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Over Half of Millennials Still on Parents’ Cell Phone Plan

Millennnials full buying power will come into effect in 2020 and tip the scales at as much as $1.4 trillion annually.

Millennials. The generation of young adults born between 1982-2000 has earned quite a reputation. Whatever your opinion, it's undeniable that millennials are a sought-after market by brands. With 83.1 million millennials in the US, they account for over one-quarter of the population, are the largest living generation, and harness the greatest buying power at nearly $600 billion annually. Millennials' full buying power will come into effect in 2020 and tip the scales at as much as $1.4 trillion annually, representing 30% of total retail sales.

This generation controls so much of the market, yet represents a contradiction when it comes to smartphones. Millennials feel a deep connection to their smartphones and view them as crucial as their wallets. However, as many as 53% of millennials are still on their parents' cell phone plans, according to one study.

So, what gives? Why are so many young adults in their 20s and even into their late 30s still on their parents' cell phone plans? The answer is more complicated than one expects.

A New Generation

All too often, when the word "millennial" is thrown around, older generations picture an entitled group of young adults looking for handouts. While this harsh view has gained traction in society, the truth is millennials shoulder financial challenges that their parents did not as young adults.

Compared to their parents, millennials earn lower wages than their parents' earnings at the same age. In fact, it's as much as 20 percent lower than their baby boomer parents made. Couple that with the crippling student loan debt that most young adults are saddled with –– something that was practically nonexistent in generations past –– and suddenly the financial landscape of a millennial becomes a little clearer.

Millennials are the first generation that grew up with technology. Older millennials remember a time without technology. Smartphones were nonexistent, and if your mom or dad had a car phone, it was a big deal.

The Family Plan

Millennials saw the rise of the technology age –– they remember dial-up internet, the (now questionable) online chatrooms, playing snake on the early Nokias, and more. They also remember payphones, something you're hard-pressed to find in 2019.

Millennials could get a ride to the movies and use the payphone to call their parents to get picked up. Often, they'd hop on their bike and give mom and dad a call once they arrived at their buddy's house.

And then, one day, as payphones became more scarce and cell phones became the norm, they were handed their first cell phone. For older millennials, that was around age 18 while their younger counterparts received their first cell phone –– notably, not a smartphone –– closer to 15 years old. Sure enough, these high schoolers were handed the phone that had been added to their family plan.

And that's where their line remains today. That same family plan they've been riding since high school. At the time, it only made sense to add a line to Mom and Dad's plan. Back then, you were lucky to get a flip phone –– a Motorola Razr if you were really lucky –– and hopefully an allotment of texts that you tried your best not to go over or you'd surely hear about it.

Then came the smartphone, data plans, college, moving out, heck –– even getting married. But what persists? The family plan.

According to Mel Magazine , "Nearly half of all smartphone owners with adult children over the age of 18 say their kids are still on their cell phone plan. And many of those parents still foot the bill, even though their kids can afford to pay their own way now."

What's Next? Transfer Liability

So, if you are a millennial looking to finally cut ties with your parents' cell plan, or a parent looking to shoo that not-so-baby bird on out of the nest, you have two options.

First, you can choose to remain with the same service provider, transfer billing responsibility to the millennial. The transfer should come without penalties, even if the plan is still under contract since you're not breaking it, but transferring responsibility to a new plan.

More often than not, millennials find themselves on a family plan from one of the "big four" carriers, since these plans predate the launch of newer cell phone providers.





Xfinity Mobile

Choose a New Carrier

Another appealing option for millennials getting (or initiating) the boot from their parents' plan is making a carrier switch. The family plan that dates back to the early-2000s is often grandfathered into data plans that don't exist anymore, and staying with the same carrier could be a costly option. Luckily, most service providers will let you keep the same phone number while offering incentives to make the switch.

If you’re curious about your options when making the switch, Cellfee is here to help. In just a few moments, you’ll have a real time quote from each provider allowing you to compare rates right on the spot. We’ll even help you make an appointment to set up your new plan in store at a date and time that’s convenient for you.

Simply click here to get started with Cellfee.

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