Twenty-Somethings Less Financially Independent

Twenty-Somethings Less Financially Independent

Significantly fewer 20-29 year-olds say they feel financially successful compared to 2011.


PITTSBURGH, July 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Financial independence is even
more elusive than it was two years ago for 20-somethings coming of age amid
global economic uncertainty. Millennials with at least some college education
who claim to be “totally independent” decreased 26 percent in 2013 (17 percent)
compared to 2011 (23 percent), according to the second nationwide survey by The
PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC).

“Many of my peers suffer from a failure-to-launch syndrome directly related
to the surge in unemployment during the Great Recession and slow pace of
recovery,” said Mekael Teshome, economist at The PNC Financial Services Group.
“It is not a lack of ambition we are seeing in these data. It is more about a
lack of opportunity that has hindered many young adults’ progress against their
professional and financial objectives.” 

More than half (58 percent) of 20-29 year-olds with some college rate
themselves behind where they expected to be in terms of financial success, a 26
percent increase since 2011. However, for many of these children of
baby-boomers, optimism remains high; 60 percent of those who do not
identify as “totally independent” are determined to be independent soon. 

The second PNC Financial Independence Survey sought insights into the
financial mindset of 20-29 year-olds who are establishing their careers in a
highly competitive job market in the shadows of the global recession. The unique
study compares responses both within the age group and among those with and
without higher education.  

Path to Financial Independence

The top three factors identified by 20-somethings as essential to achieving
financial independence are:

  • Paying the bills (78 percent): While paying one’s own living
    expenses is considered essential to achieving financial independence, only six
    in 10 (60 percent) of those aged 25-29 have achieved that milestone.
  • Obtaining full-time job in preferred profession (59 percent): Only
    one third (35 percent) of 25-29 year-olds surveyed described their current job
    as an established position in their chosen field while 71 percent had expected
    to hit this milestone already. Hard work (64 percent), experience (58 percent)
    and education (57 percent) are the factors that 20-somethings believe did or
    will help get that elusive, preferred job.
  • Moving out of parents’ home (55 percent): Forty percent of all
    20-somethings and more than one-fourth (28 percent) of 25-29 year olds still
    live with parents or other relatives. There are also more mama’s boys (44
    percent) than daddy’s little girls (37 percent) when it comes to still living
    with parents.  

“Twenty-somethings tend to have fewer skills than their older counterparts
and generally earn less as well, which makes it especially difficult for them to
cope with a competitive job market and steer their lives in the direction they
hoped,” Teshome said.

Findings: Achievement, Realism, Stress, Education

  • Better Off: Only 53 percent say they are better off financially
    than their parents were at this age. Hispanics are more likely than others to
    say that they are better off than the previous generation. Those with some
    college education are more likely to say they are better off.
  • Optimism Turns to Realism: While most 20-somethings tend to be
    optimistic about their future, a new element of realism sets in for many
    around 25 years of age as they display less optimism about issues like paying
    off debt, finding a career they love and their general financial future.
  • Great Expectations: Though more likely to be financially
    independent, those in their mid-to-late twenties are more likely to describe
    themselves as behind expectations than are 20-24 year olds. Females (64
    percent) are far more likely than males (43 percent) to describe themselves as
    behind expectations.
  • Stress Factors: Twenty-somethings find financial issues most
    stressful, particularly a perceived lack of financial security (23 percent),
    followed by uncertainty of finding a job (17 percent).
  • The College Advantage: Higher education matters when it comes to
    identifying oneself as having a high level of financial independence. Only 36
    percent with a high-school education rate themselves as financially
    independent compared to 50 percent of those with a college degree. Those with
    more education are more optimistic on every measure than are those with only
    high school, regardless of age.

Financial Tips
PNC helps consumers increase their financial
knowledge through the interactive “PNC Achievement Sessions” on Consumers can learn to
recognize money-related strengths and weaknesses and build financial savvy from
four financial bloggers who share their personal stories and costly missteps to
help others.

An online media kit containing national and regional survey results, tips and
infographics is available on PNC’s website at

The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. ( is one of the nation’s largest
diversified financial services organizations providing retail and business
banking; residential mortgage banking; specialized services for corporations and
government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and
asset-based lending; wealth management and asset management.

PNC commissioned The Financial Independence
to identify attitudes and behaviors about personal finances among
those ages 20-29. The study was conducted online within the United States from
June 7 to June 24, 2013 among a nationwide cross section of 3,288 participants.
The margin of error for the total results is +/- 1.7 percent at the 95 percent
confidence level. Artemis Strategy Group ( designed and
managed the survey.

This report has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is
not intended as specific advice or recommendations. Information has been
gathered from third-party sources and has not been independently verified or
accepted by The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. PNC makes no representations
or warranties as to the accuracy or completeness of the information,
assumptions, analyses or conclusions presented in the report. PNC cannot be held
responsible for any errors or misrepresentations contained in the report or in
the information gathered from third party sources. Any reliance upon the
information provided in the report is solely and exclusively at your own risk.


Amy Vargo
(412) 762-4550


SOURCE The PNC Financial Services Group

Twenty-Somethings Less Financially Independent