How Emerging Is Your Adulthood?

There’s been so much news coverage in the last several years (and perhaps this has happened with previous generations as well) about how 20-somethings are no longer adults in the same sense that our grandparents were when they were the same age – we are engaged in “emerging adulthood” or “adultescence” instead.  Sometimes finances are implicated as a cause of this extended adolescence/delayed adulthood.


“Sociologists traditionally define the “transition to adulthood” as marked by five milestones: completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having a child. In 1960, 77 percent of women and 65 percent of men had, by the time they reached 30, passed all five milestones. Among 30-year-olds in 2000, according to data from the United States Census Bureau, fewer than half of the women and one-third of the men had done so.” (source)


multi generational family


Kyle and I have only completed three of these five milestones.  We jumped out and completed those three rather soon after college and we are apparently dragging out feet on completing the last two.


I became financially independent from my parents and moved out of their house when I was 22 (same for Kyle).  Kyle and I got married when we were 24.


I hope that I’ll finish my PhD before age 30 (age 28 is ambitious; age 29 is likely).  Kyle will be finished with “school” when he’s 28 but as he’s planning on doing a postdoc he will still be “in training” and won’t get a real job for 2-5 years after that (we hope on the shorter side!).  We’re still debating over when we want to have our first child, but I really can’t see it happening before we turn 30 because we will likely be living apart for a stint.


Reviewing when we complete these milestones made me wonder if their timing had anything to do with our finances.  The lack of well-paying entry jobs and student loan debt are routinely cited as chief factors in young adults delaying marriage, reproduction, and home-buying.


For us, finances had nothing to do with the timing of the milestones we have completed; they will have nothing to do with our graduation dates and likely nothing to do with when we have our first child.  We started our full-time jobs right after graduating from college and moved out of our parents’ houses within a few months, so that had mostly to do with when we graduated from college.  We got married when we were ready, relationship-wise, to make a lifelong commitment to one another, and I think our finances were irrelevant to the timing of our progression to the alter.  Delaying our marriage to save more money for our wedding never even occurred to us.  Even if we couldn’t have had the wedding we did, we still would have gotten married because we wanted to move forward with our life together.


I suppose it’s possible that our finances will influence when we have our first child, in the sense that if we are both unemployed we probably won’t try to get pregnant.  But it will have much more to do with 1) whether or not we’re living together, 2) our relationship readiness, and 3) the logistics of when we might next be changing jobs/moving.


Probably the reason I think that our finances haven’t affected when we’ve reached these life milestones is because they have been overall fairly rosy.  We don’t make much money, but we do earn more than the living wage, we haven’t yet been unemployed, and our parents have supported us (paid for most of college, gave us space to get on our feet, and contributed financially to our wedding).  We have been very fortunate.  So maybe our finances have influenced the timing in the sense that they haven’t hindered the timing.


Which of these markers of adulthood have you achieved and in which order?  How much did your finances have to do with the timing?


photo from Free Digital Photos


Written by

Filed under: transitions · Tags: ,

65 Responses to "How Emerging Is Your Adulthood?"

  1. cashRebel says:

    I think my finances have played a pretty big role in my milestones thus far. The first three are pretty closely tied to getting my financial life in order, but I dont see the 4thperson and 5thI as especially financially correlated.
    cashRebel recently posted..Does Money Corrupt Our Minds?

    1. Emily says:

      That’s interesting that finishing school for you was finance-related, though I can see how moving out and becoming financially independent from parents would be related to finances if one still lived with parents after getting a full-time job. I guess I don’t remember if your decision to leave grad school was related to opportunity cost of something else salary-related.

  2. Lucas says:

    Hum. . . I don’t think finances have really influenced these steps for me. Although if I hadn’t had a job I don’t think I would have goten married or had kids so they definitly have a role, just not central. I have tried to make decisions about what is important to me outside of finances and pursue that. I guess I am kind of on the fast track for US “professionals” but for most of these milestones I have been behind most people in developing countries. I think these have more to do with character maturity (either being ready for each step or each step forcing you to mature/evolve) then financial state.

    I pretty much left home and became financially independent at 16 when I went to college (I had large scholarships and paid for everything else myself). Otherwise I would say I fully completed these at 20 when I got my first job after college near DC. I got married at 22, completed my masters at 23, had our first child at 24, and bought our first house at 25.

    1. Emily says:

      You were independent at 16?? I guess that did put you on the fast track! I remember one of our college classmates was 16 when we matriculated but I’m pretty sure she was still a dependent through college. Is your wife the same age as you?

      1. Lucas says:

        Yeah, I was told I could go wherever I wanted but that I was paying for it myself. Definitly helped the motivation for applying for scholarships and getting a very close to full achedemic scholarship helped a lot 🙂 Met my wife after college at a Bible study. she is ~1.5 years older then me and followed the more normal 18-21 college route, but also paid for it all herself (through going to commuity college, being an RA and working various jobs).

  3. I think check-lists like these are pretty weak ways to compare to counterparts 50 years ago – compare rates of college entry from now to 1960 and you can see that for many in 1960 “completing school” meant high school compared to now. Not to mention the birth control pill didn’t get FDA approval until 1960 – which would presumably delay the age at which people have children. Those are structural changes in society that I don’t think have a whole lot to do with being an adult.

    As for me.
    18 – Financially independent, moved out
    23 – finished with grad school
    26 – married
    30 – still married, no kids, feeling more than fully “adult” =)
    Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies recently posted..Reader Question: 100 Boxes. How Many Would You Open?

    1. Lucas says:

      Not sure if I agree. I guess it would hinge on whether you think becoming an adult is dependent on responsibility/character development. I think they are actually pretty accurate based on my personal expirience. I thought I was responsible and caring towards others before I got married, but being married really forced both those issues to a completely new level. The same with having kids. I didn’t know what it really was to be responsible and love unconditionaly until I had to take care of little people who can’t return love at all and are completely self-centered and can’t take care of themselves at all. I guess it would be possible to learn some of these ahead of time, or not learn them through these steps. But in general I think they are right on. One of my idols – Ravi Zacharias had a professor tell him to shut up and sit down becuase he didn’t know anything about being mature and what love was until he had been married (and he agrees looking back).

      1. Emily says:

        My guess is that responsibility and character development tend to increase with age (until dementia sets in) and make big leaps with the milestones discussed in this post. That’s for an individual, though, and it’s certainly possible that someone who has achieved all the milestones could be less responsible and have not-as-good character as someone who hasn’t. I think it’s probably still useful at a population level, though comparing across generations adds factors regarding societal shifts like Mrs. Pop pointed out.

    2. Emily says:

      Well, I’m not a sociologist, but I think it is useful to use some things as benchmarks to compare across generations, even if you don’t put a value jugement against it like calling it “adulthood.” More useful than just age, anyway. Staying in school full-time is different from having a job. Being a parent is different from not. Forming your own household is different from staying with your parents. I think the key transition for me in feeling like an adult was becoming financially independent from my parents, with moving not just “out” but to another state being a close second.

      How do you think we should talk about adulthood across generations and take into account the opportunities young people have today that weren’t available for our parents/grandparents?

      1. Why do they need to combine those 5 together as a benchmark rather than looking at each separately? Especially the last two. As countries industrialize, you get more people happy to be living alone without progeny. And that isn’t a bad thing, just a thing.
        nicoleandmaggie recently posted..Expanded ramblings on extreme living

        1. Emily says:

          Again I’m not really sure as I haven’t read the primary literature! I’m sure the data exist for each of them individually. You have intrigued me enough to read at least one paper that uses these benchmarks.

          Do you think that people are really getting married (or maybe I should say coupling up?) and having children at a significantly lower rate now than a generation or two ago? I thought the US marriage rate is still around like 95%… They both still seem to me to be major objectives for Americans, though we are certainly achieving them later and are having fewer children.

          1. No, the US marriage rate is a lot lower than 95%. There’s a huge increase in single-mother headed households, for example. The “ever been married” rate may be close to 95% (but only for dead people or those close to death), but that’s not what this is asking about– it’s focusing on the cohorts as they approach 30. There’s a lot going on to unpack that. Lots of papers you can read about childlessness as well, from the 19th century up to now.

            Here’s an interesting paper: You can think about how advances in fertility treatment might be affecting women with advanced degrees but not all women. (There’s also been an increase in multiple births.)

            And yes, after the baby boom (my mom’s generation, so my grandparents’ baby-having habits), people started having children at a lower rate. They were also having children at a lower rate before the baby boom during the depression (my dad’s generation).

            The birth control pill also changed a lot. A fascinating literature on the topic over the past 10 years.
            nicoleandmaggie recently posted..Expanded ramblings on extreme living

          2. Emily says:

            Oh yeah, I was referring to the ever been married rate, but I can see that is terribly difficult to project.

            I’d like to learn more about how the BCP has influenced society, actually… I’ve been thinking more and more about going off the pill and practicing NFP/FAM. Kyle gets freaked out when I send him articles to read on fertility and such as he thinks we’re going to have trouble getting/staying pregnant. Ugh, I need to get caught back up on my blog post editorial calendar before I get into another reading project.

          3. The two big articles on BCP are one by Goldin and Katz and one by Martha Bailey, but there’s a lot more.

            I have an uncle who practiced NFP. They had 4 unplanned kids.
            nicoleandmaggie recently posted..Expanded ramblings on extreme living

          4. Emily says:

            Thanks for the refs!

            My friend who practices NFP had an oopsie baby (just one – they apparently figured it out) and when I mentioned it to him he was like “Take a class!! Don’t try to do it on your own!!”

          5. Lucas says:

            Well since everyone has anecdotal stories on NFP and BCP, I thought i would give mine as well. We had a very bad expeirence with any BCP we tried affecting my wife (sex drive/depression/exhaustion/food issues), and have several friends who had lots of issues getting pregnent (or with miscarages) after coming off the BCP. We know our issues were definitly caused by the BCP but no proof for others, other than knowning that there are definitly side effects that the drug companies try to “hide” or minimize.

            We have done a combination of NFP and barrier that has worked just fine for us (no surprises). The effectivness of NFP really depends on how well you follow it and how regular your cycle is. My wife is really regular so we tracked things for a year and have not done much tracking since then, but know pretty much exactly what our safe windows are, and then use backup outside of that range.

          6. Emily says:

            I’m glad to hear the FAM is working for you! Did you work with a teacher or just learn it from some books?

          7. Lucas says:

            Mostly Books. The one we used was The Art of Natural Family Planning by John F. Kippley. You can get a used copy on amazon for $4 (including shipping). Kind of a big book, but had all the info we needed.

  4. E 2 says:

    I’ve hit the point where my finances are impacting one of these decisions – I’m financially independent, married, and don’t live at home, but since my husband and I will both be finishing school and looking for jobs/postdocs in the next year or two, starting a family now now seems like a risky thing because where we will be, what jobs we will have (if any), and what are income and benefits will be are totally unknown. This is definitely the first time I’ve felt like I’m living in “suspended adolescence,” since I didn’t wait on any of the other things, and it’s simply a result of still being in school in my late 20s.

    1. Emily says:

      It’s difficult to separate the financial influence from the career influence in that situation. If you were paid more as a grad student/postdoc or were guaranteed no periods of unemployment, would you choose to get pregnant? I guess for us it’s convenient that my ideal relationship timing will probably fall after our transition out of grad school. I’m not sure what we would choose if we thought we wanted a baby now, before the career stuff has developed. It sucks to feel stymied before you reach your desired level of “adulthood.”

      1. E 2 says:

        To me, the financial influence and career influence both just look like “we need jobs” to me, so I don’t separate them. We make enough money as grad students that I think we could handle a baby, and I’m sure our families would help with hand-me-downs and such, but our incomes and health insurance both have definite end dates thanks to graduation. On the other hand, I’m very eager to transition out of academia, and if I do get a new job, it would be bad to immediately get (or already be) pregnant and ask for time off. If it weren’t for those issues I would start trying, so it’s very frustrating to not be more established.

        If someone had told me at age 23, when I was applying to grad schools, that I might regret doing a PhD because it would make it harder to have kids in my late 20s, I would’ve laughed them out of the park. I was single, super-focused on work, and into traveling without obligations. How things change!

        1. Emily says:

          You know, I hadn’t thought much about the health insurance issue with respect to a baby! It’s a very good point. That could get quite expensive if your employment isn’t continuous or both your workplace options stink for adding children. I think I’d like to get through a year of post-PhD employment before taking maternity leave. I know they can’t legally discriminate over that issue but I’m sure it happens all the time.

          Our 20s are a time of a ton of personal growth so you really can’t kick yourself for not knowing at 23 how your priorities would change over 5 years or so! I didn’t know I wouldn’t want to be a PI but I don’t think that’s so bad.

  5. Go us, I guess, (5/5) though most of our friends are just now having their first kids, or deciding that they don’t want kids at all. And DH has family that have had kids in their teens. I don’t really see reproducing as a sign of adulthood, as much as we would like it to be. Some of our friends are still single, but most definitely still adults!
    nicoleandmaggie recently posted..Expanded ramblings on extreme living

    1. Emily says:

      Did you make 5/5 by thirty or sometime after? The baby one for my peers generally is likely the one keeping people from accomplishing all five before 30, plus finishing school for our working-on-a-PhD friends, particularly if they took a few years working before starting grad school. But we have a few friends who are 5/5 by their late 20s.

      Getting pregnant might be a sign of irresponsibility (teenaged/out of wedlock) but I would hope that acting as a parent would make anyone become more responsible! Not that it’s the only way to become responsible or adult-like, though.

      1. By 30. Go us.

        One would hope. However…
        nicoleandmaggie recently posted..Expanded ramblings on extreme living

  6. My wife and I are on a similar timeline, as she’s aiming to finish her PhD around age 29, with kids being in the plan sometime after that (but it’s a bit unknown due to moving for post-docs, moving again, hopefully, for a position, etc.)

    I can understand trying to measure adulthood by completion of certain rites of passage, but the definitions are fluid. For example, “finishing [high] school” likely carried a different meaning as a rite of passage in 1960 than it might today. When (or if) a couple decides to have a child seems to have changed a bit, too: I don’t think twice about my wife waiting to have a child after 30, but my guess is that would have seemed late to begin trying a few generations ago.
    Done by Forty recently posted..Thirty Things Lighter Update

    1. Emily says:

      I’ve heard the postdoc is a good time to have a baby, or grad school if the couple is ready! I sort of wish we were ready while in grad school because everything is so flexible.

      I think the phrasing is to finish school instead of finishing high school/finishing college/finishing grad school to account for degree inflation over the decades.

      I don’t know about my grandparents’ generation, but Kyle and I actually got married at a younger age than any of our parents and I think it’s likely that we’ll have our first child when we’re younger than they were. So these ages don’t monotonically increase within families, anyway!

  7. Bridget says:

    I’ve done 3 and I have very little interest in the other two!

    1. Emily says:

      Looks like you’ll be an adultescent forever! j/k

  8. G$ says:

    I’ve completed 3 out of 5, with the remaining two being getting married and having children. I’m only 23 and I can tell you that even with those three accomplishments, I don’t necessarily *feel* like an adult. I’m independent, but that sometimes makes me feel selfish. Because I’m not currently in a serious relationship or do not have children, it’s all about me. I do what I want when I want. I spend my money on only my needs. While I agree with some of the comments that not completing all of the milestones doesn’t make someone less adult, I also see the value in the milestones themselves. Having to consider a husband and/or other children when making decisions would likely change how I feel about my adulthood.

    1. G$ says:

      Also, thanks for featuring me as your comment of the week. I always look forward to reading your blog 🙂

      1. Emily says:

        I was very happy to hear from you! And I’m glad your comment last week wasn’t one-time-only. 🙂

    2. Emily says:

      I agree it’s easy to fall into selfishness when you essentially have no family around (parents, spouse, kids). BUT I also think that practicing good financial habits when you’re just starting out can be unselfish. You’re providing for your own retirement, for instance, so you won’t have to depend on your future kids in your dotage. If you save to buy a house you will be giving you and your future spouse a headstart on your life together with a good investment. And there are other ways to combat selfishness, of course, for any of use who have time to spend on ourselves, like serving others. Even by committing to a regular volunteering gig (one you’ll go to whether you feel like it or not) sets you up to not be doing whatever you want whenever you want 100% of the time.

  9. I have completed them all, with the child being the last. I moved out, graduated college, became financially independent, then had a child. I did it just like it is written, but it took some time to become financially independent and the baby came not long after. The only decision that our finances had a factor in was the baby, but that makes a lot of sense.
    Grayson @ Debt Roundup recently posted..My Percentage Based Debt Payoff and Savings Rule

    1. Emily says:

      So you were financially dependent on your parents after you moved out/graduated college? What was the reason for that? I think you got married sometime along the way too, right? 😉 How long did you delay (I assume you were delaying) getting pregnant solely because of money and what were you doing to get your finances up to snuff for the baby?

  10. Sara says:

    I’m no historian, but 1960 may have been a strange year for this sampling, because wouldn’t that be the generation (or subset) that was too young for WWII and too old for for Vietnam? I bet if you looked to people just a few years younger or older that you would see fewer people having hit 5/5 by 30.

    For me, it was moving out (18), financially independent (22), coupling off (23- though marriage is yet to come), and “finishing” school at 26. I may go back to school in the future, but not full-time.

    1. Emily says:

      Since the data is calculated from the census, we could look at 1950, 1970, etc. I agree it would be interesting to see if the percentage was monotonically dropping or it had some dips up and down, and also how the individual factors changed.

  11. krantcents says:

    I married my college sweetheart right after college. I bought my first home at 27, first child the same year and second child at 30 years old. I started to invest in income property when I was 31 years old and achieved financial freedom at 38 years old. My education did not take all of my twenties so it is very different.
    krantcents recently posted..Why Dealing with Payday Loan Debt Yourself Could Lead to Serious Problems

    1. Emily says:

      The degree inflation aspect in many fields is really a killer on achieving the rest of the items on the list!

  12. reneeg says:

    looks like others have knit-picked over what “finishing school” means.

    I think that PhD students and Post-Docs who are fully funded qualify as working professionals, not as students. I say you’ve achieved 4 of the 5 markers.

    1. Emily says:

      Well, I think it’s fair to consider grad students still students (postdocs are borderline) since being financially independent from parents is a separate metric. We still experience the opportunity cost of being students even though we’re being paid. The pay is kind of a separate issue. Like, I would consider unpaid PhD students the same as paid PhD students in terms of their student status – and in fact many PhD students without stipends have other jobs to support themselves, which would fall under the FI part and not the student part. That’s my take, anyway!

  13. Completing school-check, leaving home-check 18 years old, becoming financially independent-check been so since 18, paid off the debt about 2 years ago, marrying and having a child (not yet).

    Now that I’m a homeowner and in a serious committed relationship I guess I’m an adult. I don’t always feel like an adult (I’m not sure what adulthood is supposed to feel like I suppose). Maybe having kids and being responsible for another person makes you feel like more of an adult?
    KK @ Student Debt Survivor recently posted..New York State of Mind or Maine-iac?

    1. Emily says:

      Maybe! I don’t know yet. I feel pretty adult now.

  14. SarahN says:

    Interesting – you’re married, whereas most of my peers aren’t. Largely because they are trying to get ‘financially independent’ which in Australia means buying property, ideally before marrying, but depends on the culture of the families involved. For friends who aren’t married, but are fin dep, I do wonder why they aren’t married, or even having kids (out of wedlock, if that would be ok for them).

    I’d pick a different milestone for ‘fin indep’ or add one which is ‘get a mortgage’ – Man that made me feel adult, with roots, and less flighty etc.

    I’m not married, and it’s not the cost that’s stopping me. I’m not ready yet (nor is the r’ship). If I’d be ready younger (read:poorer), I may have waited if I expected we the couple would finance it fully.

    ON your comments to others. I didn’t realise Mrs Pop was so young (mrs seems old in my head still!). And, NFP would be ok, in some respects, as in my head, you’ve got fin indep, and you’re married, there’s no reason not to (other than the living apart, but that wouldn’t ‘ruin’ childrearing, just make it harder or maybe you’d not live apart?)

    I think you’ve had some great starts, with your parents and Kyle’s parents help.
    SarahN recently posted..Book Review: The World Without Us by A. Weisman

    1. Emily says:

      Actually, when I was recalling this list of 5 milestones but before I looked it up, I had substituted “buying a home” for “moving out of parents’ home” – so I definitely agree with you that it could be a marker of adulthood on par with any of these others. Perhaps home ownership is not tracked by the census data…?

      I actually associate “Mrs.” with older people as well – like when I moved to the South at age 23 and HS kids were calling me “ma’am!” I hated it even though I know they were just being polite for their culture. I never think of myself as a “Mrs.” even though I am one – I use Ms. on forms and am hoping that “Dr.” will come sooner rather than later. I don’t care about the title much except that it can replace “Mrs.”!

      So once you are ready to get married (and your relationship is ready) you’d be financially prepared to go ahead with it? But if you were younger your finances might have delayed marriage.

      If we were to get pregnant I think we would do everything possible to live together continuously (unemployment, if it came to it). MAYBE we could be apart for some of the pregnancy but not once a baby arrives. NFP/FAM is supposedly a pretty effective form of BC if you practice it perfectly, but I would think most people mess up while transitioning into it. I have actually been thinking that I might go off the BCP when Kyle moves out (of course he has to agree, and we haven’t decided yet) so I can get used to the method when we’re not seeing one another very often.

      1. Home ownership is tracked. Freezer ownership is tracked!

        You can see what all the census (now the ACS) tracks at
        nicoleandmaggie recently posted..What’s your theme music?

        1. Emily says:

          Wow, that’s intense!

      2. SarahN says:

        Yeah I’d definitely marry from a financial point of view. Not that I like how expensive it can (and will) be!

        Yes, of course you’d want Kyle’s buy in on the contraception method. Actually it’s a shame how much is put on women with BCP and I do think some men could be more proactive.

        Oh to be a Dr! I’m hoping I’ll be OK with Mrs, cause I think Ms sometimes confuses people that you’re either not married, or a old spinster/wicked witch! Even being called ‘Miss’ when I worked in schools was strange though.
        SarahN recently posted..Adding storage by the entry

        1. Emily says:

          I eagerly keep my ear to the ground for news on new male contraceptive methods that are in development! I would love to be done with the BCP once we start having kids and switch to something else in between/after. I’m not eager to be tricking my body into thinking I’m pregnant in perpetuity.

    2. SarahN – what made you think I was old? =)
      Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies recently posted..Lifestyle Carnival

      1. SarahN says:

        Only the Mrs, nothing more! You know in school, any ‘mrs’ teachers seem ancient, like, you know, 30!
        SarahN recently posted..Food memories from boarding school (& eating out summary)

  15. I remember reading something about this in Time magazine around the turn of the century. Time called them “Twixters” because they were “betwixt” adulthood and teen-hood.

    That said, I’ve always felt like such measures are poorly thought out. They may be qualifiers for a traditional lifestyle, but there have always been people for whom those simply don’t apply. The Pope has never been married or had children, but I doubt anyone would consider him to be an “emerging adult.”

    You pointed this out in part, but what qualifies as “completing education?” The Amish only attend school through 8th grade. You have been in school for more than double that length. I graduated with my B.S. 4 years ago, but may go back for a master’s in a few years. In that case, do I loose a mark on that scale?

    And lastly, there is my wife and I. She has a medical condition which makes conception unlikely, so we may never have children.

    That said, I reached the first 4 of those within 2 months of each other when I was 28.

    1. Emily says:

      It would be interesting to see alongside the percentage of people who complete all these milestones by age 30 the percentage of people who ever complete all of them, or 4/5.

      I suppose completing education is just whatever it is for the individual – 8th grade or a doctorate. I would think that most students have their lives somewhat in suspension while they are in school. We sort of do! And yeah, I think you’d lose that milestone check if you go back for an MS. 🙂 If you and your wife can’t conceive, do you think you will try to obtain children through some other route?

      1. “obtain children through some other route.” That sounds like you are suggesting that we buy them on the black market. lol The problem is, non of those other routes are very affordable.
        Edward Antrobus recently posted..2013 $3K Challenge: Mid Year Update

        1. Emily says:

          Yes, the “old-fashioned way” is generally the least expensive for most people. But the cost of obtaining a kid, regardless of route, isn’t much compared to the cost of raising one, right?

    2. E 2 says:

      I agree that at some level these seem like checklists of approval for some traditional standard of respectability, not actual requirements of being a responsible adult. I mean, what if you were a teen mom, didn’t marry, and worked minimum wage jobs through your mid-20s, when you decided to go to community college at night, and your own mother helps babysit your kids while you are in class? You would only have one “milestone,” but I think taking care of kids, working, and funding your own education as an adult would make you more “grown-up” than a lot of us childless grad students of the same age in some ways.

  16. Matt Becker says:

    I think one of the biggest reasons for the change in marriage and child timelines is simply that women have more options and expectations for working now. Back in the day, most women got married young and started having babies without much thought or opportunity to join the workforce. Luckily women’s opportunities have increased, and I think that’s just naturally led to a delay in the married with children route. I certainly don’t think it’s the only reason, but it has to be a part of it. And I don’t see that as a bad thing at all. More options for everyone simply gives all all more opportunity to make the decisions we really want to make rather than falling back on societal’s old norms.
    Matt Becker recently posted..Bad for the Budget. Good for the Soul.

    1. Emily says:

      I agree that women’s careers have influenced this progression, but in my mind that would be mostly in the earlier decades. I guess I’m speaking from my grad student perspective, but I think degree inflation is the bigger culprit in delaying these milestones more recently, both for men and women. If it was mostly women’s work lives that were changing, why would the rate of men reaching all 5 milestones by 30 be falling as well? After all, the main reason for women wanting to marry older men (that they will be more established providers at the beginning of their married lives) would diminish/disappear with women having careers, so women should be open to marrying men older or younger than them.

  17. […] our discussion about the milestones of adulthood, E 2 shared how she feels her finances are holding her back from completing her next milestone: […]

  18. […] me and Mr PoP!) and compares us to 30-year-olds in 1960s.  Asking whether we’re stuck in adolescence.  Interesting […]

  19. […] from Evolving Personal Finance presents How Emerging Is Your Adulthood?, and says, “How many of the five markers of adulthood have you completed and did your […]

  20. […] Pop from Planting Our Pennies included How Emerging Is Your Adulthood? in her love for […]

  21. […] @ Evolving Personal Finance writes How Emerging Is Your Adulthood? – How many of the five markers of adulthood have you completed and did your finances delay […]

  22. […] How Emerging Is Your Adulthood? was featured in the Financial Carnival for Young Adults. […]

Leave a Reply


CommentLuv badge