It’s been called “the success sequence.”
That’s the order young people should reach major life milestones if they want to increase their odds of financial stability and success.
Here what the success sequence looks like: Get at least a high school education, work full-time, get married, have children – in that order.
Sadly, a new analysis of federal data finds that that’s not the order many millennials are doing things – and they’re paying the price.
Research from the American Enterprise Institute and the Institute for Family Studies finds that 55 percent of 28-to 34-year-old millennial parents had their first child before marriage.
It also shows that millennials who have chosen the traditional route of marriage before childrearing are the ones having the most financial success.
From the study:
“The vast majority of millennials who married before having any children are now steering clear of poverty and appear to be headed toward realizing the American dream. Additionally, 95 percent of millennials who married first are not poor, compared to 72 percent who had children first.”
It’s important to note that “even millennials from low-income families are more likely to flourish if they married before having children,” as do millennials from racial and ethnic minorities.
In fact, “marrying before children more than doubles young adults’ odds of being in the middle or top income tier” after adjusting for various factors like education, childhood family income, employment status, race/ethnicity, and sex.
All in all, the study found that 97 percent of millennials who followed the success sequence were not poor by the time they reached their “prime adult years” (which the study defined as ages 28 to 34). You can read the executive summary and the full report online.
It’s important that young people, lawmakers, voters, and community leaders know about the importance of achieving life’s milestones in the order that will lead to success. I hope you’ll help spread the word!