The Millennial generation is known for doing its own thing, bucking the system and creating trends.
But this outlook on life may be costing Millennials—literally.
A new CNBC report last month found that a record 55 percent of Millennial parents have had children before getting married—compared to just 25 percent of the youngest Baby Boomers who did the same. And that out-of-order decision is wreaking havoc on Millennials' finances.
Religion and culture expert, author and national radio host Dr. Alex McFarland said independent millennials want to chart their own path in life, but they can learn from others who have been down the same road.
"Some—not all—Millennials have the attitude that they will do things their own way and go against the grain when it comes to marriage and raising a family," McFarland said. "But, as many are realizing, pushing aside the plan God has for our lives has real and immediate consequences, namely financial in this case. God designed marriage and family in a very specific way and did so in our best interest. Some Millennials choose to throw away this divine plan, and the results not only hurt themselves but also their children."
New this summer is McFarland's new book, Abandoned Faith: Why Millennials Are Walking Away and How You Can Lead Them Home, co-authored with apologist and evangelist Jason Jimenez. In Abandoned Faith, McFarland, who interacts with tens of thousands of young people each year, 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 they seek to understand what propels their adult children as they begin to come into their own.
The numbers about Millennials and out-of-wedlock children were according to a new analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics' Panel data by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Institute for Family Studies (IFS), which found that "the most financially successful young adults today continue to be those who put marriage before the baby carriage," CNBC reported.
For instance, 86 percent of young people who got married before having kids are among the middle or top third of earners. But on the flipside, just 53 percent who had children before marriage have incomes in the middle or top third, meaning 47 percent of Millennials who had a baby first are considered lower income.
McFarland said the negative financial consequences of these traditionally out-of-order choices aren't the only concern to consider.
"Millennials' overall views of morality—for example, choosing to move in together or have babies before getting married—is perhaps a greater concern than the size of their bank accounts," he said. "This 80-million-strong generation, many of whom don't believe in morality or have set their own moral compass rather than base it on biblical teachings, will be our future business leaders, politicians and teachers. That their moral compass is skewed much differently than previous generations is a grave concern. A world without ethics when these Millennials are in greater power will not be a pretty place. And this is evidence of why we should care deeply about the regaining of lost moral ground."