Most Americans Believe Their Children Will Be Worse Off Financially

African American girl counting change in jar
African American girl counting change in jar

The next generation of Americans will be healthier, their parents say, all except for their finances.

Barely more than one in 10 (13%) American adults believe their children will be better off financially than they were when their career reached its peak and just over half (52%) believe their children will have less disposable income than they did in the future, according to a survey of more than 1,100 American adults released Wednesday by life insurer Haven Life and research firm YouGov. What’s more, just 20% of Americans believe their children will have a better quality of life when they reach their age.

“For the baby boomer generation, pocket money from mom and dad was only part of their early childhood,” says Yaron Ben-Zvi, co-founder and chief executive of Haven Life. “Today’s parents are increasingly prepared to worry about and provide for their children’s financial well-being well far into their adulthoods.” (In fact, 40% of millennials say they get some kind of financial help from their parents, according to an April 2015 Bank of America/USA Today survey of 1,000 kids and 1,000 parents.)

Why do parents believe that their children are faced with bigger financial challenges? They are saddled with more student loan debt than previous generations. The number of borrowers who default (those who are at least nine months past due) rose to 1.2 million annually in 2012 from around 500,000 per year a decade ago, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. And many young people — especially those living in big cities — are still priced out of the housing market.

Studies also show that the better start children have in life in terms of financial support and education, the more likely they are to surpass their parents’ earnings. Children raised in low-income American families are more likely to have very low incomes as adults, while children raised in high-income families can anticipate a much bigger jump in income, according to a report — “Economic Mobility in the United States” — released last month by researchers at Stanford University.

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Source: MarketWatch | Quentin Fottrell