Gaining financial independence is difficult for many people especially young adults who are used to having their parents take care of their financial needs.
Most young adults experience living on their own for the first time in college. Rent, lights, cable, insurance and gas add up at the beginning of each month. When money runs out, a lot of students call home to their parents.
Kiara Eley, a senior elementary student from Jacksonville , said the money she gets from school is all the money she has to live off of. She depends on her mother financially to make it through college.
“I’m still not financially independent,” Eley said. “When I need something, the first person I call is my mom.”
Although she works full time during the summer, Eley believes she doesn’t have time to work during the school year and still be successful in the classroom.
Tuition increases and high unemployment rates have made it difficult for students to gain financial independence as quickly as previous generations.
The economic downfall has slowed down students like Fred Jackson, who entered FAMU as a freshman in 2003. When times got difficult, Jackson had to make adjustments to his lifestyle to maintain his independence.
“I started taking less classes so I would have more time to work and take care of my expenses,” he said.
Although it took him nearly eight years to earn his undergraduate degree, Jackson said he’s proud of his decision because he never had to ask his parents to help out with his expenses.
By slowing his degree process down, Jackson was also able to save enough money to start paying for graduate school.
Gaining financial independence from parents can extend beyond college. One in two new college graduates is jobless or underemployed, according to the Washington Post.
Entry-level jobs have turned into unpaid internships for most college graduates. Instead of going straight into the workforce, graduates move back home and save money so they’ll be able to support themselves financially when they decide to live on their own.
Jackson wanted to make sure that didn’t happen post-graduation. He said not returning home was his motivation to pace himself.
“I worked as hard as I did because I wanted to be financially secure before and after college,” he said.
Eley plans to graduate in May 2013 and is already preparing to start supporting herself financially.
“I’ve already been researching jobs,” she said. “At the top of next year, I will start applying to them so I can have something lined up when I leave.”