April 16, 2024

Millennials in Crisis: Survey Finds 81% Can’t Afford a Midlife Crisis

Are Millennials a generation in crisis? Millennials are aging. The oldest in the generation is now 43, and the youngest is now 28. With age comes wisdom, but it also often leads to regret, nostalgia, and introspective questions about where people are in life. With the generation quickly approaching “middle age,” many are starting to feel these pressures. 

In a survey of over 1,000 Millennials, we asked the generation to open up about their life experience so far, including how they feel about an impending midlife crisis. Turns out, some believe they’ve already gone through a midlife crisis, while others think this type of crisis is a luxury they can’t afford. 

What is a Life Crisis?

Millennial Life Crisis Experiences - survey by

A life crisis is a moment in time when humans face uncertainty and anxiety about what their current life is like. There are common ones you may think of such as a midlife or quarter-life crisis, but a life crisis isn’t limited to just one period in one’s life. 

So far, 64% of Millennials have experienced a life crisis, with nearly 2 in 5 (39%) experiencing one in 2024. When undergoing this type of crisis, Millennials commonly deal with five types of mental health struggles: 

  1. Anxiety 
  2. Depression
  3. Loss of Purpose
  4. Sadness
  5. Burnout 

“Millennials are experiencing these symptoms for a variety of reasons including but not limited to; growing up with the expectations of moving out at a young age and being self-sufficient without the resources,” explains Dr. Tirrell De Gannes, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with Thriving Center of Psychology. “They’re also making far less money than is necessary to live independently (even if it is more than their parents), and dealing with the proliferation of social media and its effect on mental health through constant comparison.” 

Some of the most common experiences during a life crisis are weight loss or gain. Millennials also report drinking more alcohol, going to therapy, or changing their appearance such as sporting a new haircut or color or wearing a new style of clothes. 

Millennial Midlife Crisis

When it comes to a midlife crisis, some Millennials think they’ve already gone through one! 1 in 10 Millennials shared they experienced a midlife crisis around the age of 34. 

1 in 2 Millennials expect to have a midlife crisis in the future. Gone are the days of midlife crises happening at 50 years old. Most Millennials anticipate it happening around the age of 44. But one major hurdle to this is money and time. 81% of Millennials believe they can’t afford a midlife crisis, and 58% don’t have time for one. 

Delaying Life Milestones

Alt text: Millennial Life Milestones - survey by

Nearly 1 in 2 (49%) Millennials feel trapped by their life. Most feel trapped because of money, life circumstances, themselves, or a compilation of all those things. Statistics show that 70% are not where they thought they’d be at this point in their life. 

“Being told the same old tropes of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, getting married at a young age, buying your own home after getting your “adult” job, etc. leads to feelings of inadequacy,” said Dr. De Gannes. “When most to all of your goals are unreachable or further from reach than they were before, we compare to those that have succeeded on social media, and access to mental health support seems like a distant luxury, it is easy to fall into a feeling of being trapped.”

There are numerous milestones in life that people experience through the course of their lives such as getting married and starting a family. The most common life milestones Millennials have accomplished so far include: 

  1. Earning a graduate degree
  2. Getting a credit card
  3. Moving out of their parents’ house 
  4. Purchasing a car
  5. Getting a pet 

However, 62% of Millennials have delayed major life milestones because of financial reasons, and 30% have delayed major milestones because of mental health reasons. At this point in their lives, 62% of Millennials do not feel financially stable and 38% do not feel mentally stable. 

When it comes to the Millennial experience, many do not feel like older generations empathize with them. According to survey data, 87% of Millennials do not believe older generations accurately understand the challenges they face, and 2 in 3 have experienced criticism or judgment from other generations about their lifestyle choices or values. 

“Younger generations often feel that older generations do not empathize because they often do not,” describes Dr. De Gannes. “It is difficult for generations to recognize that every new generation has new challenges and resources and empathy is best with shared experience, therefore it’s harder for empathy to be shown.”

Midlife Crisis Redefined

Alt text:  What Millennials expect for a midlife crisis - survey by

So, what will the standard midlife crisis look like for Millennials? Millennials ranked the most common experiences they expect to go through as a generation during a midlife crisis. First off is a career change, followed by attending therapy or changing their appearance. Millennials also expect their generation to make some impulsive or expensive purchases and drink more alcohol. 

When going through a midlife crisis, one stereotypical decision people make is to buy a car. While 36% of Millennials expect their generation to buy a sports car during their midlife crisis, 25% think their generation will make a more environmentally friendly purchase and go for an electric vehicle. 

While the idea of a midlife crisis is often seen as something negative, that doesn’t have to be the case. When dealing with a midlife crisis, or any crisis, this can lead to positive changes in your life and help you grow personally if you have the right support system to lead you through it. Family, friends, therapists, and others are here to help you navigate life. Remember there’s not one set path in life. 


In April 2024, we surveyed 1,014 Millennials ranging in age from 28 to 43 with an average age of 35. 48% were men, 49% were women, and 3% were non-binary. 

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected].

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When using this data and research, please attribute by linking to this study and citing 

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