Mom Takes Her Adult Son Apartment Hunting & Realizes There Is No Way He Can Afford To Live On His Own — ‘Millennials Are Not Lazy’

She was shocked to learn just how expensive it is to both apply for and rent an apartment.

Young man upset about finances Kmpzzz / Shutterstock

It's no secret that the cost of living has risen exponentially over the last several years, causing many Americans to scramble to manage their finances, seek affordable housing, and adjust their budgets to accommodate basic necessities. For young adults, especially those straight out of college, this means it's nearly impossible to acquire the necessary funds to live independently.

Such was the case for a mom named Jess, who explained during an appearance on "The Drew Barrymore Show" that, while helping her adult son find an apartment, she was astonished by how unrealistically expensive rent prices have become.


She took her son apartment hunting and realized that there was no way he could afford to live on his own.

"I was super proud of my kids — I still am very proud of my kids. But my son just moved back from college, and he said, 'Well, I'm just going to stay with you for about two months. I'm going to save up my money, and then I'm gonna get a place to live,'" Jess recalled. 

An ambitious plan that should've been easy for a college grad to accomplish, but unfortunately, that was not the case. Even Jess agreed that her son's plan sounded "reasonable enough" and was confident that he'd be able to find his own place soon. 


However, she was in for a major reality check when she went with him to look for apartments in their area.

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Jess soon realized that even one-bedroom studio apartments were extremely out of his budget as a recent college graduate making $19 an hour.


"It wasn't just that he couldn't afford the apartment; these apartments were asking for three to four times more than what you make ... just to qualify," she added. "Then the amount of fees that you had to pay, that were non-refundable by the way. Some of them were upwards of $250 ... to apply for this apartment and not even be guaranteed you were gonna get the apartment."

And her son wasn't the only one struggling. Jess received a call from her eldest daughter, who was complaining that her husband was going to have to quit his job to take care of their kids because of how expensive childcare was. They were spending more on daycare than what he was earning. 

"So we can't say millennials are just lazy," she concluded, "because they're working their butt off."

@yourtango The math IS mathing: Boomers really DID have it easier than subsequent generations. #genz #genx #millennial #boomer #math #costofliving @Andra B ♬ original sound - YourTango

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The majority of Gen-Z adults have admitted that they can't afford to leave their parents' house. 

According to a January 2024 report by Intuit Credit Karma that polled 1,249 people age 18 and older, nearly one-third, or 31%, of Generation Z adults live at home with parents because they can’t afford to buy or rent their own space. It doesn't help that rent prices have risen significantly as well.

The monthly cost for a one-bedroom apartment across the U.S. bumped up to $1,487, a 0.3% increase from February 2024. The price of a typical two-bedroom apartment also jumped 0.5% to $1,847, according to a new report by Zumper, a real estate data site. Similarly, a report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University found that in 2022, as rents spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic, a record half of U.S. renters paid more than 30% of their income for rent and utilities. Nearly half of those people were severely cost-burdened, paying more than 50% of their income.

@that1crazy72 Its no wonder there is a mental health crisis amoung the younger generation..and to make matters worse most cant afford to get treated and if they do they are told to “get a better job” what happened to the middle class just wanting to make w decent living? #housingcrisis #mentalhealth #americandream #rent #longervideos #howtoretire ♬ original sound - That1crazy72

This is one of the major reasons why we're seeing more households with two or more adult generations in recent years, according to a Pew Research Center report. Now, 25% of young adults live in a multigenerational household, up from just 9% five decades ago.  


It shouldn't be viewed as wrong for college graduates and young adults to choose to stay at home for as long as possible while they navigate the harsh economic realities of adulthood in this day and age. Financial independence has now become more of a pipe dream than an achievable goal, and it's disheartening that many young adults — after spending years (and thousands of dollars) in school — are now finding themselves stuck in this endless cycle of financial insecurity.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.