Nearly 3 out of 4 younger millennials are concerned that the coronavirus pandemic will impact their finances, with 57% saying that Covid-19 derailed their plans for financial independence.
For many, those plans include having their own place. But 39% of younger millennials (defined here as ages 24 to 29) say they are either planning to or have already moved back in with their parents because of the economic downturn, according to a recent survey of over 2,000 young adults conducted by TD Ameritrade.
Even some of those who haven't made the move home are still getting help. About 15% of younger millennials say their parents are paying part of their rent, while another 15% say their parents are covering all of their housing costs.
Despite their appreciation for the support, 82% of young millennials say they don't want to rely on their parents financially. In fact, most younger millennials say that before the pandemic hit, they became, or expected to become, completely financially independent by 29. Additionally, most felt that by 28 it was embarrassing to be receiving financial help from their parents.
While moving back in with your parents would normally be considered a setback for many, times are not normal, says personal finance author Bobbi Rebell, host of the Financial Grownup podcast. Some people may be moving back home for financial reasons, but there are also those heading home for other reasons, such as to help their parents or to be in a safer or more controllable environment than they would be in with a roommate.
"If ever there was a time that you would not be judged in a negative way, this is it," says Rebell, who is also a personal finance expert for debt management app Tally. There are upsides to being with family during these challenging times, including saving money on housing expenses and other living costs, being able to help your family and getting to know your parents as an adult, Rebell adds.
If you're stressed about your finances right now, Rebell suggests doing a self-audit of where your monthly budget and income currently sit. Are you living within your means? Are there expenses you can trim? "Look for the gaps," she says. "If you are employed or have not had any change in your income, think about adjustments you might want to make in case that changes."
It's also a good time to build up your emergency fund. Financial experts recommend having three to six months of living expenses saved up. If you still have income coming in, prioritize putting a bit more toward saving if you can, especially if your expenses are lower because of the pandemic. "Cash is king these days and you will sleep better at night knowing money is there if something goes wrong," Rebell says.
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Beyond saving more, it may make sense to explore diversifying your income streams, Rebell says. Look for other ways to make money beyond your current job or unemployment benefits. In some states, you may be able to work part-time and still claim unemployment.
You may be able to find paid tasks such as doing yard work, helping with moves, making deliveries or performing ongoing handyman gigs through sites like NextDoor and TaskRabbit. You can also consider putting your skills and hobbies to use. Can you tutor online? Or sell some handmade items?
"Working more might be the last thing you want to do now, but given the economic risks we are all facing, it makes sense to create another income stream," Rebell says. "The key is to find something you can do that is unlikely to be impacted if your primary income goes away or is reduced."
At the end of the day, younger generations shouldn't beat themselves up if they're not exactly where they want to be financially right now, Rebell says. Most are struggling — and it's OK. "Unlike previous recessions, this one came on out of the blue and shut down entire industries overnight. No one is safe," she says.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.