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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 10:31PM

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



Find a better reason and I will believe you.

Nov 15, 2012 10:28PM
no better time to get together its cheaper when you divide by 2
Nov 15, 2012 10:28PM
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 10:14PM
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 8:08PM
Absolutely.  It's a precarious world we live in, especially now.
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