Boomerang Kids Talk Money, Goals, Embarrassing Housing

"Just as college-​bound high school seniors are preparing to flee the nest come fall, moms and dads of recent college graduates may find their adult kids boomeranging back to the family home after years away," Becky Niiya wrote. "New grads say college degrees are worth it as they move back home."

"Kelly K., 20, who just completed her sophomore year at the University of Illinois, is looking ahead to her life after college, “It’s not easy to go from living with friends and doing whatever you want to moving back in with parents, but it’s something you need to do to save money. My sorority sisters and I share a dream of moving to downtown Chicago together after graduation, but the rent is way too high. Moving back home to our families in the Chicago suburbs is basically a free ride so we can afford that downtown apartment in the future.”

Advertisers should prepare for the kind of spending parents of these kids will be doing when they come back home. The new AudienceSCAN survey found 12% of Americans have adult children living with them right now.

TD Ameritrade’s Young Money survey of 2,000 teens (ages 13 to 19) and young millennials (ages 20 to 26) found several distinct differences between these groups.

  • Teenage dream: Two-​thirds (65 percent) of teens say they don’t expect to move back home after college
  • Adult reality: Nearly half (48 percent) of post-​college young millennials moved back in with parents after college

To reach Parents of Adult Children Living at Home, marketers can try newspaper (print, online, mobile or tablet) advertising. The new AudienceSCAN study revealed 47% of parents took action after reading the paper in the past month.

"Just how old is too old to be living with parents? On average, teens say age 26 would be embarrassing while young millennials give themselves some wiggle room to age 28. Others are less anxious to flee the nest. More than a quarter (27 percent) of young millennials say they wouldn’t be embarrassed until age 30 to 34 and 11 percent find it acceptable to live at home until age 35."

Yet, no one is asking the parents if they are embarrassed to have their adult kids living with them. They might be shopping for new beds online to avoid judgement. The new AudienceSCAN research pointed out 24% of parents are planning to purchase new beds or mattresses.

Today’s college graduates are clearly under financial strain due to escalating tuition fees and stagnant wages,” said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade. “Moving back in with mom and dad is a short-​term sacrifice that could pay off in the long-​run. That’s only if the boomerang young adults are saving and wisely investing the thousands of dollars they would’ve spent on rent and other living expenses, and – at the same time – are paying down their student debt. Time is on their side. It’s never too early to start learning how to invest and plan for the future.”

Plans After College Don’t Include Gig Work

"Thirty percent of teens and young millennials prefer to work in a corporate/​business environment. Slightly fewer (about a quarter) hope to run their own business and even fewer (one in 10) college-​educated teens and young millennials prefer independent, gig economy work."

  • Medicine is a desired field for all ages: but teens are twice as likely to want to work in the arts than young millennials (17 percent vs. 9 percent). Technology and engineering are third and fourth most popular for teens, while young millennials are more interested in business/​finance/​accounting
  • Promotions and job hopping: millennials expect promotions after three years and teens say four years. Both expect to change employers about every six years
  • What’s important to them: owning a home (70 percent teens, 65 percent young millennials), having a high paying job (55 percent, 45 percent), having a job that makes a difference (45 percent), and flexible work hours are more highly valued than telecommuting

Was College Worth it?

  • Nearly 6 in 10 (57 percent) young millennials say the cost of college or trade school was a good investment in their future
  • Eight in 10 (80 percent) acknowledge the importance of their degree in obtaining their current job
  • More than 7 in 10 (76 percent) post-​college millennials use their degree on a regular basis
  • However, 20 percent believe the education they received will never be worth the debt accumulated
  • Student debt for young millennials surveyed who have or are attending college averages $10,205 and is causing many to delay key life milestones: buying a home (39 percent), saving for retirement (31 percent), moving out of parents’ house (27 percent), having children (25 percent), and getting married (21 percent)

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.

Courtney Huckabay
Courtney is the Editor for SalesFuel Today. She analyzes secondary customer research and our primary AudienceSCAN research. Courtney is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University.