Millennial-Age Parents Suffering Severe Financial Strain


Three in Four Young Parents Say Money Worries Keep Them up at Night

DENVER—It’s no secret that millennials—the largest U.S.. age demographic—are struggling with debt and are having difficulty securing decent-paying jobs. Because this generation continues to accrue more debt than the generations before them, millennials who now have their own children are finding that their financial situations have been negatively impacted as they struggle to achieve life goals.

A new survey conducted by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) and Parents Magazine reveals two in five (41 percent) of millennial-age parents rate their financial health unsatisfactory, while another 40 percent say financial strain is putting stress on their relationship with their spouse/partner. The survey also finds that almost half (46 percent) say financial concerns are keeping them from having another child, and nearly one in five have more than $25,000 in debt.

“The financial confidence among millennial-age parents is shaken. This generation is struggling with more than just debt—they’re delaying life goals like starting families and buying homes. This is a diverse, highly-educated population. They have an unrelenting sense of confidence in their own abilities. But there certainly are some challenges with managing money,” says Paul Golden, spokesperson for NEFE.

“Shockingly, 51 percent of the survey respondents say they would trade a year off their life for a greater sense of financial security. That is deeply troubling,” Golden adds.

What keeps millennial-age parents up at night—besides their kids? Three in four say at least one financial worry has them tossing and turning. Not saving enough, living paycheck to paycheck, debt, job uncertainly and concern over their partner’s spending behaviors round out the list.

Additionally, housing payments and renting costs are taking a big bite out of millennials’ income. In the survey, one in five report they are paying between 50-59 percent of their income on housing, and 8 percent are paying 60-74 percent.

“When parents return to work and take on child care expenses—where it’s estimated a quarter of their monthly budget goes—you quickly discover the math doesn't’t add up,” Golden says.

The survey also finds about one in three parents (36 percent) report that someone in their household has received external help from other family members, friends or social service providers. Additionally, 22 percent had to sustain by taking on a second or part-time job.

For more on the survey, read the Parents Magazine article “The Price of Parenthood: An Exclusive Family Finances Survey.”

For information, tips and self-directed courses on managing finances during life transitions, visit

Survey Methodology

Harris Poll fielded the study on behalf of the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) and Parents Magazine from May 6-12, 2016, via its Parent Query online omnibus service, interviewing 1,014 U.S.. adults aged 18+ who have a child under age 18 in the household, and among whom 454 are millennials (age 22-39). Data were weighted using propensity score weighting to be representative of the total U.S. population of parents of a child age 18 or younger on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, race/ethnicity, and propensity to be online. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available. Read more on the survey.

About Parents Magazine

Parents, published by the Meredith Corporation, is an American mass circulation monthly magazine that features scientific information on child development geared to help parents in raising their children. For more information, visit

More News

2 in 5 Americans Admit to Financial Infidelity Against Their Partner

New survey analyzes financial infidelity among U.S. adults who report having ever combined finances in a relationship.

Request for Proposals – NEFE 30th Anniversary Celebration and Conference

NEFE has issued a Request for Proposals for an event planner or production company to assist in planning NEFE’s 30th anniversary celebration and multi-day thought leadership conference in Denver in early Q4 of 2022.

NEFE Case Study: How Stanford University Embraced the Personal Finance Ecosystem

NEFE spoke with Stanford University’s Mind Over Money team about their work and using the Personal Finance Ecosystem to contextualize their efforts.

Back to Top