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'Generation Alpha' Babies Arrive With Caregiving Obligations

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The children in the generation born starting around 2012 may not yet have a widely accepted generational name, or many permanent teeth, but may have a job already penciled in: providing financial support for their Millennial parents.

About 47% of Millennial caregivers who have children, or plan to have children, say they expect those children to help pay for their long-term care, according to survey results released recently by Northwestern Mutual.

(Related: Americans Are Spending More but Planning Less for Caregiving: Northwestern Mutual)

Millennial caregivers are much more likely than members of earlier generations to count on children for help with paying for long-term care.

Only about 16% of the Baby Boomer caregivers surveyed, and 35% of the Generation X caregivers surveyed, are counting on their children to help pay for long-term care, according to Northwestern Mutual.

Northwestern Mutual hired an outside firm to conduct an online survey earlier this year. The sample included 1,400 caregivers, including 638 current caregivers and 835 past caregivers.

Generation Names

Here are the generational definitions the survey team used:

  • Mature: Born 1945 or earlier.
  • Baby Boomer: 1946-1964.
  • GenXer: 1965-1980.
  • Millennial: 1981-1996.

The Northwestern Mutual survey team did not use specific generational names for people born after 1997.

The Pew Research Center defines a member of Generation Z as someone born from 1997 through 2011.

Mark McCrindle, a demographer and TEDx speaker, has conducted a campaign to have the children born from around 2010 through 2024 classified as members of “Generation Alpha.”

Most of the Millennials’ children will be members of Generation Alpha.

Generation Alpha Financial Support Expectations

The Millennial caregivers surveyed say they expect their children to meet about 45% of their future financial support needs.

Boomers and GenXers who say they expect their children to help are hoping the children will meet 36% of financial support needs.

— Read The Latest News on Caregiving Costs, Millennial Wants and America’s Financial Fitness, on ThinkAdvisor.

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