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The world has changed

Jess’s children are grown — 28 and 25 years old — but both adults seem to be struggling financially due to today’s exorbitant cost of living. She says her monthly mortgage payments are half as much as her daughter’s, even though both loans are of equal value. Meanwhile, her son has struggled to move out and find his own place some 10 months after starting a full-time job following college graduation.

Both adult kids have also struggled with unexpected costs associated with their home and health insurance, Jess says.

“I thought that by teaching them what I learned — that you work hard and get a good job, you’ll get what you want,” she says. “Worked for me, why wouldn’t it work for them? Well, it doesn’t because the world has f—ing changed.”

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It’s not just that it’s hard

Jess acknowledges that struggling to get ahead is a natural part of life. But she distinguishes between struggling decades ago, when she was young, and struggling today. Jess claims she could afford to live on her own in her 20s despite making less than $10 an hour at the time.

“We struggled but we knew there was light at the end of the tunnel,” she says. “Now, you need to be making a six-figure salary to get a decent, tiny place to live.”

Jess says she believes younger workers now face unique challenges. “There’s a difference between struggling and drowning. … Kids today, no matter how much they struggle, they seem to be sinking further to the point of drowning.”

She goes on to suggest that the structure of the economy has made socio-economic classes irrelevant: “There used to be a lower, middle and upper class. Now it seems like there’s an ultra-wealthy class and everyone else is just poor.”

Several commenters seem to agree. “We have a 18,16,14 yr old. And I’m so scared for them,” says TikTok user Zoey’s Delights. “The only thing I can think of is generational living. Buy land. Tiny homes?”

Another commenter, Jamie, says she’s worried about her 16-year-old. “I moved out and lived on my own as soon as I turned 18. There isn’t any way he’ll be able to.”

What can parents do?

Gen X parents face an uphill battle to help their families. Nevertheless, there might be ways to assist adult children with the rising cost of living.

Setting up a house fund for them or investing on behalf of your children early may help them with a down payment when the housing market is ripe for them to take their first step.

You could also consider making space for multigenerational living. Home renovations, adding extra space to your existing property, or converting a garage or laneway into a tiny home could provide an independent unit for adult children.

In a follow-up video, Jess says if she’d known this was how things would go, that’s what she would have done for her kids too.

Ultimately, she encourages parents to recognize that the world has changed. “It’s not 1988 anymore,” she says. While it might seem like having your kids at home still at 25 feels like they’re failing, Jess emphasizes that it’s the system that’s failing young people these days.

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Vishesh Raisinghani Freelance Writer

Vishesh Raisinghani is a freelance contributor at MoneyWise. He has been writing about financial markets and economics since 2014 - having covered family offices, private equity, real estate, cryptocurrencies, and tech stocks over that period. His work has appeared in Seeking Alpha, Motley Fool Canada, Motley Fool UK, Mergers & Acquisitions, National Post, Financial Post, and Yahoo Canada.

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