Consumer Insights

Need A Mother’s Day Gift? Try A Lease

Mother's Day Spending

This year, Americans will spend over $23 billion telling their moms just how much they mean to them for Mother’s Day this year. Flowers, as always, will be the leading show of filial piety, with chocolate, jewelry and spa days making their usual strong showing. Brunch will be consumed in bulk — and mothers everywhere will be feeling the love and basking in the glow of their children’s adoration.

Well, the mothers whose baby birds are still more or less babies and who belong in the nest, or those whose baby birds have left the nest, will be celebrating.

For the moms of those young adult birds who’ve decided to stay comfortably inside that feathered nest for a few too many years after college, the data suggests that this Mother’s Day will be a bit less celebratory and a bit more anxiety-filled for them.

The mothers would like it very much if their offspring skipped the flowers and cheaped out on the chocolate in favor of signing a lease. And maybe learning how to balance their own checking accounts.

Those worried moms have a lot of company. Pew’s latest data indicates that more millennials are finishing college only to move back home, and once they’re in, they tend to stay around longer than their older siblings or parents did. As we noted, by the numbers, this situation is less than thrilling to their parents — particularly their mothers (who worry) — but it doesn’t seem that younger people much like the situation either.

More concerning, no matter how much anyone likes the reality of young people living with Mom and Dad for longer, it might not be a course that is set to reverse anytime soon.

Millennials Moving Home

There are all kinds of things we can call the people born during the past 20 odd years of the twentieth century — millennials, Generation Y, Generation Self, the Siracha Generation — but a quick glance at the latest number from Pew indicates that Generation Childhood Bedroom should at least be up for consideration.

As of 2016, 15 percent of 25-to-35-year-old millennials were living in their parents’ home, as opposed to 10 percent of Generation Xers who lived in their parents’ home in 2000 when they were the same age and only 8 percent of the Silent Generation who lived at home in 1964. And the number is on the rise within the millennial cohort — 12 percent of millennials were living at home in 2010.

Millennials, often called the mobile generation, ironically are not all that mobile when it comes to their living situation, meaning that if one is living at home with Mom this year, the odds are good that one will be living with her next year as well. Millennials — whether living with their parents or not — are moving significantly less often than earlier generations of adults that same age.

Among 25-to-35-year-old millennials who were living at home in 2016, 91 percent reported that they resided at the same address one year earlier. And among Gen Xers living at home in 2000, 86 percent reported living at that address one year prior.

Those numbers are fairly comparable to the Silent Generation figures. Of those who were living at home in 1964, 83 percent reported living at that address one year earlier.

The data also indicates that the length of stay with Mom and Dad is getting longer. The median duration of young adults living with their parents increased by six months from 2005 to 2013.

Employment alone doesn’t seem to be a deciding factor, as only 5.1 percent of older young adults were unemployed as of 2016, which is a big decline from the 10.1 percent unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2010. But education and income level does seem to make a visible difference. In 2016, 10 percent of millennials who had completed at least a Bachelor’s degree lived at home, whereas 20 percent of young adults with no more than a high school diploma lived in their parents’ home in 2016.

The upshot: Millennials are moving home more often — and staying longer when they do.

And while there might be an argument that this is a wonderful opportunity for families to get closer, the data doesn’t indicate that this is a situation anyone adores.

Our Moms Miss Us Less Than We Think

Your mom might like it if you called more, but there are limits to how long even one’s own mother wants to spend with them.

According to a new survey of 1,000 mothers, almost a full third are worried about the likelihood that their children will ever actually be able to live on their own and are getting a bit worried at the prospect of their adult children needing to live with them for a long time.

Of those asked, 63 percent felt their kids were unprepared to take on the life on their own, and only 30 percent of those with children living with them reported that their kids are actively trying to get out and living on their own. And many parents are letting them live at home free of charge — only 41 percent are asking for rent.

The moms — as is their custom — don’t seem angry at their kids, just disappointed. Ninety percent noted rising housing costs as an issue their kids face, and 43 percent say they are “very concerned” on their behalf. But being concerned doesn’t mean they are willing or able to foot the bill. Only one-third would consider co-signing a loan for their kids, and only 24 percent would help subsidize a mortgage. Over a third — 36 percent — said other than having a place to live, their kids are off the payroll and receive no additional financial help.

Moms are hoping their kids will be independent — but really independent, as in paying for things themselves.

And, we should note, their offspring seem to have similarly high goals. TD Ameritrade’s “Young Money Survey” showed that the average age that young millennials, ages 20 to 26, considered it embarrassing to live with their parents is 28.

Twenty-eight? Seriously. My, how times have changed.

Roughly 60 percent said it would be embarrassing to live at home at the age of 29.


Teenagers — further away from having to actually find a place to live other than their parents house — responded on average that 26 is the official point at which living with Mom is embarrassing.

Moving Out For Mother’s Day?

We hate to be the brunch spoiler — but the data indicates that moms will probably be seeing a lot more bouquets from the grocery store (bought on special) than they will get to see signed leases and purchase and sale agreement for houses. As Karen Webster pointed out in her piece The Coming Millennial FinTech Crisis, only half of the Sriracha Generation will do better than their parents did financially, while the other half will do worse. And that half might be a generous estimation, Webster noted, since the results get worse the lower down on the socioeconomic ladder where one was born.

“Those living in middle-class families — those whose household income is between $50,000 and $100,000, or 50 percent of the U.S. population — fare much worse. Only 44 percent of those kids have the prospect of making more than their middle-class parents. And for the 29 percent of the U.S. population earning less than $50,000, the prospects are very grim,” Webster noted.

But the news is not all terrible.

There are some signs that millennials are beginning to enter the housing market — albeit more slowly than their parents — as older millennials are in fact moving out, getting married and need homes. Zillow recently launched a service product to make navigating through that process easier — and there are some analysts who think that perhaps the millennials will turn out to have been more delayed than different from their parents and older siblings.

But for now it seems, a lot of people in their 20s won’t be traveling home to visit their mom for Mother’s Day so much as meeting her in the kitchen for breakfast.

Let’s hope they at least don’t ask her to cook.



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