(KIMT) – It’s a dream shared by many people: Meeting that special someone, falling in love and getting married. But that dream is changing.
According to the Pew Research Center, in the 1950s, the average age to tie the knot was 23 for both men and woman. Now it’s 27 for women and 29 for men.
The millennial generation is defined as those born after 1980, and the first generation to come of age in the new millennium. That’s generally anyone currently in their 20s to mid-30s. And millennials seem to have a different view when it comes to marriage.
“It tells you how many days the wedding is in,” said Alexis Tieskotter as she scrolled through her wedding website.
Tieskotter and her fiancé Derek Bartness are busy planning their upcoming nuptials.
“It’s going to be a fall wedding because neither one of us does well in the heat,” Tieskotter explained.
Some might say their “I do’s” are a bit overdue. The couple has been together for nearly seven years. But they have their reasons for waiting to walk down the aisle.
“Financial reasons. I wanted to get settled down and have a house,” said Bartness.
“Just to be stable with our lives. It was a lot easier to wait a little bit longer instead of rushing right into it. Because then after six years, you really get to know a person,” added Tieskotter.
Bartness and Tieskotter are part of a growing trend. Millennials are waiting longer to get married than previous generations. According to a 2013 study by the Pew Research Center, only 26 percent of millennials are getting hitched between the ages of 18 and 32. That’s compared to 36 percent of Generation X, 48 percent of baby boomers and 65 percent of the Silent Generation.
One of main reasons people say they’re waiting: Money. Specifically, paying off student loans.
“They are facing dual student loan issues, where maybe their parents only had one set of student loans to deal with. I also think that they’re more expensive,” said Angie Eggum, a financial advisor at Edward Jones Investments.
Eggum said there are some simple steps people can take to make sure they’re financially ready to say “I Do.”
“First, get a pen and paper, write down what your expenses are, what you’re spending your money on, what your situation is today. Then second, determine where you want to be. Third, determine if you can get there — is this a realistic goal of mine going forward? And then fourth, how do I get there?” said Eggum.
But it’s not all about the Benjamins. There are lots of other reasons Millennials are waiting to wed. Some want to focus on their careers and others just want to make sure they’re emotionally ready.
“They just want to be more set. They don’t want to go through some of the struggles their parents went through. They want, like everybody, they want their marriage to last,” said Teresa Anderson-Krull, a licensed clinical independent social worker who provides marriage counseling to couples.
And society seems more accepting of those who live together or start a family before getting married.
“They’re not feeling real pressure to get married if they do get pregnant or if they’re living together. A lot of times they think maybe if we live together we’ll figure out if it’s going to work or not,” Anderson-Krull explained.
“You don’t really know a person until you live with them,” said Bartness.
“Yes, then you get to figure out all the weird little things that they do when nobody is watching,” added Tieskotter.
They have a house and a dog, and now, after nearly seven years, Bartness and Tieskotter are ready to begin their lives as a married couple.
“I’m really excited about having a family,” Tieskotter said.
And they say it’s worth the wait.
“You already have a foundation to go off of,” Tieskotter explained.
It’s not just that millennials are waiting longer to get married. Some don’t ever plan to tie the knot.
The Pew Research Center says in 2012, 20 percent of Americans older than 25 had never been married. That’s compared to 9 percent in 1960.
Another reason millennials give for waiting to wed is that many of them are paying for their own nuptials. This year, the average cost of a wedding is more than $26,000.