This article originally appeared on PittsburghParent.com
Does an “empty nest” equal an empty bank account? It doesn’t have to. But a nationwide trend shows over two-thirds of parents over the age of 50 financially supported a child older than 21 in the last five years. The practice is so common psychologists named this period of extended child dependency “emerging adulthood.”
Sure, you want them to call home and you want to be a part of their exciting new life, but does that mean you should be paying for it too? Millions of Americans are, but at what cost? Should you wait to retire to afford their new lifestyle? Do the home repairs stay on hold while you pay for their living arrangements? How much do you need to fork out until they find themselves?
When will it end?
Read through this checklist. Are you doing any of the following:
- You pay for your adult child’s needs. For example:
- Cell Phone
- Car Insurance
- Car payment
- Student loan
- Credit Cards payments
- You give your adult child cash for random, unplanned expenses.
- Your child doesn’t know when you will be cutting off your money supply.
- Your adult child knows you are giving over YOUR means and doesn’t volunteer to stop accepting money.
- Your adult child tells you that all of their friends get money from their parents.
- You allow your child to live at home — rent free.
- You are afraid to have a tough money conversation with your adult child.
- Your adult child spends money needlessly, even though they are taking money from you.
- You don’t understand what you are paying for and exactly how it will help your adult child.
- Your adult child shows few signs they’d like to be financially independent.
So how many of these are ok? How many of these should you allow? NONE! That’s right – doing any of the above sends the message to your adult child that taking cash from mom and dad is a good plan.
These years are fraught with growing pains for all of you. Many parents are torn between helping too much and not helping enough. They don’t like to see their child struggle – even though they may have struggled at that very same age. The Palmers are not saying it’s easy for either of you. Starting over after college, making new friends, figuring out how to balance wants and needs, work and social, is difficult. Watching it as a parent often feels even more difficult.
But growing pains, well, help them grow. This is the ideal time to help your young adult learn to take care of his own finances and make his own money decisions.
Help them learn to stand on their own feet and successfully manage their own money. Mistakes will be made, but they will learn from them. Eventually. And you can take heart in knowing you gave them one of the best gifts you can as a parent, healthy independence.
Here’s to raising responsible adult kids…you can do it!
Also, don’t forget we have the coolest parent resource ever – you even get a code along with your book purchase – for 5 FREE Kids Money Personalities Assessments. Be sure to check it out.