Living Frugally: Why More and More Millennials Are Delaying Leaving the Nest

Michael Belk is a military veteran, a retired correctional officer, a blogger and a patriot. His military service took him overseas where he saw poverty first hand. He has a B.A. in Environmental Health and Safety. He strongly believes everyone should educate themselves. He jokingly calls himself the Jack of all trades, but the master of none. Raised in a frugal environment, he was practicing the craft before it was called frugal. Although considered poor, he was rich with love. His meager upbringing has led him to where he is today.  A modest man from modest means. He wants to share his experiences of frugality, in hopes that it helps you deal with a temporary setback. 

Living Frugally - Widget - GoldHi, I am Michael and I look forward to interacting with readers here at RetirementSavvy. I have heard many reasons why Millennials are living with their parents longer. Apparently, I am not the only one trying to understand this trend. I have heard reasons from Millennials are lazy to they are entitled. On the surface, many of these reasons make sense to people trying to offer opinions rather than seek a solution to a cultural change. I looked deeper into this paradigm shift and what I came up with might surprise even the most opinionated critic.

Pew Research Center study revealed that 36% of women and 43% of men lived at home in 1940. Those figures are mostly the result of the Great Depression.

The numbers began to decrease as most youth sought independence.  By 1960, the number of youth staying at home decreased to 24% – men and women. The number has been increasing ever since. The economy suffered a recession in 2008. In 2014, the number of women staying at home eclipsed the 1940 stats. Men showed the highest increase with 43% of them staying with their parents longer. That number is the second highest since 1940. As I stated earlier, I see it differently, however I must address the prevailing opinions of people who are quick to judge.

Are Millennials Lazy?

A young person who plays video games all day does not make it easy to dispute this claim. However, a closer inspection reveals a person tired of hearing “No.” Jobs are not as plentiful as when I was growing up. Let me remind you of the time when graduates could pick from the industry of their choice. Some companies offered incentives to new graduates in return for agreeing to work for the them.

Millennial Couch

Do Millennials Feel Entitled?

I am going to keep it real. Most young people have not grown up “living frugally” like many adults. Some parents raise their children according to the notion that the next generation should do better than the last. While this thought pattern offers hope, it also creates a false sense of dependency. I hear some of you disagreeing. If you earned something you will treat it with care, however if it was given to you, it will be devalued.

I will give you one example. Everyone has rented a car. Most people do not want to wreck a rental car; however, if it does happen, they are glad it was not their car. The next time you see an unemployed millennial do not be so quick to judge.

The Bottom Line

My last point is that it is not easy being unemployed. It is not easy being a Millennial especially when the public adopts misconceptions about your right to exist. I hope I have at least given you something to think about. It is not easy trying to change opinions, so that is not my goal. I must admit that this does not apply to all Millennials, but no one deserves to be “black-balled.”

My only goal was to help you gain a better understanding. Until next time, stay frugal.

Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.


  1. I’m apparently a millennial, born in 1987. I did live with my parents most of the time through college until about 22~23. It was 2011 when I got out looking for a job and found the market still sucked, companies were starting to hire again, but at bargain basement prices compared to years past. Statistics said I was worth $60k when I took a job at $30k after months of searching, and there was still too many experienced people looking for work that you can’t compare with. $30k might sound like a lot I guess, but 4+ years spent making next to nothing and building an avalanche of student loan debt, it sounds like kick in the nuts to me. I think people will generally move out pending that their income is substantial enough.
    Honestly I think kids are generally lazy, no matter what generation they are. I think most people’s work ethics grow with age with a few exceptions. Millennials are going through that and a bad economy and a vastly different world than we had in the 1990s and before. My perception is also that expectations are vastly higher today in the workforce than in past decades because of the explosion of various technologies. It’s just too easy to blanket say things like kids are just lazy, although they do seem to sacrifice less than my parents did in general.

    I enjoyed the see through blouse pic by the way, nice.

    • It sounds like you have a grasp on reality Kyle. I agree you can not place a generation in a pocket.

      We can not compare the time where jobs were more plentiful to a time where young people are growing up in a time of recovery.

      I agree in general people are lazier than our parents and grand parents. We are products of technology.

      Our parents had to walk almost everywhere they went. It is now ridiculous to walk anywhere.

      My nephew gets embarrassed to be seen walking. What happened to walking is good.

      Tech has spoiled us beyond belief. As I mentioned in my bio, I have seen real poverty. Life gets placed into perspective when you see kids selling gum to feed their family.

      I feel sorry for young people because most of their seeming lazy attitude can be blamed on the economy.

      • I frequently reflect on how lucky I am that I’ve been blessed I’ve never truly been in poverty and my skill set is diverse enough I believe I’ll always be able to find work even in the harshest of economies. Walking is still common in the cities, that’s one reason why many people living in inner cities are generally fitter and healthier. I too can feel awkward walking in certain areas, I believe it’s more of a social thing. If people never really walk in certain area’s you’re outside the norm and it’s like you’re not fitting in when you walk, when enough people do, it becomes acceptable and no longer embarrassing.
        I remember my parents working multiple jobs and living pay check to pay check when I was very little. I remember eating canned tomato soup with noodles added so many times I literally want to vomit smelling tomato soup or spaghettio’s today. That’s the kind of sacrifice I haven’t seen around me anymore even with people working minimum wage jobs struggling to make ends meet.
        Outside of a glimpse of areas I go to for work in Chicago, I haven’t really seen true poverty.
        I think young people have too much easy access to debt and technology that enables them to be lazy. I think another part of it is we’re becoming a more and more isolated society and it’s hurting people’s overall happiness and it definitely hurts poverty issues. I remember reading one of the reasons Cuban and Dominican immigrants tend to do pretty well is because they’re a very tight nit social group that watches out for each other. People feel less happy and fulfilled when they isolate themselves, people see friends and family less and accomplishing things in a group outside of work is nearly non-existent these days. I think the overspending and laziness we perceive comes from people trying to make themselves happy where simple human interaction was enough before. I learned by a horrible mistake I made when I was 18, that isolating yourself is one of the most destructive things a person can do to themselves and we’re doing it pretty much on a global scale thanks to technology.

        • So many great points, particularly the following, “I think young people have too much easy access to debt and technology that enables them to be lazy. I think another part of it is we’re becoming a more and more isolated society and it’s hurting people’s overall happiness and it definitely hurts poverty issues.” I absolutely agree.

          Thanks for sharing your thoughts, my friend.

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