Half of Parents Still Help Their Adult Children Out Financially: Study

One of the biggest financial roadblocks for parents on their way to retirement may be their children.

A new study says 50 percent of parents are feeling the pinch when it comes to helping their adult children. So much so, it’s putting their retirement savings at risk.

In fact, more than 1 and 6 parents supporting their grown kids say it has had significant impact.

The study says the average age Americans think individuals should start paying for their own bills.

But how old is too old to be receiving money from Mom and Dad?

The study found that young adults between the ages of 19 to 23 are the most common ones for a parent-funded lifestyle to be expected to end. However, millennials believe cut off age should be delayed by a year of more.

The survey asked parents what age they thought a person should start paying for their bills? Most of the results said individuals 18 and older should pay for big ticket items like car payments and insurance, cell phone bills, subscription service, travel costs, credit card bills, housing costs, student loans and health insurance.

So, why do parents feel compelled to help their adult children financially? Denis Horrigan, a partner at Connecticut Wealth Management gave this reason:

“They’ve become helicopter parents. They’re helping their kids with their finances. They’re creating almost like a co-dependence with their kids to try to make that bond that much stronger,” Horrigan said.

Yet, the most alarming finding of the survey is most of parents say helping their grown kids has hurt their financial futures.

Nearly, 50 percent admit they have sacrificed or are sacrificing their own retirement savings.

Here’s how the numbers break down:

  • 17 percent sacrificed a lot.
  • 34 percent somewhat.
  • 41 percent not at all.
  • 9 percent did not save or not saving for retirement

Experts say some parents are struggling to keep up. So, how can parents set healthy financial boundaries with their children?

Horrigan offered this advice:

“What we suggest is to have that conversation and then make a plan, make a plan on how to wane them off of this support.” said Horrigan. It might be in the next three months, I’m going to stop paying your Netflix subscriptions. And then, six months after that I’m going to stop paying your car insurance. And then, six months after that I’m going to stop paying rent.”

The study also revealed that 60 percent of parents with adult children and a household income of $80,000 said they’ve had to cut back on their retirement savings for their children’s bills.

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