This article originally appeared on VICE UK
Joe *, 26, was hanging out with his girlfriend when they started talking about their college experiences. She had worked throughout her degree to support herself and wondered how Joe had managed to pay for his law degree at Birmingham United – not to mention the £ 16,000 he spent on a master’s degree in London, where he also rented. It was then that he told her about the money his parents gave him to help him.
“She was really shocked,” Joe tells me. “She said she didn’t think of me as ‘belonging to such a wealthy family’, and that she was jealous, because she wants to do a master’s degree but can’t afford it. I felt really bad for her that she ‘she either’ I couldn’t do what she really wanted, just because of the money. “
Joe is one of the many millennials whose parents are helping them financially, well beyond the usual age limit for spending money. A 2017 Loans at Home survey found that 42% of parents still give their children pocket money past the age of 18, as 2019 research from MoneySuperMarket found that 58% of 25- to 35-year-olds had taken “loans” from their parents, with the average amount being £ 2,258. As our generation continues to face a higher cost of living than any other European country, rents on the rise and the prospect of never owning a home, no wonder we find it harder than ever to become financially independent.
Joe has now graduated and is in a reasonably well paying lawyer position, but his parents still help him every year. “Since I graduated from college,” he tells me, “I don’t really need any help – but daddy gives me around £ 1,500 a year, just to ‘help me’.”
“I don’t stream it,” he adds, “but my friends and I had mostly similar levels of support, so we’re pretty open about it.”
After talking to his girlfriend, however, it became clear how much of a benefit this type of financial aid can be. “I think it made her a little sad, to be honest, and we ended up talking a bit about how much she had to work and how hard it was,” says Joe. “It was just the first time I had this conversation with someone very close, I think.”
Daisy Moloney, 23, has just finished a drama class and doesn’t feel like it’s a big deal if her parents give her money. “It’s not really a fixed allowance, and I don’t call it an allowance, but my parents give me a lot of money to help me with it. [my] situation, ”she told me over the phone. “I just finished college and it left me in a lot of debt. I was really stupid with my money in college and didn’t budget, and I managed to get so far in my discovery that it’s going to take me a while to get out of it. I’m incredibly grateful for that, but at the same time it’s really hard to be independent in your early twenties in this kind of career. “
Currently, while Daisy lives at home, her parents’ money can range from ten dollars to spend in one evening, to 200 to 300 pounds in a week. “But in college it would be like ‘Here’s £ 50 for groceries,'” she explains. “I would say it’s more common now because now I live with them and they can see how much money I’m making.”
Does she tell people about it? “I tell my friends about it and they make jokes about it,” Daisy said. “Sometimes people tell me that I am very spoiled because of the situation I find myself in.”
MoneySuperMarket spokesperson Sally Francis-Miles says taking an allowance from your parents as an adult is becoming increasingly necessary: ”The rising cost of living means more young adults are spending more time at home and receive ongoing financial support from their parents and family, “she tells me via email. “For university students, this support is often essential in closing the gap that student loans leave in terms of basic cost of living.”
So is it just a privilege that dictates whether your parents send you money every month, or is it a universal necessity for a generation that has a higher cost of living, higher rents, and less chance of getting paid. to get a mortgage on a house?
Kristina Korbelova, 25, has been receiving a monthly allowance since high school, but found it essential when she lived in London after college, growing up in Slovakia. “My mom started sending me money when I was in high school,” she tells me. “It was basically enough to survive, € 160 (£ 134) – and it hardly ever stopped.”
While in college, Kristina used the monthly sum to supplement her salary for jobs like Deliveroo driver. After graduating, she found a job at a large startup, but her mother did not stop the allowance. “[The salary] it’s enough to live, but you don’t just have to survive, ”she told me over the phone. “I can’t save. Bills are always painful. When we found out that the council tax was twice as high as we thought it was very painful. It still hurts. Pension [payments] hurt. I just don’t have the heart to say, ‘Hey, it’s okay if you don’t send me money every month,’ because that helps anyway. “
But it doesn’t come without a burden. “I’m a little ashamed to talk about my fight and then say, ‘My mom is helping me,'” says Kristina, “because so many people don’t have that – so many people don’t have that. help.”
While you as an adult were expected to help your parents, that dynamic changed. the multiplication of zero hour contracts and the jobs in the odd-job economy have contributed to the reality that we will be one of the first generations in decades to be less well off than the one before us. If your parents are wealthy enough, you probably won’t mind too much. For those who never thought they wouldn’t depend on their parents for money just yet, this can take a toll.
“In Slovakia, we have this old tale, and the moral is: when you are a child, your parents help you and they pay for everything, and when you are an adult and they are old, you help them , Kristina says. “I always thought of it as a failure, every time I had to ask my family for money, because I’m not supposed to do it anymore. I’m supposed to be the one with a job and a good salary. as if I were a parasite. “
* Some names have been changed.