My 22-year-old daughter, Emma, waved goodbye to her college campus last spring and walked into a job this fall. Given the still-tepid state of the economy and all the stories—in the news and from friends—about recent graduates who can’t find work, you might well imagine that my husband and I are thrilled. And we are. Sort of.
Emma’s job is a good one, and she is lucky to have it. She is an editorial assistant at a well-respected magazine. But it is the kind of job that countless millennials are landing these days: part-time, low paying, with no benefits.
So, after we spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars on her college education, one thing has become clear: Our investment in our daughter’s future is far from over.
We are hardly alone: Across America, 25 is the new 21.
In his recently published book, The Age of Opportunity, Temple University psychologist Laurence Steinberg reports that today’s 25-year-olds are 50 percent more likely to be receiving financial assistance from mom and dad than the 25-year-olds of their parents' generation.
For twentysomethings, this is just one part of a larger phenomenon that is also marked by a growing propensity to stay in school and remain unmarried for much longer than prior generations. Adolescence, according to Steinberg, now stretches over a 15-year span, beginning at age 10 and ending around 25; that’s more than twice as long as during the 1950s. This may not be a bad thing. Steinberg’s research suggests that putting off adulthood can have certain benefits in terms of brain development and mental health.