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Cost of living forcing young adults to delay life milestones

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The cost of living, including tuition and housing, has dramatically changed the transition into adulthood for Millennials and Gen Z, compared to previous generations. Recent data shows that 56% of young adults aged 18 to 24 lived with their parents in 2023, a significant increase from the 48% recorded in 1940. This shift is largely attributed to efforts to manage or avoid student debt, with the average student loan balance reaching $38,290 in mid-2023.

Financial burdens from education loans are causing nearly 60% of adults with student debt to postpone major financial decisions. Bankrate’s survey reveals distinct impacts on generations: Gen Z is more likely to delay purchasing a car, while Millennials are putting off buying homes and saving for emergencies due to their debt. Additionally, about 20% of individuals in both generations have postponed marriage and starting a family because of financial constraints.

The struggle with finances extends to marriage plans, with over half of unmarried Millennials in a Credit Karma survey expressing a desire to wait until their financial situation improves. This financial strain, exacerbated by inflation and the disproportionate increase in certain costs compared to wages, underscores the evolving challenges young adults face in reaching traditional life milestones.

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