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To Cut the Financial Cord or Not: Should Parents Support Adult Children?

We’re tackling a sensitive subject in this week’s blog. The question is: Should parents of adult children provide ongoing financial support for their children’s day-to-day living expenses?

This question is geared mostly toward parents of millennials (those born in the years 1980 to 2000). Our teetering economy, looming student loans, rising rental costs and poor choices can make living on their own seem impossible for young adults these days. When parents have the financial ability to provide support or “free” housing, it is not typically viewed negatively but rather embraced.

Some parents are even pushing out their retirement ages in order to continue to provide financial support for their children for things like:

  • Cell phones
  • Utilities
  • Health insurance
  • Clothing
  • Spending money
  • Car expenses
  • Rent

Help Should be a Two-Way Street

While this support can help get your children on their feet and ease them into full independence, it should only be offered if they are doing their part to make it on their own. Your children should be:

  • Working
  • Paying rent (if living in your house)
  • Contributing to household chores
  • Saving money
  • Living within their means

You will be doing your children a real disservice if you allow them to ride your coattails without putting forth any effort. Remember: you won’t always be there to help. Even a hefty inheritance won’t last if the child does not have the skills to create and stick to a realistic budget. (Explain to your children that the financial help you dish out today may take its toll on their future inheritance.)

Protect Your Future

It is also important to ask yourself: Who is driving the financial support – the parents or the child? Sometimes it’s simply hard to cut the cord and let your children succeed or fail on their own. But if your financial support threatens your own lifestyle or nest egg, you may regret your actions. (Don’t rely on your children to provide the same support when you may need it!)

There is no one correct answer when it comes to the question of supporting your adult children. Some people will feel strongly that it’s best to support your children in every aspect of their lives; others will go with the “18 and you’re out the door” mentality. Regardless of which school of thought you belong to, just make sure you are protecting your own future and preparing your child to be self-sufficient when you are gone. You deserve to fully enjoy your retirement.

Do you need to reassess your will or trust to provide support for your children? The attorneys at The Brown Law Firm, LLC are experts in estate planning in Denver. To arrange a meeting, contact us today at (303) 339-3750 or send us a message online.