Skip to main content

Financial Security

Survey: Americans Still Rely on Parents to Help with Mobile Phones, Groceries and Health Insurance

More Than a Quarter of Americans Feel Like An Adult At Age 18, But 1 in 3 Don’t Gain Financial Independence Until 25 or Later



June 20, 2018

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – The line between childhood and adulthood is blurrier than ever, and as a result, many Americans are delaying financial independence from their parents. 

The latest COUNTRY Financial Security Index® revealed that more than half of Americans (53 percent), aged 21 to 37, have received some form of financial assistance from a parent, guardian or family member since turning 21, with one-third (37 percent) of them receiving money monthly and more than half (59 percent) receiving money a couple of times a year. 

The types of support these Americans are receiving from their parents range from everyday needs such as paying for a mobile phone (41 percent), groceries and gas (32 percent), to more pressing life needs such as rent (40 percent) and health insurance (32 percent). 

In addition to relying on mom and dad for groceries, gas, rent and health insurance, Americans are opting to leave the nest later in life. In fact, more than one-third (35.3 percent) of Millennials are still living with their parents.

“We are seeing more  Americans living with their parents longer, but this should not necessarily be viewed negatively as long as there are clear fiscal objectives in place,” says Doyle Williams, an executive vice president at COUNTRY Financial. “Take Simple Steps such as building an emergency-fund, saving for a down-payment on a home, and staying focused on your long- term goals. Doing so will ensure you don’t rely on your parents forever, while enabling you to build financial independence.”

Redefining Adulthood

When it comes to adulthood, Americans are redefining key life and financial milestones. For nearly a quarter (23 percent), adulthood begins at age 18, the moment when they are legally considered adult, while one in five (19 percent) believe this transition from childhood begins at the legal drinking age of 21. 

Despite feeling like an adult at an early age, one in three (32 percent) don’t believe they should have complete financial independence until 25 or later. 

Americans also have a broad view of the life moments in which adulthood begins. For some, it’s making the move out of their parent’s home (18 percent), starting their first real job (13 percent) or paying their bills without any assistance (16 percent). 

Others still look to more traditional markers of adulthood such as getting married (12 percent), having a child (12 percent), buying a house (9 percent) and college graduation (5 percent).

Race, Economic Status and Education

Adulthood and financial independence also varies by race, economic status and education. 

African Americans and Hispanics are more likely than other racial/ethnic groups to believe adulthood begins between ages 16-18 (43 percent). Additionally, those with lower household incomes (less than $50K) and less education (some college or less) say ages 16 and 18 are the time for financial independence.  

The Hidden Costs of Living in the Moment

Many Americans believe financial independence shouldn’t come until after age 25, but this sentiment could be attributed to lenient spending habits. The COUNTRY Financial Security Index® revealed that 9 in 10 Americans are spending money on things they want, but don’t need, with 4 in 10 tapping into their savings to do so. Others are opting for experiences like vacations by putting them on a credit card (24 percent), making late monthly payments (10 percent) or delaying savings altogether (24 percent).  

“Enjoy experiences now, but don’t lose sight of the experiences you wish to enjoy in retirement,” Williams said. “After all, a payment can last longerhan the memory. If experiences are important to you, consider making adjustments to your budget and cutting back on other expenses so that saving for retirement can remain a priority.”


Media Contact
Carrie Skogsberg

About COUNTRY Financial

COUNTRY Financial is a marketing name for COUNTRY Life Insurance Company®, COUNTRY Mutual Insurance Company® and their respective subsidiaries, located in Bloomington, IL. COUNTRY Financial serves about one million households and businesses throughout the United States and offers a wide range of insurance and financial products and services.

About the COUNTRY Financial Security Index®

Since 2007, the COUNTRY Financial Security Index® has measured Americans' sentiments of their personal financial security. The Index also delves deeper into individual personal finance topics to better inform Americans about the issues impacting their finances. 

The COUNTRY Financial Security Index was created by COUNTRY Financial® and is compiled by GfK, an independent research firm. Surveys were conducted using GfK’s KnowledgePanel®, a national, probability-based panel designed to be representative of the general population and includes responses from approximately 1,006 U.S. adults for national surveys. The margin of sampling error for a survey based on this many interviews is approximately +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.