Helping your adult children financially might look as simple as covering their phone bill or as significant as contributing to a house down payment. As children transition into adulthood, most parents still have the desire to support their kids both emotionally and financially.
If you’re helping your adult children, you’re not alone. A 2018 Pew Research Center study found that only 24 percent of young adults were financially independent by age 22, compared to 32 percent in 1980. Not only can your continued support impede their financial growth, but it may also impact your retirement savings.
So how can you bring an end to financially supporting your adult children? Ease the process with the four suggestions below.
Be Transparent in Your Communication
When first letting your children know that you will no longer pay their phone bill, help with groceries, or give them a hefty Christmas wad, make sure to explain why. Remind them that this is not about your lack of care or love for them, but rather it is for their long-term benefit and ability to provide for themselves, long after you’re gone.
Let them know that it may affect your ability to retire comfortably and to cover potential health costs in the future. By appealing to their compassion and treating them as fellow adults, you provide a sense of empowerment to your children.
Give Your Children an Adequate Timeline
If your kids are used to a monthly check, phone support, or even one-off amounts of money when in need, it can be a shock if that assistance stops quickly. Giving your children time to organize their finances and emotionally prepare to support themselves is one way to lead them towards successful financial independence.Additionally, giving them a timeline creates an objective boundary that might be hard to set otherwise. If you wait until you think your kids can handle it, or until you feel “ready,” the time may never come. Choosing a date and sticking to it puts the decision in stone and makes it easier to follow through.
Provide the Tools to Succeed
Educating your adult children on best practices for managing their money can increase their confidence while giving them the means to budget, spend, and save properly. You can share advice on your own or direct them to a financial planner, which has various benefits. If it’s your financial advisor, he or she can explain how your financial support can be detrimental to your retirement and well-being, which can give your kids more clarity on the situation.
Having an objective perspective can take the emotion out of the decision, making it more of a logical next step. A financial planner can also assist your kids in organizing their finances and give them a head-start on becoming financially literate.
Prepare to Still Feel Responsible
As you put a stop to financially supporting your kids, you may still feel twinges of desire to help them out. The first step toward dealing with these emotions is to expect that they may come up. Prepare yourself to avoid reacting.
Even if your adult child struggles trying to figure out how to afford certain expenses, it is ultimately this difficulty that can lead to growth on their end. When faced with financial realities, it will likely motivate your children to prepare, save, and budget more diligently.
Putting an end to financially supporting your adult children isn’t easy, especially concerning current financial hardships. With 54 percent of young adults dealing with education debt, it can be challenging not to offer assistance if requested.
However, by easing your adult children into independence and preparing them with the tools to manage their money effectively, you can smoothly move toward a healthier financial state for both you and your kids.
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