal" and "followed their advice", they wouldn't be in this situation. Said parents also judge my friend if they send their resume to any fast food or retail outlet because they look down on "those types" of jobs. Said parents also say that the other whole reason why my friend can't find a job is because they were a B- student for the first two years of university (although they went to an A student in the last two years.)

I'm just boggled at how some people who grew up in the era of cheap post-secondary education and ample employment just can't realize that the world has changed completely.
posted by Conspire at 1:57 PM on May 25, 2016 [37 favorites]


Every time this subject pops up, I read the comments with total trepidation, waiting for someone to say how the rest of the world does this and it works out just fine and great for them. Well, no. Based on my personal experience with a culture like this, it is not great. It is not great for young women, who live in a family surveillance state and can not make a single unwatched move, can never spend a night with a partner (and generally cannot even have partners, or go on casual dates without extreme secrecy, as anything of that sort is strictly reserved for marriage). They can never break away and be independent in any significant manner, or explore new things (want to do something as simple as going to see live music regularly, and come home at 4am? Not going to happen), and can never avoid being yet another cook or scullery maid or errand-runner for the family, etc. Male children in these cultures have a lot more leeway for all of these things. But the young women? Forget it. And for gay children? Good luck. Abused children who are never able to escape or even get a different perspective that comes with distance and time and space? Good luck. I pray we don't get into a Stockholm Syndrome situation in this country, where inequality is so extreme and so destructive, that people end up romanticizing this kind of set-up, and overlook the severe harm these conservative structures do. There are very few (if any?) egalitarian societies where living with one's parents into late-adulthood is the norm.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 1:58 PM on May 25, 2016 [67 favorites]


Oh, and yes, I'm in a tiny studio apartment myself, because that's the only thing I can afford on a graduate stipend. In the past four months, I've actually had three queer and/or trans friends stay with me in that cramped space because of similar dynamics with parents pushing them back into the closet to be "competitive" for jobs.
posted by Conspire at 2:01 PM on May 25, 2016 [11 favorites]


Also, like, at least a third of the reason why I'm in graduate school is because I spent two summers sending out hundreds of resumes without getting a single response, and I was like "fuck that, I'm not repeating that process with an actual full-time job, I have publications, grad school is my safest bet."
posted by Conspire at 2:04 PM on May 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


And I have a COMPUTER SCIENCE degree. The field which your entire generation has been telling all of us to get into.
posted by Conspire at 2:05 PM on May 25, 2016 [8 favorites]


when we were young and out of the house, made many financial missteps, lived in dangerous/horrible places, and worked for abusive bosses. The question is, were those necessary life lessons or things it would have been ok to avoid?

Necessary life lessons: If a person needs a little help with empathy, yes. All my misery in substandard housing, working long hours in miserable conditions for the privilege of getting $7.25 per hour of my life, dodging bill collectors and postponing doctors' appointments? I need to believe that it was for some good purpose. And that purpose is me being a better citizen and tipping well and working/voting to dismantle this garbage system.

Things it would have been ok to avoid?: Absofuckinglutely. ESPECIALLY if one doesn't have various safety nets to fall back on.
posted by witchen at 2:06 PM on May 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


thregreatfleecircus, I don't think anyone here is romanticizing the idea, but rather it is important to point out if only because it is a reminder that for all the talk of worldwide "free trade" agreements would be a "rising tide that lifts all boats" although almost none of the boats have risen, and more than anything, our boats have sunk to the level of these third world countries where they don't have options but to live with potentially abusive family.

The problems we are experiencing are uniquely American, and I don't think it is a bad thing necessarily to point out that others in the world still have it worse. In fact, it seems that since it was brought up in the conversation, it's given people more reason to point out why it is actually a dangerous way for society to be set up. I am certainly not seeing hand-waving that says this is okay somehow, but rather more along the lines of "holy shit the whole planet is fucked."

If there is a tinge of "this is okay somehow" it probably comes from the "well, I have no power to change anything, so I better get fucking used to it" department.
posted by deadaluspark at 2:09 PM on May 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


if the tide doesn't lift your boat you have to pull it up with boostraps, obvs
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:11 PM on May 25, 2016 [8 favorites]


I'm actually relieved that no one in here has trotted out the "it's common to live with your parents in western/eastern europe get over it you entitled americans lololol" thing in here. That sort of seems to be the godwin of this conversation in a grander sense.

Another thing i haven't seen mentioned yet is that at least in major coastal cities, lets say 90% of my friends/acquaintances/friends of friends/people in my age bracket i've talked to about this have given up on the idea of even owning a place that they purchase.

The majority of people i know think that the only way they'll ever own a home is if they inherent their parents house. The only way they'd ever own any other place is if they sold their parents house and bought it, if that would even balance out.

This is the reality in markets where everyone pays cash for houses over asking, with no real signs of slowing down. Where even if they just stabilized and froze at the current levels and never rose beyond the rate of inflation, you would still be fucked.

My parents don't own a house, and already live in city subsidized housing. Assuming i can't get a slot in one of those places when i'm old, which will probably be true because the waiting list is insane, i'll see you guys down on that awkward side street in back end of the industrial district slotted between all the other broken RVs homeless people are living in. Cause of death? Probably my shitty propane heater blowing the fucking thing up in like 2055 because i was too high on space drugs to light it properly and didn't open the window enough.

I have a full time, decent, supposedly middle class office job. It's the best job i've ever had, and i doubt i could get paid much more anywhere else. I was still sweating the rent increase letter i knew was coming from my landlord because my place is below market rate already and i'd pay the same even if i moved over an hour commute away. What the fuck am i supposed to do? "Move somewhere cheaper" isn't really an option because there's no goddamn jobs in those places.

I see no path out of this essentially paycheck to paycheck situation. I know people making probably twice what i make who live in basement apartments and couldn't buy places.

Most of my friends who live with their parents have two jobs. Some of them who finally moved out in to places with roommates(one of my friends has i shit you not, something ilke 15 roommates in a big house. They ALL are out of school and have "adult" jobs) would travel out of state for seasonal jobs and work all the time in the city.

Another thing to keep in mind is that having roommates is not the huge housing cost break it was even 5 or 8 years ago. Apartments start at about $1000 here, with utilities seeming to average about $100. Most shared living situations cost ~$600, and tack on another $50-80 for utilities and internet and such. I paid MORE for heating costs when i shared a place than i do now for my smallish apartment.

Yet another thing is, i know quite a few people who don't live with their parents, but for whom their parents kick in $1-200 a month to help out with their rent/bills who could not afford a place otherwise and couldn't find any viable options that didn't depend on that besides "move to the woods". These sort of assisted proxy-living-at-home situations often come with most of the problems with living at home described above, and often their parents are struggling to keep shit running as well.
posted by emptythought at 2:14 PM on May 25, 2016 [29 favorites]


I am certainly not seeing hand-waving that says this is okay somehow, but rather more along the lines of "holy shit the whole planet is fucked."

Yup, this was my point, sorry if it sounded like I was romanticizing anything. "This is baseline reality for an America that is no longer prosperous or working - whether we like it or not."
posted by naju at 2:15 PM on May 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


Just think of all the shareholder value that's been created though.
posted by Damienmce at 2:22 PM on May 25, 2016 [12 favorites]


There's also something to be said for the fact that everyone i know relies on half broken stuff, often passed around between friends to get anything done or have anything decent. I've had exactly one new cell phone since high school. My car belonged to a close friend who couldn't afford to repair it, and i traded her some stuff for it. Almost everyone i know has computers that are hand me downs from friends or family members, or traded around for stuff/bought really cheap for cash from friends or craigslist.(from other millenials in similar situations, almost always). My friends who do have cars, half the time we go somewhere we end up stopping to add oil. I just opened my friends hood with my dads crowbar.

There are almost zero new items in my house that aren't socks or underwear. I think i own maybe a couple pairs of pants i even bought new. None of my dishes or kitchen utensils match, and almost all of them are from thrift stores or my grandpas house.

What keeps the great capitalist engine turning and putting out new products for the proletariat to purchase? Fuck if i know. I'm literally wearing one of the only 2-3 new pairs of shoes i've owned since before college and i'm 26. If i buy a new shirt, it's probably from like H&M... and almost all of my shirts are from goodwill or value village.

Whenever any of my friends shit breaks or wears out beyond use, the reaction is always "welp, not going to have one of those for the forseeable future".

And people give us shit for having iphones or game systems when it's probably the only cool, enjoyable thing we own. Almost every time i look at any of my cool shit, i think of how much money i could get on craigslist if i sold it right now. How much less than that would i need to reduce it to if i wanted to sell it by say, the end of the day?

I don't know if that thinking is ever going to go away in my entire fucking life. I don't even know if i would be safe letting it.

Most of the people i know, their savings are essentially the street value of their posessions. This is why all those polls say we couldn't do shit in a $1000 emergency. The only reason i even have more is because my 95 year old grandma died, and it's only a few months rent at this point.
posted by emptythought at 2:26 PM on May 25, 2016 [20 favorites]


Another thing to keep in mind is that having roommates is not the huge housing cost break it was even 5 or 8 years ago. Apartments start at about $1000 here, with utilities seeming to average about $100. Most shared living situations cost ~$600, and tack on another $50-80 for utilities and internet and such. I paid MORE for heating costs when i shared a place than i do now for my smallish apartment.

Jeez, seriously. My brain is still in the pre-rental-skyrocketing stage where I'm all "oh, and you would pay $400 for a room and maybe a little on top of that for utilities and internet" and it would be a decent room in a big house that you'd share with three or four others. But actually now it's $600 and maybe you're sharing with five people.

I freely admit that I bought a decrepit Victorian during the housing crash, which was great for the mortgage because that's cheap. So I'm a lot better off than many people. But it literally has holes in the walls and about a billion things wrong with it that I will never be able to afford to fix. The wiring is original knob and tube. Almost everything has been painted so often that there's a thick caked on layer of paint that is too dense to scrape. A softball-sized crumbling hole literally appeared in my bedroom wall one night from the settling of the plaster. It is so run-down, you guys. Boomer relatives (who I love dearly and who are not rich) keep telling me that I should redo the kitchen and put in a second bathroom ("the house would be so much more valuable"). Well, the kitchen walls right now have holes in them, so yes, it would be awesome to redo the kitchen. But unless I suddenly win $20,000 or so, the best I can really do is hope that once I get the leaky tub fixed I can find the time to put in temporary patches in the kitchen walls myself. I mean, the only thing I can infer is that their lives were financially stable enough that even as upper blue collar people, they could afford home repairs, whereas they are beyond the dreams of avarice for me.
posted by Frowner at 2:28 PM on May 25, 2016 [15 favorites]


(And I mean, god knows I have housemates. But the rent is, like, 1999-rent, because of the crumbling nature of the house.)
posted by Frowner at 2:32 PM on May 25, 2016


Mod note: A few comments removed, please drop the pregnancy = tonedeaf thing pronto.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:44 PM on May 25, 2016


I've had exactly one new cell phone since high school. My car belonged to a close friend who couldn't afford to repair it, and i traded her some stuff for it. Almost everyone i know has computers that are hand me downs from friends or family members, or traded around for stuff/bought really cheap for cash from friends or craigslist.

I think more millennials are working on developing survival skills in respect to this. I was always good with computers, so I tend to do work on computers for free for friends. Especially considering the simplest solution is just wiping the OS and starting over (I generally used to just make it a habit to wipe and re-install Windows about once a year... Have to do that a lot less with Linux...), and most of the "work" I do is waiting on things to install, I feel like I can't charge people for that kind of work. It's not real work in my mind, for some reason. I still have a pipe-dream of somehow turning this act into a non-profit organization.

I've been beefing up my sewing skills for a few years (which has made my clothes last far longer), and I'm opting for older and older vehicles, mostly because my knowledge of working on vehicles is limited, but I can handle almost anything minor under the hood of an '84 Ford Ranger (I miss that old thing, I should have never sold it.), whereas when I look under the hood of my 2002 Dodge Neon I just feel lost and afraid I'm going to break something.

I think our generation would have a lot better luck if we weren't living with products explicitly designed to not be repairable. Cheap furniture isn't built to last and not easy to fix. Cellphones aren't built to last and are extremely difficult to fix, especially due to their small parts. I remember hearing stories about the Soviet Union and how a family would have the same refrigerator for a generation, and the family would feel proud of all the times they had repaired it when it had failed, because the likelihood of getting another one was slim to none.

On one hand, it would be nice to have new things. On the other hand, we're at an odd place in history where so much is not built to last and is just wasted almost immediately. Even architecture these days is the same. Despite housing prices being insane, new housing is done with bare minimum cost in mind, not long lasting design.

I freely admit that I bought a decrepit Victorian during the housing crash, which was great for the mortgage because that's cheap. So I'm a lot better off than many people. But it literally has holes in the walls and about a billion things wrong with it that I will never be able to afford to fix.

Along the same lines, the place I rent is pretty decrepit and the rent reflects that, but I've spent a lot of time skimming the craigslist free section to get things to fix it up. When I moved in there were no fixtures for curtains or blinds anywhere in the house, so initially we just had sheets up over all the windows. I found several curtains and curtain rods for free, some of which needed just a bit of sewing, and I installed them all, and the place already looks better. Almost all our furniture is secondhand, and I've definitely sewn up both of the couches.

The landlord really likes us, and the property is cheap, and he says he plans to retire in 10 years, and if we're still here and still taking good care of it, he will gladly sell it to us under the market rate (its a cheap property, probably because its in such disepair.). It's definitely not as bad off as yours, but some of what I've been doing has been just looking for cheap solutions (cheap paint at our local Re-Store), and/or enlisting help of friends who have skills and equipment to fix things. For instance, I currently do house-sitting for my friend who helped me repaint the interior from the ugly spumoni coloring (who the fuck paints the inside of their house spumoni???), and fixing some minor holes and whatnot that the landlord didn't have a lot of time for (he was busy fixing up his other property, which was in far worse condition.).

I think a lot of people are going to realize that knowing how to fix shit in their home is probably going to be the only way to make a lot of homes still be livable in the future for much of our generation. If we can't afford to pay someone to do it, we can at least hope to be able to afford to do the hard work ourselves.

And before people ask me why I would spend my own time, effort, and money to fix up someone elses property, well, it's two reasons. One, I live here and would like to at least achieve a half-way decent standard of living, and secondly, the man who owns the property is obviously in the same position as many of us. He is a custodian at a local post office. He owns the properties to help pay his children's student loans. He does not have tons of money. The stuff that I have been incapable of fixing, he has definitely come and fixed, and he really does his best to be a good landlord, despite lacking money to do it more effectively. Also, fixing stuff up has made him really like us as tenants and left him with floating the idea of selling to us in the future, if we can afford it, when he retires. This might be my only shot at ever owning a home, so yeah.
posted by deadaluspark at 2:45 PM on May 25, 2016 [14 favorites]


Boomer relatives (who I love dearly and who are not rich) keep telling me that I should redo the kitchen and put in a second bathroom ("the house would be so much more valuable")

lol this is so Old Economy Steve.
posted by naju at 2:48 PM on May 25, 2016 [8 favorites]


If only it was Old Economy Steve Rogers, and he could just smite the evil capitalists for me.
posted by Frowner at 2:52 PM on May 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


Wow. I thought I was so weird because I moved back in with my parents twice in my 20s (after my more creative career choices fell flat - heck I moved in with my 80+ year old father for several months while waiting for my Disability to be approved), didn't get married until I was 30 and then only to a woman who agreed with me NOT to have children, never wanted to be "anchored" to an owned house, and was selective about my possessions (preparing me for now living alone in a small apartment on Disability). I've realized that most of the "weird" life choices turned out to be right FOR ME in the long run, but now I'm feeling like an entire generation is making many of the same life choices I made... but not by choice. I was so ahead of the curve.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:53 PM on May 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


Look on the bright side, parents! when you get dementia, you do not have to go to a nursing home..you have your grown children to care for you, free, payback for what you gave them When you shit your Depends, they are there to change you. And you hone your cooking skills as you prepare meals for them and do their laundry and shop for the groceries you too will consume. Sure borrow their car. But make sure you fill it with gas when you return it. Smile! They brought you into the world and you will be there for them to usher them out of the world.
posted by Postroad at 2:54 PM on May 25, 2016


And in fairness to the Old Economy Steve in question, he worked his ass off from the time he was fifteen, and not in fun jobs or jobs that used his skills and brains, either. It's just that working your ass off used to get you a living.
posted by Frowner at 2:55 PM on May 25, 2016 [10 favorites]


The majority of people i know think that the only way they'll ever own a home is if they inherent their parents house. The only way they'd ever own any other place is if they sold their parents house and bought it, if that would even balance out.

Our best beloved babysitter is a 24 year old with an M.Ed and she's basically said that her housing choices boil down to "continue living with my mothers" and "leave the area." And because our babysitter and her partner are queer femmes, they don't want to move to places that are queer-unfriendly or have overly restrictive/antiwoman laws. So our babysitter is currently negotiating with her mothers over what the terms of inheritance for the house might be, and that's brought in her 16-year-old sister.

I am trying to imagine how I would have reacted if I had been called into a family meeting at age 16 and told, "You're likely never going to be able to afford a house without help. Do you want to sign something agreeing to join tenancy with your sister after your mom and I die? It's a guaranteed roof over your head."

What makes this situation even more unreal-feeling is that two hours to the east of us, the housing prices have fallen through the floor and there's a surfeit of housing, but a lack of jobs.
posted by sobell at 3:06 PM on May 25, 2016 [16 favorites]


I'm just boggled at how some people who grew up in the era of cheap post-secondary education and ample employment just can't realize that the world has changed completely.

You nailed it..I live in a very well to do area of s/w Florida. Demographic favors retired high level mangers, air line pilots, senior educators, engineers etc.

These people never consider that good luck had as much to do with their success as their state funded (almost free) college educations. Or their good health. Or their families support, moral and financial.

One acquaintance inherited a 200 acre farm in Ohio. He does not factor that into his success.

Whatever.
posted by notreally at 3:07 PM on May 25, 2016 [11 favorites]


I am trying to imagine how I would have reacted if I had been called into a family meeting at age 16 and told, "You're likely never going to be able to afford a house without help. Do you want to sign something agreeing to join tenancy with your sister after your mom and I die? It's a guaranteed roof over your head."

My girlfriend is sometimes jealous that her brother is the chosen recipient of her parents house, but she always gets over it quickly because it's for good reason. He is autistic with a developmental delay, is on disability, and while being relatively smart guy, will unlikely ever truly be able to fully take care of himself and live alone. Thankfully they've already got a live-in caretaker lined up, and we're on board in keeping on top of the upkeep of the house when her mother eventually passes away.

There really aren't even any other options for him. The family just doesn't and won't ever have the money to just leave him with an inheritance in cash and expect him to be able to make it last and use is appropriately. Just giving him a home is the easiest option (especially considering how much he dislikes change, him being able to just say in the same house is a big deal.).

I can't imagine the number of families with special needs children considering things like this. They have four children, but only one will be getting the benefit of an inheritance because he flat out needs it. The others, sadly, just have to make it on their own.
posted by deadaluspark at 3:13 PM on May 25, 2016


One striking thing about visiting Southern Europe in the 1990's was how many adult-aged children lived at home. Given the economics of the time, I wonder if they were just a few decades ahead of the reality of modern life, when rents and home prices have soared in the most desirable areas, but parents own or have affordable properties purchased in a different era. Or it could just be unemployment alone.
posted by cell divide at 4:10 PM on May 25, 2016


If only it was Old Economy Steve Rogers, and he could just smite the evil capitalists for me.


He works for Hydra now.

Actually, always did. He probably thinks this is an awesome trend.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:29 PM on May 25, 2016


I'm at the oldest end of the millennial pool and we're not doing too great either. I moved from New York after 17 years because I was 34 and tired of never feeling like I was getting ahead financially at all. After the end of my second LTR, having to deal with Craigslist roommates was horrifying. So I packed up and moved to Portland (which is also expensive but it's not New York. For what I was paying to live with roommates there I have my own 1 bedroom apartment.) Portland's been kind of a disaster otherwise.

Lately I've actually thought about moving in with my mother for a while--we get along and she could use the rent money--but I don't know. Also she keeps telling me I should move to North Carolina and I'm like "yeah, I'm gay, that's never happening."
posted by Automocar at 4:49 PM on May 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Slower to marry doesn't mean /never/ going to marry. A quarter seems ridiculously high.
posted by corb at 5:11 PM on May 25, 2016


I don't get how much folks romanticize the good old days of cheap college.

I mean, I get the appeal of cheap college. But cheap didn't mean readily available. It was available for the lucky few who were admitted. Most people were shut out of the process.

And yes, they had better outcomes than the current crop of graduates. But if you compare the top 10% of America in 1970 to the top 30% of America in 2016, that's not exactly apples and oranges.

I'm hoping we keep extending the IBR repayment plans for most loans to make the cost moot. Yes, you might be paying student loans until you die. But really it's just an income/payroll tax so it doesn't really bother me.
posted by politikitty at 5:38 PM on May 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


But really it's just an income/payroll tax so it doesn't really bother me.

Yes, because taxes always go to private organizations that have no requirement to use that money towards increasing quality of said education or any other public project.

This is actually known as "rent seeking." Especially when it exists to functionally be with you until you die.

The "tax" here doesn't go to our government to actually pay for anything like fixing our decrepit roads or giving us affordable healthcare options or paying our firemen better, all it goes to is enriching the shareholders at banks that offer student loans. These are publicly traded companies. They exist to make profit.

Other than that, I don't really disagree with your point, but for seriously, don't act like it's a tax when its just going to a small number of people and enriching them and they have no requirement to spend it on society in any way.

Taxes, even when misspent, generally are supposed to have at least something to do with public use of funds.

Fuck rent seeking. Stop acting like it's okay.
posted by deadaluspark at 5:51 PM on May 25, 2016 [18 favorites]




I always have mixed reactions reading this kind of article. I haven't lived with my parents for more than a month or two in the ten years since I graduated college, but it's primarily because they live in a rural rust belt area and there are few jobs where they live (not to say that no one lives with their parents in these areas, just that it was a motivating factor in my living elsewhere as an adult and I was lucky enough to make that happen when I decided that was what I wanted ).

I'm always caught between feeling grateful that I got pushed out to live on my own--because I think it's been a net positive for me to strike out on my own in a different region of the country-- and jealous of my peers who have saved on rent but still get to live somewhere interesting and financially viable (or even adjacent, within easy commuting distance, of somewhere interesting with jobs.)
posted by geegollygosh at 7:21 PM on May 25, 2016


I'm feeling like an entire generation is making many of the same life choices I made... but not by choice. I was so ahead of the curve.

Face it, my dearest foop, you are a hipster.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:51 PM on May 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Almost all of my friends who have finished their degrees have moved back to their parents'. A lot of them even have "adult" jobs, where they make much more than minimum wage. The rest are waiting to land real gigs with bigshot companies, since so many of them pursued business degrees.

I myself lived at my own parents' 'til I was 22. It really sucked. I think that emotionally and psychologically it hampered my development. I was isolated in the suburbs most days, and it was a pain in the ass getting anywhere without a driver's license.

Now that I live away, I sort of miss it. The financial security most importantly. All these life-goals that are associated with the previous generations are completely out of my grasp. I don't have more than 2000$ to my name. Even with a degree I have poor odds at getting one of those aforementioned "adult" jobs.
posted by constantinescharity at 8:19 PM on May 25, 2016


Is it because I'm happy to live in an unfashionable area and take whatever job there is? Or because I hardly ever buy new and I'm happy not to? Or because I don't do many nights out and don't date etc?
posted by winterhill at 3:32 AM on May 26


Almost certainly yes.

I've been caught by some of these trends but not all. I'm not a millenial - I was born in 1973 - but I married a guy who is almost a millenial or is a millenial depending on what definition they're using (born 1981). I got through university while tuition was skyrocketing (my first year, tuition was $2k, and by the time I graduated it was $6k/yr - this was in Canada where tuition is typically lower than the US), so I was lucky that I didn't need to take any time off before I started. I had to live with my parents twice as an adult just to get by but we get along fine so I'm grateful it was an option.

My husband, who is American, got through his university years eight years later with $20k in debt and then went to law school (and we now have so much debt that we'll die owing money, but whatever, right? He has a job.). We moved to Nashville a couple years before it became an "it" city (which means that now that we're enmeshed here cost of living is skyrocketing yaaaaayyyyy) and bought a house when the economy took a shit and died so we got it cheap for which I'm very grateful - but it has persistent mold and water damage issues, and the wiring is all messed up, and there's no insulation in the walls, so we fixed the roof and the mold issues (we hope?) and we're slowly tearing apart one room at a time down to studs and fixing it up and redoing the wiring (we have to pay somebody for that obviously but we're doing everything else ourselves). The house will be all fixed round about 2025 (I am not kidding), not counting whatever breaks between now and then. We share the house with one other full-time-employed adult and between the three of us we can make things work financially but it's a struggle and having kids was out of our reach for long enough that we had to give up on the idea.

I am often grateful I wasn't born even two years later. I feel like my whole life has been an effort to capitalize on being born *just before* things got shitty so I could stay *just barely* on the non-shitty side of that divide.
posted by joannemerriam at 8:12 AM on May 26, 2016 [6 favorites]


I know that "having a wedding" is really a thing but it bothers me so much to hear that people think they can't ever get married because of their financial situation. Why? Being married is pretty much just a costly as living together. The only reason people think that they will never get married should be because either they don't want to or because they don't think they will find someone. I had a wedding and it was a serious amount of work to get the whole thing done under 10K. If I had to do it all over again, it would have been a potluck in someone's yard out in the country. The wedding was fun, everyone had a great time, but having a wedding should not be a necessity for getting married. I know its really hard to tell someone who hasnt gotten married yet but you don't have to do the whole big wedding thing. It's like trying to tell your friend that she really needs to dump that asshole that cheats on her all the time. You can tell her but she won't see the light until she's done it.
posted by LizBoBiz at 9:51 AM on May 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't think weddings are the issue though - the article is about people who can't afford to move out of their parents' place, so they're not living with a partner in the first place.

Personally, I live with my boyfriend and two roommates, and I know we could technically be married right now if we wanted... but I don't want to get married while living with roommates, and we can't afford a one-bedroom or even a decent studio with our combined incomes. It's kind of sick.
posted by sunset in snow country at 10:39 AM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think people aren't really talking about the wedding when they say they can't afford to get married. They mean more "I can't stably support a family on my current income."
posted by corb at 10:40 AM on May 26, 2016 [7 favorites]


It's not just that, it's that getting married is a freaking huge legal risk. Out of the friends that are my age that have gotten married, at least half of them have gotten divorced and have been financially fucked because of the divorce. That includes a family member who is a corporate lawyer and makes $100k a year, but who is flat out broke and lives paycheck to paycheck because of her idiot husband who could have had a good job but was so flighty and stupid he kept doing shit like "I want to become a pilot" or "I want to become a professional snowboarder" and other idiot stuff a guy who is nearly 40 with two kids shouldn't be doing, especially when he already has options for steady income. Since he's been out screwing around for ten years, she makes more money than his deadbeat ass and owes him alimony. It's sick.

A lot of people (like me) have seen just how badly marriage can fuck you in the long run, and we're considering those long-term costs, not just the up-front costs of going down to the courthouse and getting the legal documents signed.
posted by deadaluspark at 11:13 AM on May 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


Being married is pretty much just a costly as living together.

If you have student loans on IBR, getting married can be very costly (yes, you can file your returns as married filing separately, but that typically means you pay higher taxes). I know a bunch of people who can't get married because they wouldn't be able to pay their student loans if they did.
posted by melissasaurus at 11:19 AM on May 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


For once in my life I'm trendy! I moved back in with my folks when they retired and moved here last summer. I'm in my mid-40s, work full-time and have my own house, but it made sense to find a place where we could all live together. Mom and Dad are in their early 70s and now we'll have time to get used to each other's idiosyncrasies before serious caretaking becomes necessary.

By sheer luck, they found a house with a basement the previous owners had converted into a cute apartment for their own adult daughter. After moving in, we found that there are at least three other adult daughter/parent situations in our neighborhood. I think THAT'S the real trend, not this millennial business.
posted by jhope71 at 11:19 AM on May 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also, it might be mentioned, people who get married generally also want to start a family, which is part of why they get married.

While the cost of a marriage without a wedding might be manageable, having a baby is completely unmanageable, especially if it isn't an easy pregnancy or the child has any sort of problems, etc. etc. The cost of having a child in a hospital, even with insurance, is a nightmare scenario for me. I can't even imagine trying to have a kid. I would be paying off the initial hospital bill nearly until the child was grown up and leaving the house (or more likely, staying home like so many are.).

What's the point in getting married if your desire to have children is roadblocked by the fact that it's basically just something rich people can afford anymore? I mean if you're really lucky and are in super good health and have an easy pregnancy with no medical issues, yeah, you could go to a midwife or something and probably spend less money, but how many women are actually that lucky to have a no-nonsense pregnancy without any medical hiccups? Very, very few. (Don't even get me started on food deserts and how the poor are in ridiculously poor health because of lack of access to healthy food and/or easy ability to exercise.)

Yeah, some people who don't want kids will still get married (I know a handful), but most do want children, and that's the real big initial cost of such a relationship. You can even skip being married, and the largest cost is still gonna be having that freaking kid in a hospital.
posted by deadaluspark at 11:25 AM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


By sheer luck, they found a house with a basement the previous owners had converted into a cute apartment for their own adult daughter. After moving in, we found that there are at least three other adult daughter/parent situations in our neighborhood. I think THAT'S the real trend, not this millennial business.

I agree. Ten years ago, my previous girlfriend was doing exactly that. Her grandmother lived upstairs and my former girlfriend and her 14 year old son lived downstairs in their own little apartment. She's Gen X, technically. I think the "millennials living at home" meme is ignoring a bunch of other factors which push them to stay with family, and it isn't just all on the millennials, their families are struggling as well.
posted by deadaluspark at 11:27 AM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


I had moved out and survived several years of chaotic roommate scenes, and was just finding a little bit of stability on my own, when the internet arrived in the public consciousness, cell phones became common, and young adults started finding their independence in an electronic head space.

That mental absence is so much easier to achieve, than actual physical absence. Especially in this crap economy. But it's also a just comfortable enough perch, that people continue staying when perhaps they should not. I worry about the folks who are stuck on that perch, some of whom are way too old to be snake people.
posted by elizilla at 1:04 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ahh. I didn't think about the cost of divorce and student loan stuff. Also having to live with roommates while married would not be ideal. That makes sense because those have a financial impact.

I don't understand the idea that now that you're married it's time for babies and if we can't afford babies yet then we shouldn't get married yet. This is totally a tangent, but not having the money to have babies shouldn't really have much to do with whether to get married. It should be because that's your person for (hopefully) life. I know everyone's got an idea of how their life goes and when they feel they should get married, it's just strange to me to pin that decision on whether you can currently afford kids.

(I also I should admit I'm a weird person who got married after 7 years of dating and 6 years after that still no kids but we do want to in the future. I may not have the best view of how the rest of the world thinks.)
posted by LizBoBiz at 3:30 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


“Economics is Destiny,” Kalle Lasn, Adbusters, 27 May 2016
posted by ob1quixote at 1:09 PM on May 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


Other than that, I don't really disagree with your point, but for seriously, don't act like it's a tax when its just going to a small number of people and enriching them and they have no requirement to spend it on society in any way.

I feel like Metafilter has gotten into the habit of conflating anything that seems expensive and important with rent seeking.

The Present Value of an IBR receivable is straight up lower than the Present Value of a similar student loan with a fixed schedule. That should make it pretty clear that the banks are not coming out ahead in this situation.

The loans genuinely pay for college. The colleges expect that principle amount from the banks. Not an amount minus whatever ends up being non-collectable. If anyone is Rent Seeking, it's the parties actually setting the price. In which case colleges are currently over-funded, and we need to fix that public crisis.

The bank's activity could turn into Rent Seeking. But only if student loan rates become higher than traditional loans. But that IBR payment genuinely pays for an incredibly powerful public good with zero collateral. It just does it on the back end. You're getting caught up in the accounting if you seriously think that it doesn't pay for a public good.
posted by politikitty at 2:43 PM on June 3, 2016


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