In a new study that was released by CreditCards.com, 74 percent of parents with adult children, 18 years or older, are still continuing to help them financially. Moreover, 84 percent are helping them with living percent while another 70 percent are helping them living expenses. The most common expense that parents are helping with is student loans along with auto bills, medical debt, and credit card debt.
However, although done with good intentions, especially with many of the economic difficulties we are facing as far as the cost of higher education and housing, it can ultimately lead to an inverse narrative. With the parents helping their kids out with their financial burdens, they, in turn will have less saved for retirement, leading to their kids having to take care of them.
The first step to breaking away from this habit is to have a serious yet clear conversation with your children. You obviously don’t want to cut the cord right away and would like to give your children the time to make up the difference that you will no longer be providing. But this could go on indefinitely if you don’t address it with a clear strategy. Start with a discussion, highlighting your concerns for saving enough for retirement and that you want to help them become more financially independent.
Next, you need to establish healthy limitations to the sot of aid that you are willing to provide. Over time, the goal is to have them start shouldering more and more of their expenses. You can incrementally wean them off over the course of several months, all the while being there to help them in finding new ways to make up the difference they will be missing out when you cease aiding them.
Consider and address any conflicts
Aid that is being given to one of your children could lead to relationship issues with their siblings. According to the article “Giving money to adult children could trigger your financial ruin,” to avoid such conflicts within the family, you should bring them all together and have a conversation about it. It could mean taking a step back in the short term according to Lorie Konish, author of the above-mentioned article, but in the long run, it will help strengthen those relationships.
Establish a plan
Setting up financial goals with a clear strategy can ensure that the conversation does not get lost with time. Everyone gets complacent, and it is easy to let this fall to the wayside. By composing a plan in writing with achievable and well-outlined milestones, you can help yourself in preparing for retirement but also make sure your kids will become completely financially independent. It will allow everyone to live their lives to the fullest, and ensure that you do not fall into a pattern of co-dependence that goes both ways. If you are unsure how to achieve this, talk to a financial professional to see if they have any ideas to help your kids wean off of your contributions.