A recent TD Ameritrade study found that about 20 percent of Gen Y is providing financial support to parents. Baby boomers are currently sandwiched between caring for aging parents while still raising their own children.
Meanwhile, many millennials don't yet have children of their own (only 40 percent of millennials over the age of 25 have children). This puts them in the unique position of being able to allocate more of their money toward helping their parents. Many live with their parents for a longer time—not merely to save money but to pay for part of the mortgage or otherwise help with the costs of maintaining the family home.
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Millennials help their parents financially in other ways, too. They give monetary gifts, buy their parents homes or pay for assisted living and pay back the student loans their parents took out for them. On average, Americans of all generations—not just Gen Y—spend $12,000 a year helping aging parents.
Much as some baby boomer parents have delayed their retirements to help their children financially, some millennials, too, have put off their life goals to assist their parents. It's a cycle that, while generous, has been preventing both generations from adequately saving for retirement.