The New Quarter Life Crisis Fueled by Financial Concerns

According to a recent report by BodyLogicMD, 2 in 3 people ages 20-39 report experiencing a quarter life crisis. But what causes a quarter life crisis? As you can see below, most factors have to do with financial and career struggles.


Lower than Desired Earnings (69.3%)

As employers increase requirements for applicants, they often fail to increase salaries. This leads to many unhappy employees. Graduates with little experience often feel they have no choice but to accept less than desirable salaries in order to gain employment. Over time resentment can build, leading to feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness.

Dissatisfaction with Finances (68.4%)

Overall financial dissatisfaction is a major factor in the new quarter life crisis. In previous generations, college graduates could usually count on a good job, little or no college debit, and the ability to pay for expenses with some left over for travel or hobbies. Now, many college graduates have debt, lower than expected earnings, and increasing living costs.

Not Pursuing Desired Career (47.9%)

Career satisfaction is important to overall happiness. Unfortunately, many young people are not working towards their desired career. Even when obtaining degree in one’s desired area of study, graduates often end up in different fields due to desperation to find any job that will pay the bills.

Excessive Debt (44.5%)

Higher education costs are increasing, putting more students at risk of excessive debt. This debt hangs over like a black cloud, making it difficult to plan for financial goals like buying a home or saving for retirement. And unlike other forms of debt, it cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.

Insufficient Travel Experiences (42.1%)

Although not directly related to finances, lack of funds can prevent travel. Also, most employers offer very little vacation time (particularly in the US), leaving few options for travel. With social media, it can be especially depressing to see others on nice trips while you go to a job where you’re overworked and underpaid.

More Successful Friends (39.2%)

Comparison with others is inevitable, especially when others’ successes are plastered over social media. Having more successful friends can make one feel inadequate and depressed. This can lead to isolation from friends, fearing comparison and feelings of shame.

Inability to Buy a Home (34.1%)

Buying a home has long been the American dream. But this dream is out of reach for many younger people. Housing costs are increasing and salaries are not keeping pace. The millennial generation may also be basing their expectations on their parents’ generation, when housing was more affordable and salaries were relatively better for college graduates. As a result of rising housing costs and lower than expected salaries, many millennials are not buying homes or having kids.

In addition to these stress factors, those in their twenties and thirties experience pressure to wed and have kids (both costly life events). Combine insufficient earnings with pressure to spend money on major life events and you have a recipe for a quarter life crisis.

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