With More Millennials Still Living at Home, Dr. Alex McFarland Speaks to Parents and Their Adult Children in New Book, ‘Abandoned Faith’
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—As parents, church leaders and business executives try to figure out millennials, a starting point may be the challenges this young generation encounters—not the least of which is financial.
Religion and culture expert, national radio host and author Dr. Alex McFarland (www.AlexMcFarland.com) addresses “Struggles Millennials Face” in Chapter 5 of his new book Abandoned Faith: Why Millennials Are Walking Away and How You Can Lead Them Home,” co-written with apologist and evangelist Jason Jimenez.
In “Abandoned Faith,” McFarland explores why millennials are leaving the church, instructs how those who love millennials can bring them back, and offers the hope of Christ to parents, especially as their adult children struggle financially.
“Though raised in a struggling economy, many millennials have grown up expecting to start with more and earn more in adult life,” McFarland writes in “Abandoned Faith.” “Financial literacy has been a struggle for a majority of millennials. Negative fallout from the Great Recession took a toll on them in a number of ways, perhaps the most significant being a challenging job market. Younger millennials, ages 18-28, are still developing mentally. Emerging adulthood describes the stage where most millennials are still developing their independence—professionally, financially, culturally or prospectively. They are often still finding themselves in their twenties, and while they are experiencing struggles with money here on Earth, they are walking away from their Heavenly Father, too.”
McFarland cites results from a 2014 TD Ameritrade survey that revealed the following:
- 76 percent of young millennials (ages 15 to 24) said they know little or nothing about how to invest.
- Nearly half (47 percent) of Americans this age believe that a savings account, earning minimal interest, is the best way to prepare for retirement.
- Only 17 percent of those ages 15 to 24 said they feel that the stock market is the best way to grow their money.
The Pew Research Center also notes millennials are “the first [generation] in the modern era to have higher levels of student loan debt, poverty and unemployment, and lower levels of wealth and personal income than their two immediate predecessor generations,” McFarland reminds readers in “Abandoned Faith.”
Likewise, a new survey from the U.S. Census Bureau, released just this month, titled “The Changing Economics and Demographics of Young Adulthood: 1975–2016,” found that while most Americans believe that educational and economic accomplishments are extremely important milestones of adulthood, marriage and parenthood rank low. Just over half of Americans view marrying and having children as not very important in order to become an adult. The survey also found:
- Young people are delaying marriage, but most still eventually tie the knot. In the 1970s, 8 in 10 people married by the time they turned 30. Today, not until the age of 45 have 8 in 10 people married.
- More young people today live in their parents’ home than in any other arrangement: 1 in 3 young people, or about 24 million 18-to 34-year-olds, lived in their parents’ home in 2015.
- In 2005, the majority of young adults lived independently in their own household, which was the predominant living arrangement in 35 states. A decade later, by 2015, the number of states where the majority of young people lived independently fell to just six.
McFarland says that these marriage, family and residential choices may be largely due to monetary reasons.
“While previous generations were, on average, age 26 when they earned the median wage, millennials don’t earn the median wage until an average age of 30,” he says. “Millennials have responded in a variety of ways. Some have moved back home with mom and dad. Others have struggled with discouragement and depression. Still others remain optimistic, working multiple jobs and using creative means to make rent and other life expenses. Despite a negative financial situation among the majority of millennials, their optimism is often noted as high.
“It’s important that parents not only gain insight into millennial values regarding money struggles, but also discover how their sons and daughters can better address personal financial issues,” McFarland continues. “In this way, they’ll be equipped to better understand and assist their children in positive ways.”
Well-known author and cold-case detective J. Warner Wallace has words of high praise of “Abandoned Faith;” “If you’re like me, you’re aware of the problem: young Christians often walk away from the Church in their high-school and college years. Jason Jimenez and Alex McFarland have written Abandoned Faith in an effort to do something about it. They’ve been working with millennials for years, and they’ve written a resource to help the Church appreciate the challenge, understand the nature of those who are leaving, and begin to consider an effective response. Abandoned Faith is an important book. It will help you understand what is at stake and what you can do about it.”
Wallace, also an adjunct professor of Apologetics at Biola University, and author of “Cold-Case Christianity,” “Cold-Case Christianity for Kids” and “God’s Crime Scene,” recently released his own new book, “Forensic Faith.”
To book Dr. Alex McFarland for interviews or receive a review copy of “Abandoned Faith,” contact Beth Harrison at 610-584-1096, ext. 104, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, or Deborah Hamilton at 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096, ext. 102.