Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Is the economy destroying love?

Many young people are delaying 'key life decisions' like getting married and having children.

By MSN Money Partner Nov 15, 2012 4:07PM

This post comes from Kimberly Palmer at partner site U.S. News & World Report.


U.S. News & World Report logoFor recent college graduates, the post-recession economy has meant a challenging job market, lower earnings, and a greater chance of moving back home with parents. As they progress through their 20s, it also means they're more likely to push off traditional milestones such as getting married and starting a family.


Woman on the Telephone © Radius Images, Radius Images, Getty ImagesA new survey from Generation Opportunity, a nonprofit dedicated to engaging young adults on economic issues, found that eight in 10 young women between the ages of 18 and 29 living in Florida say they've delayed "key life decisions" because of the weak economy. Three in 10 specifically mentioned starting a family as something they will either delay or possibly skip altogether, and two in 10 said the same about marriage.


Respondents also listed a variety of other life events they're skipping or putting off: vacations, attending weddings or family reunions, buying a home and saving for retirement. In a statement, Generation Opportunity executive vice president Amber Roseboom noted that young women's "careers and dreams have been interrupted."


The survey echoes similar national findings of both genders. Earlier this year, the Pew Research Center found that almost one in three young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 say they have delayed marriage or parenthood because of the economy. About half said they have taken jobs they don't want to pay bills.


When it comes to the biggest life decisions -- when and whether to get married and have children -- money undoubtedly plays a big role. But it's possible to find ways to make both events more affordable. Marriage can even help couples save money, especially if they combine expenses they previously paid separately, such as food, housing and transportation. Couples with very different salaries, or where one spouse earns a lot and the other earns little or nothing, can also find themselves paying a lower tax rate post-nuptials. (The opposite is often true for couples who earn similar amounts.)

Babies are a little trickier. They are expensive, and getting more expensive all the time. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently reported that babies born in 2011 will cost their parents $234,900 before age 18, which was a 3.5% increase over the previous year. That's because child care, education, transportation and food prices are all rising.


But as with marriage, there are ways to generate savings: Children can share bedrooms, parents can buy or borrow secondhand clothes and toys, and buying and cooking food in bulk can keep grocery bills down. Parents might even find that some pre-baby costs, such as restaurant meals and vacations, naturally go down with their new child-centric lifestyle.


Still, there's no avoiding the fact that marriage and parenthood often introduce new expenses into one's life. Based on the recent surveys, young adults appear to be keenly aware of that fact. Delaying either event can be the smart move for 20-somethings still struggling to find their own financial footing.


But for those intent on moving forward, either down the aisle or into parenthood, there's usually a way to make it happen without breaking the bank.


Have you delayed marriage or parenthood because of the economy?


More on U.S. News & World Report and MSN Money:




Nov 15, 2012 10:21PM

Responsible people who weigh economic conditions and plan to be responsible for themselves and their choices will often delay marriage and/or children.  The problem is, those who have not been educated in personal responsibility i.e. those on the public dole don't have to deal with the full economic consequences of their actions and often elect to have children they would not be able to support without government help.

Nov 15, 2012 10:43PM

This is just the beginning of our new disfunctional economy.  Thanks to all the self serving politicians.

Nov 15, 2012 11:17PM
The most important thing we young people need to remember is that  politicians from both parties are failing us. A failing educational system, predatory student loan industry, universities that are now corporations with emphasis on revenue, not curricula that actually train the young for real-life jobs, and being set up to fail when competing against our counterparts from other developed and developing countries. One of the biggest threats to the American economy are economic and institutional issues that prevent young people from starting their lives -- it means fewer households and demand for every consumer goods/services that constitute such households (like vehicles, washers/dryers, furniture, utilities, demands for housing which is a still bleeding industry, etc.)  I am thankful that I have a degree in Engineering that I worked hard for that is in fairly stable demand, and also that I have been employed during this unprecedented economic mess, but it;s easy to see that there are systemic economic problems when my experience as a young adult is the exception. 
Nov 15, 2012 11:02PM

This article can't be real. The "greatest generation" grew up at or after the Great depression!!!!

They did not have any problem with it! We have spoiled our young with everything they WANT! (Not Need)

Nov 15, 2012 11:15PM
Carpe Diem everyone...most of us can't wait until the stars are aligned just so or even for the perfect job that will pay all the bills...being poor alone is far worse then working with your best friend (spouse) to build a better future together.  If you choose wisely, you will always have an advocate to cheer you on and a shoulder to cry on when things don't work out.  Money should not define how we love nor who we love.  If it is, then what we should be asking ourselves is if we really know what "love" is.
Nov 15, 2012 10:52PM
It depends on who you are...if you're all about material things and teaching your kids those same values, then yes...there is a potential problem.  I'm the weirdo that got divorced BECAUSE my ex was all about the money and material things and not being a husband or a father.  Both people have to want the same things and share the same goals for a relationship to work.  With or without the new car.
Nov 15, 2012 11:23PM
Anyone who is a low wage earner has fewer opportunities to get out and meet people.  As a single mother who barely makes ends meet, I haven't had money or time to meet Mr. Right.  I don't even dream of luxuries like vacations.  My child doesn't really know his aunts, uncles or cousins because we live far from them.  Even social events such as volunteering have costs that are beyond many peoples means.  Things need to change in our society, once the dwindling middle class disappears we will be left with a small percentage of the "haves", and huge numbers of the "have nots".
Nov 15, 2012 8:08PM
Absolutely.  It's a precarious world we live in, especially now.
Nov 15, 2012 10:14PM
I don't agree that food will get cheaper when couples get married.  Other expensives possibly, but food?  
Nov 15, 2012 10:10PM
Duh...This article should have been written in 2009.
Nov 15, 2012 11:04PM
Nope, but the word economy is...Im sick of everyone using the word, even the rich complain. It's not the money people are running out of...

It's Time...

Nov 15, 2012 10:28PM
Nov 15, 2012 11:51PM
Look how bad this economy is and has been. Yet young people came out in droves in support of Obama's failed economic policies. One of the biggest reasons relationships fail is based on economics. Families are breaking apart and people committing suicide because they cannot find suitable employment. People can screech and point fingers back and forth but the bottom line is the lack a decent paying jobs. We need to hold all our political leaders responsible for this. They just have not done enough to get this economy rolling again. Could Romney have done better? We will never know that. What we do know is the last four years have swamped many families and the next four years will swamp even more if something is not done to create jobs.
Nov 15, 2012 11:09PM
People, quit making Obama or the President your God, thats the problem. When you put a regular man in charge of your spiritual condition, your screwed. When you worry about what someones doing, they control you.

I have never talked to any US President, I control my God given life and never let any man dictate what I do. I am living the same life I always have. To be honest, taking away Americans credit was a test, Americans have gotten weak. What if it really did get bad, where people were living in tents all around you? It's not even close to that and this Country has already given up. SICKENING.

What determines a strong unity is when folks are just as strong during the tough times...Like a marriage, when one is struggling, what do you do, just sit their and blame each other???

Quit posting comments hoping some man is going to save you, get off your **** and live.

Nov 15, 2012 10:42PM
Definitely I am delaying marriage/children (I don't know if I'll ever afford to have kids)/buying a house, etc. because of financial difficulty. However it is unfair to say that it is "destroying love," as it is perfectly possible to love and not be married (I've been in my relationship for almost 6 years now).
Nov 15, 2012 11:25PM
This has been happening in other countries for years. It was only a matter of time before the economy significantly affected romance & marriage here in the US.
Nov 15, 2012 10:31PM

The ECONOMY is not DESTROYING love....................OBAMA the DIVIDER IN CHIEF IS...............



Find a better reason and I will believe you.

Nov 15, 2012 11:15PM

I did not vote for anyone because I dont want to be responsable for what is about to happen.  Both republicans and dems are walking the same side of the street. Just like most all lawyers walk the same side of the street. Everbody walks their side of the street. The country has been divided.

Nov 16, 2012 2:22AM
Of most of the people I know, the ones making the lowest wages seem to want more kids. They don't seem to have a care in the world. Abortion has also caused many to delay getting married, and look more towards their careers than marriage. Husband and wife choose to work (to follow the "American Dream"), leaving their children to learn from outside the family. "Living together" has become more acceptable in our society. Pulling away from the church has weakened marriage. Our society has welcomed homosexuals to be joined matrimony. In short, morals have gone down the tubes, and marriage is a moral issue, as well as a religious issue. People are becoming more dependent  on our government, more entitled, more self - centered, less responsible. Marriage just gets in the way. Now, there's many things young people will never learn from their parents. Or anybody else.
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.