January 21, 2019

Why Your Adult Child Is Still On Your Phone Plan

“Nearly every time I’ve visited home over the past few years, the same subject is brought up: the fact that my dad still pays my phone bill. It’s not really a point of contention, and never is my tenuous status on the Jennings Verizon family plan actually in jeopardy. It’s more like a running joke, if we define the word “joke” as “a fact that is mostly neutral.”

But while I do feel a bit guilty about this — I could theoretically afford it if I had to — I absolutely dread the day I’m told to go down to the Verizon store and get a plan of my own. And so over Thanksgiving, I struck a deal: Because my older sister had stayed on my parents’ plan until she got married, I decided that the same should be true for me.

Fortunately, that will not be happening for a long while. But even if I were getting married tomorrow, I wouldn’t be the only millennial who has achieved many of the markers of financial independence yet still enjoys the benefits of their parents’ phone plan. In fact, it wouldn’t even be close.

Today, tons of adults in their 20s and 30s — around 53 percent, according to one study — still linger on the same cellphone plans they’ve been on since high school or middle school, the ones their parents signed up for in the 2000s when kids and teens owning personal cellphones became standard. And despite the fact that they’ve moved on in other ways — covering their own bills, paying off student loans, contributing to retirement accounts, getting married, even having children — both parents and the adult children whose data usage they’re paying for are reluctant to change the status quo.”

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