Almost every time I go home in recent years, the same subject is mentioned: the fact that my father still pays my phone bill. It's not really a matter of contention, and my precarious family status Jennings Verizon is never really compromised. It's more of a common joke if we define the word "joke" as "essentially neutral."
But even if I feel a bit guilty about it – I could theoretically allow it if I had to – I absolutely dread the day I was told to go to Verizon store and get my own plan. And so for Thanksgiving, I made a deal: as my older sister had stayed true to my parents' diet until she got married, I decided that the same was true for me.
Fortunately, this will not happen before long. But even if I married tomorrow, I would not be the only millennium to have reached many milestones of financial independence while enjoying the benefits of their parents' phone plan. In fact, it would not even be close.
Today, tons of adults in their twenties and thirties – about 53%, according to a study – Always linger on the same cell phone plans they use from high school or college, those that their parents enrolled in the 2000s, when children and teens with a personal cell phone became the norm. And despite the fact that they have moved on – cover their own bills, pay off their student loans, contribute to their retirement account, get married, even have kids – parents and kids for whom they pay for them. Data use is reluctant to change the status quo.
This provides a very useful point for anyone trying to argue that the Millennials are particularly lazy. A The 2015 issue of Glamor declared that it was "uh, do not ok if you are 26 years old and your parents are still paying your cell phone bill. But according to many 26 year olds, it's more than good. For some people in precarious financial situations, it saves their lives. And in almost all cases, people were well aware of the privilege of being able to count on a family that could afford to pay the bill.
It's also a perennial subject – in 2015, Slate declared that it was quite good to stay in your parents' phone package from age 20, while in 2016 NerdWallet conducted a study it proved that the practice really saved money for everyone In 2017, Mel Magazine came to the same conclusion.
By talking to 18 financially independent young women between the ages of 22 and 36 and still on their parents' phone plan, it became clear that even though the individual reasoning was somewhat different, the same themes kept bubbling. Some were obvious (it's cheaper for everyone to have multiple lines on one bill), but others do not – like the many women who have described the desire to pay their phone bill, their parents still want them see as "their little girl. "Others (me included) did not even know that their phone bill was costing their parents, while some were actively trying to evade the family plan and cut the last cord.
Why the telephone companies make life easier for millennia
The simplest answer is that, in most cases, for those using one of the four major telephony operators – Verizon, AT & T, Sprint and T-Mobile – having multiple phone lines on one single invoice makes the entire invoice less expensive than if each user had their own individual line. Almost everyone I talked to talked about this as one of the main reasons they were still on their parents' phone bill.
Why do these companies provide benefits to family plans? "For carriers, it is essential that many people do business with them, even if they lose a few dollars compared to what they would earn if everyone had an individual plan," says Chris Welch, Editor-in-Chief at The Bord . Each line is another customer who does not sell his business to a competitor.
"It's cheaper if we all adhere to the same plan. That's what the Verizon guy told us – I think. "
Even if people wanted to leave their family plans, however, the terms often stipulate that the price for the rest of the remaining users on the plan will increase. And in some cases, the phone packages are so confusing that no one even knows what is okay. Kofie Yeboah, a 23-year-old social media producer based in Washington, DC, said, "It's cheaper if we all join the same plan. That's what the Verizon guy told us – I think. It was long [ago]. "The people I talked to said that their family plan was about $ 50 per line on average, with some plans providing four or five lines in excess of $ 300.
There is also the fact that people are upgrade their phones much less frequently than in the past. Until recently, most smart phones in the United States were subsidized with a two-year contract. When companies like Apple or Samsung have launched a new phone, the technological improvements have generally been considerable.
But now that none of these things are more the case: the major carriers do not offer two-year contracts and the new iPhone is probably not so different from the two years: you spend more than 1,000 dollars for a marginal amount. A cooler is not an investment that people are willing to do. (For proof, simply consider Apple's stock recently fallen.) The purchase of a new phone used to re-evaluate the details of the carrier contract, but now is an event that happens much less often.
A woman, presumably with a job, who might also not pay her own mobile phone bill.Getty Images / Westend61
But "family plans" do not provide any rule that groups of people sharing the same phone bill must be linked, which is why many people have banded together with groups of friends to share the cost of a single bill. phone. Ashley, a 26-year-old independent consultant in Philadelphia, who asked me not to use her last name, said that a dozen friends had asked her to create a family plan, but had chosen to stay with his parents. "I had my share of tracking down the utility payments of various roommates and I did not want to open another path to the possibility of dissolving the friendship," she says.
Millennia are struggling and phone bills are expensive
The other relatively obvious explanation is that phone packages, especially those of an individual line on an invoice, can be very expensive. Although all the people I spoke with were essentially financially independent, the potential cost of a phone bill was far from a useless expense, especially for freelancers and people. without a stable income.
Jessica Suerth, a 23-year-old journalist in Phoenix, pays her rent, food and gasoline herself, but says everything is useful. "I would like to be completely financially independent now, but I'm trying hard to save money so that everything goes well in the long run," she says. "My parents do not bother me."
"I absolutely do not have the extra $ 53 a month for now"
Chelsea Howard, a 25-year-old freelance writer from Philadelphia, echoes Suerth and points to the need for a solid phone plan for her career. "I really can not afford to have a phone myself, but it's crucial for my adaptation to freelance writing," she says. "I am always writing on it when I go out or I use it to look for a new independent job. But I certainly do not have the extra $ 53 a month for now. "
"To be honest, I did not make any changes [to my phone plan] because I'm not saving money at the moment, and if they're willing to pay for it, I'm willing to let them, "says Morgan Randall, a 28-year-old phlebotomist from her parents in Seattle.
And while most of the people I spoke with mentioned some degree of guilt or embarrassment about letting their parents pay for them: "I feel weird! I am 31 years old! But clearly not weird enough to request to be kidnapped, "said Tiffany Yannetta, editor-in-chief of Brooklyn, formerly of In prey – others have argued the practice more and more common.
"I do not think people under 30 should be embarrassed to get some financial help wherever they can get it," says Josh, 26, who did not want his name family be used. "Employment and housing markets do not make urban life particularly easy, so any financial cushion you can get should be welcome."
A study conducted in 2017 on data from the Federal Reserve, for example, showed that Millennials earned on average 20% less than baby boomers at the same age.
"I feel weird! I'm 31 years old … But clearly not weird enough to request to delete."
In addition, there is always someone who has more money than you and continues to mock his parents. Aisha Hakim, Artistic Director of San Francisco aged 30, was excluded from her parents' phone package because they could not afford it at the time. She now belongs to her husband's parents.
"To be financially independent of my family so young, it seems to me to be an incredible luxury," she says. "It's a minor relief from the constant onslaught of adulthood. My brother-in-law is a lawyer doing twice what [my husband] done, and he's still on it. "
Phone plans often evoke all kinds of feelings
However, most of the time, people expressed gratitude to their parents for paying the phone bill, and many of those who wrote to me were afraid of looking like a "spoiled millennium". They knew that they were fortunate to have additional small financial support, because many others do not do it or pay for their parents' phone.
"When I was a teenager, I found no reason to convince my parents of the need to buy something for me," says Augustus Rachels, a 22-year-old motion graphic artist from Tampa. , in Florida. "I'm happy that they make my life a little easier while still feeling guilty because I'm taking money that I do not need to take, and that so few people have the lucky to have their parents who support them financially in the same way as mine. . "
This millennial man might be able to afford adorable trips to national parks, but his parents will not charge him the phone bill.Getty Images / Westend61
Adrienne Girard, editor-in-chief of 36-year-old Oprah's Magazine's O magazine, says that even if she sends her mother $ 50 a month for her share of the bill, she still feels guilty about it. "It's a little embarrassing to be still on my mother's plan, but I'm really going to do everything in my power to get another bill when there is the mortgage, the property taxes, all the insurance , cable, EZ Pass, utilities, credit cards?
Since Adrienne's mother does not have Venmo, she uses PayPal to pay her back, but for the millennia whose parents are deeply skeptical about payment applicationsthey had to find solutions to express their thanks. "My mother does not have Venmo or any other way for me to send money digitally," says Sarah ElSayed, a 25-year-old Brooklyn woman with a cannabis-focused creative marketing agency. . "I try to compensate for this differently, for example by buying lunch when we see each other and bringing different types of CBD products to experiment with."
Still others say that not only do their parents make it difficult to pay them back, but that their parents as pay their phone bill. "I've probably tried three times to go down [my dad’s] plan and get mine, "says Diana, a 29-year-old Los Angeles-based social media manager who asked me not to include her last name. "He is very angry [and says] he can take care of it. Part of me feels like it's his way of thinking that he's always taking care of his "little girl". "
"In a way, I feel that for my parents, keeping me on this plane is the last metaphorical link that binds me to their" little girl, "echoes Rose Collins, a restaurant marketing professional. of 25 years in Washington. "Same thing for me: I'm a full-fledged adult, but I'd like to strangely have that little flap of being a" dependent "kid in me."
"I guess I'll have to get out when they die"
Josh Kelly, a 26-year-old public relations executive in Virginia, said she had an agreement with her parents to pay her share of the phone bill, but they did not claim it. "I asked my parents if they were sending them the money I owed them, but they launched the box saying, 'We can take care of the month. next & # 39. They usually say that it does not matter and that they are happy to help me. "
There is also the difference in value that millennials and their older parents grant by making phone calls in the first place. Oscar (his real name), 25, works in technology in Budapest, while his mother lives in Oslo. He explains that there is a big difference in generation between the one – hour phone calls made by his parents to their friends and the fact that he? I never think of calling a friend. "The main reason I'm still on the phone with my parents is that they see it as a form of vital communication, which I do not have," he says. "They know, rightly, that if it were not for them, I simply would not have a phone that I could call outside of work."
So, if all these parents and millennials they support are totally calm with the system as it is now, what is stopping the millennials from staying forever on the phone plans of their parents? For those who do not have an official arrangement, like my parents' mutual agreement about my wedding day as expiry date, this could be the case.
According to Mark Krugman, a 34-year-old IT manager in Columbus, Ohio, the answer is probably yes. "I guess I will have to get out when they die," he says, "but I hope it will be decades in the future."
For a millennium, however, the time is near. MJ, a 27-year-old statistician based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, said that during the Christmas dinner, his parents had declared that after 2019, he and his brother and sister, married and having children, should start paying their fair share. of the phone bill.
That does not bother him, though. "My father has retired and my mother is not far from retirement herself," he says. "They started taking a lot of holidays with friends. The savings on the telephone bill ($ 1,800 per year) will greatly contribute to this goal. It's time for them to have fun, because the kids are doing well. "