Are Millennials Too Poor for Parenthood?

There used to be a saying that the American Dream was 2.5 kids, a dog and a house with a white picket fence. Those days are gone and likely to never return.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Thanks to the devastating economic effects inflicted upon Millennials, it's possible that we could see a complete collapse of the family unit.

There used to be a saying that the American Dream was 2.5 kids, a dog and a house with a white picket fence.

Those days are gone and likely to never return.

Massive student loan debt, stagnant wages, increased cost of childcare and a lack of adequate health insurance benefits may have brought an end to the American family as we once knew it.

I'm a Millennial and with the exception of those who had unplanned pregnancies, I don't know one Millennial couple that feels that they're capable of bearing the financial responsibility of a child, given the financial challenges we face today.

Parents would argue that "you're never financially ready for a child." I don't accept that statement and neither do my peers.

Every parent I know that's between 45 - 55 years old who had children at a young age and without proper financial stability, spent their entire 20s and 30s scrimping and saving.

Here are some stats which portray just how financially strapped Millennials are today.

  • Average Millennial student loan debt: $33,000. [USA Today]
  • The Millennial unemployment rate is 11.5%, almost double the national average overall. [Generation Opportunity]
  • Nearly ⅓ of Millennials have delayed marriage and children due to the recession. [Pew Research]
  • Average childcare costs has risen to $12,000/yr [Pew Research], causing a dramatic increase in new stay-at-home moms, as it is more cost-effective for many woman to stay at home than work a part-time or full-time job.
  • 42% of employers intend to hire temporary or contract workers as part of their 2014 staffing strategy -- a 14% increase over the past five years. [Career Builder] As a result of this staffing strategy, employees are left without health insurance coverage for their families.
  • 50% of Millennials do not believe that Social Security will exist when they reach the age of retirement.

The deck as they say is stacked against us. What we must do now is figure out how to solve this problem, but before we do let's take a trip down memory lane.

The Silent Generation were able to raise a family of five on one man's income. The Baby Boomers required two full-time incomes.

If we continue to follow this trend line, Millennials will need four incomes; one full-time job and one part-time job from each parent in the household.

Is this really the legacy we want for America?

Are we satisfied with becoming a nation of workaholic's who live paycheck to paycheck, still barely able to make ends meet?

If you would've asked me ten years ago if I thought that there would ever come a time in America in which its citizens couldn't afford to procreate, I would've laughed, but that's the state of the world we live in today.

It's worth noting that when I reference the affordability of children by Millennials, I'm speaking in the context of being able to pay your debts, bills, and establish a savings and retirement plan.

Those options as it stands today will be largely out of reach for Millennials.

So where do we go from here?

Rather it's figuring out a way to afford children, buy a house, pay for college, or any other large expense, the universal solution is to spend less and save more. That's the only way to get ahead in a day and age in which wages are stagnant and inflation is forever increasing.

Millennials must learn to live with less and avoid the spoils of every new tech gadget, designer clothing item and high-class luxury living.

More than not being able to afford children, there's evidence which indicates that many Millennials are simply opting out of having children, by focusing more time on their career. Such is especially the case with young woman.

Facebook and Google have even recently launched programs to pay for their female employees to freeze their eggs so as to not have children while in their youth.

Every person is entitled to live the life they so desire, but it's important that Millennials not take life for granted and the joys of parenthood.

Life is not an endless clock and just like the old bachelor who finds himself well into his 50's without a wife and family, so will Millennial's who choose to get caught up in the allure of their Corporate Careers and their luxurious lifestyles.

Rather it's college, career, or kids, are you prepared for what's next?

Michael Price is the author of "What Next The Millennial's Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the Real World" endorsed by Barbara Corcoran of ABC's Shark Tank.

Book now available at Watch the trailer below:

Support HuffPost

Do you have info to share with HuffPost reporters? Here’s how.

Go to Homepage

Popular in the Community


Gift Guides