Many Americans Are Saying Goodbye to Traditional Milestones

A majority of Americans (61%)  are delaying traditional life milestones and following alternative paths in favor of financial security, according to the new study, “The New American Milestones,” by Life Happens, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating consumers about the importance of life insurance and other related products for sound financial planning.

The new survey found that the top delayed life milestones include saving for retirement (54%), getting married (53%), and having children (50%). Not surprisingly, the payoff for delaying these milestones is great. Of those who’ve delayed a traditional life milestone, 74% have reported being more financially stable as a result.

The change in life priorities is tied to emotion, with about half of those surveyed (48%) saying they have personal insecurities – from financial insecurities to where they are in their careers–which have made them put the brakes on reaching certain milestones. An additional 47% say that they are saddled with the responsibility of paying off student loans, and a quarter (25%) say that they are putting their careers first.

While Americans are delaying key life milestones, it doesn’t mean they’re not worried about the repercussions. In fact, 77% of those surveyed say they are concerned about putting off certain life milestones.

The top five delayed milestone worries ranked in order of priority are:

  1. Retirement (43%)
  2. Buying a home (35%)
  3. Having children (32%)
  4. Getting married (32%)
  5. Long-term financial planning (28%)

Following a nontraditional life path has not changed what matters when it comes to relationships with loved ones. A whopping 72% of those surveyed say that financial security is an important act of love — with men more likely to agree that financial security is a genuine act of love then women – 80% vs. 64%.


“While traditional milestones are no longer making or breaking what’s important in life, financial security for you and your loved ones is a necessity,” said Faisa Stafford, President and CEO of Life Happens.

“Our study shows that 54% of people have had to deal with unexpected life events, which have impacted their long-term financial planning, bringing to the surface the reality that our life’s path can change in a second. During this season of love, we’d like to remind consumers about the value of life insurance–not for you, but the ones you love; it is a critical tool to financially protect your loved ones, whatever happens in life and no matter what life path you choose.”

In support of this message, Life Happens has launched its annual Insure Your Love campaign focused on motivating people to purchase life insurance to protect their loved ones financially.