Parents will confirm that raising children is a job with no end date. Some parents continue to provide financial support for their children into adulthood. My mom helped me to pay for my master’s degree when I was 21 years old and accepted into the college of my dream. Parents have done this for many children.
Savings.com’s 2023 survey confirms that many parents spend over $1400 per month on their children, even if they are adults with disabilities.
Is this kind of financial assistance always the best idea? Both a certified financial planner as well as a licensed therapist with experience in the field share their opinions.
Parents support their adult children
Parents may support their children for many different reasons. Disability and the desire to see them reach major milestones in life are two reasons. Shelmeshia Hills-Brown is the CEO and social worker of Wholistic Resolutions LLC, located in Chesapeake Virginia. She works with parents that financially support adult children. She sees a lot of parents who are helping their adult children pay for college, particularly since the outbreak. Her clients also support their children financially because they are buying a house and looking into infertility treatment.
Some parents provide financial assistance because it is their desire, while others are obligated to do so even if the situation makes them uncomfortable. Hill-Brown points out that the guilt can come from not having prepared their children for financial independence at an early age.
She says, “They never sat down with them to teach them.” It was also because it wasn’t done for them. They were learning as they went along.
The risks of raising adult children
It can be rewarding to support your children, but it may also be harmful if you are not financially stable. This can also affect the retirement savings of many Americans, who are already concerned about this. Fidelity’s Retirement Savings Assessement 2023 tells us that 52% of American families may not have enough money to pay for essential retirement expenses. About 50% of Americans plan to continue working during their retirement.
Kayla Walter is a financial advisor at Bailey Wealth Advisors, Silver Spring, Maryland. She says that some parents do consider dipping into savings to ensure their children don’t need loans. She warns her clients not to do that because there are no retirement loans but student loans.
She says, “You are spending your money at an accelerated rate and they won’t last as long as you might have planned to live.”
How to protect your relationship and finances
It is a risk to provide for your adult children in two ways: it can impact both on finances and relationships. Hill-Brown says that providing for your adult child can give you a feeling of connection and purpose, but also cause you to feel resentful.
She says that some parents are in financial trouble because they didn’t disclose their financial obligations and the impact it could have on them. This is where resentment, and even guilt can occur.
Know your financial limits before you say yes to help your children. Then, you can communicate your limits to your child. Hill-Brown advises parents who have children who depend on them financially to gradually decrease their support. They should also set limits for the future. Be willing to refuse when needed.
Hill-Brown warns that if you feel guilty, don’t forget the fact that giving your children financial assistance without limit could prevent them from becoming financially self-sufficient, and this could be passed on to future generations.
Encouraging financial independence
Once you have set financial boundaries for your child, it is time to start steering them towards financial independence.
Walter suggests that you can help by including them in your financial planning.
You can also direct your adult children to services which offer financial assistance. You could, for example, direct your adult children to debt consolidation services instead of lending them money when they are in severe debt.
Walter’s final suggestion is to be a positive example for your children and show them healthy financial habits. There’s always a time when you can set an example of good money management for your kids .”
The Associated Press originally published this article, which was written by NerdWallet.