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Millennials Mooch Off Their Parents Now but Plan to Support Them Financially Later

Most millennials think they manage money better than their parents did at their age.

At the end of a trip home to see the family, even an employed millennial is occasionally slipped some cash from a loving, if somewhat concerned, parent. But in a couple years, many of those on the receiving end expect those roles to be reversed. 

Laden with student debt and mounting credit card bills, some millennials currently rely on relatives to help pay for everything from student loans to cell phone service and clothing, according to a survey of 1,000 American adults commissioned by the Society of Grownups, a financial literacy group. The survey found half of millennials from the age of 21 to 29 receive financial support from relatives. 

But that mooching won't last. Among the same demographic, 41 percent said they expect to provide monetary support to their parents. Widening the polling numbers to include those age 21 to 45, a broad and borderline definition of millennial, 51 percent said they expect to or already provide such aid to their parents. On average, those surveyed said they expect to begin offering financial support within seven years. 

"What's interesting about these millennials wanting to be able to provide assistance is that they are coming from a place where they have seen financial difficulty," explained Nondini Naqui, chief executive officer of the Society of Grownups. She noted that millennials and their older Gen X or young boomer parents have been financially "squeezed in similar ways." 

Naqui theorizes that because millennials saw their families live through an economic downturn, they feel more confident tackling their own finances. Those polled were asked whether they believe they manage money better than their parents did at the same age. A 68 percent majority said they do. 

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