How to Help Your Adult Child Become Independent

It’s a graduation season. Do you have a child graduating college? Are they moving back into the family home? If so, you’re not alone. The trend of adult children moving back home is so common that it’s spawned its own term: Boomerang Kids.

According to a recent study from Country Financial, more than half of all Americans between the ages of 21 and 37 receive financial assistance from their parents. A third rely on parental help for regular monthly bills, like groceries, rent, or cell phone costs. Nearly 60% need financial help a few times a year. ¹

If you’re in this situation with your grown child, you understand the dilemma all too well. On one hand, your child may face very real financial challenges, like sizable student loan debt. On the other hand, you need every dollar you have to fund a retirement that could last several decades.

What’s the solution? There are no easy answers, but there are steps you can take to help your young adult become more independent. Below are a few tips to get you started:

Have an honest discussion with your child.

It’s very possible that your child doesn’t truly understand the challenges you’ll face in retirement. Very often, young adults have the sense that their parents have “plenty of money.” After all, if you’ve provided for them for their entire lives, why wouldn’t they think you have the resources to continue doing so?

This time may be a good opportunity to discuss some of the challenges associated with retirement. Talk to them about how many years of retirement you may have to fund, and how you have to make your assets last. You may also want to use this conversation to encourage them to start saving early. If they truly understand your financial situation, they may be more hesitant to ask for assistance.

Set achievable goals.

In a perfect world, you could immediately cut off support and your child could be independent. That’s probably not a realistic expectation, though, especially if your grown child is heavily reliant on you for financial assistance.

Instead, sit down with your child and develop a budget. Set some incremental goals that will help them become independent over time, rather than all at once. For instance, you could start with them taking over one bill that you have been paying. Or you could set savings targets with them so they can afford to move out.

Be realistic in your expectations. If you cut off support all at once, they could face a challenging financial situation that they can’t handle, which will only lead them back to you for support again in the future.

Enforce limits.

Your child may need assistance, but at the end of the day it’s your decision about whether or not to provide support. It’s important to draw a line and establish firm limits on where your assistance ends.

Often the hardest part is following your own rules. You want to help your child, so it’s tempting to give more than you should. However, set a budget for yourself so you know the maximum amount of assistance you can provide. Maybe you set rules that you’ll only cover certain bills or only assist with so much each month. If you set limits and enforce them, you can protect your retirement funds and other assets.

Ready to help your child transition into financial independence? Let’s talk about it. Contact us at Protecting Your Retirement LLC. We can help you develop a strategy to protect your assets and your financial future. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation. Our telephone number is 913-648-2700.

1 https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/18/more-millennials-get-support-from-their-parents.html

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18769 – 2019/4/11