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When should parents stop supporting their adult children financially?

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R Quinn
R Quinn
3 months ago

Depends on how “support” is used. Support in terms of crisis or emergency has no ending point IMO.

Ginger Williams
Ginger Williams
3 months ago

As Mike said, letting adult children live at home for a while may help them find financial footing. Adult children should contribute to the household if they’re living at home. At a minimum, they should be doing an adult’s share of maintenance (cooking, cleaning, yard work). They should also contribute financially, from salary or unemployment benefits, because that builds bill-paying habits needed to move out eventually.

Some years ago, friends realized their adult son was developing bad financial habits while living at home and earning a decent salary. For example, he was building a pack of hunting dogs, which aren’t cheap to house if you move away from your parents’ country home. One parent wanted to charge rent, while the other felt strongly that they didn’t need the money and shouldn’t make son feel unwelcome. They compromised by charging rent, which was deposited into a joint savings account, to help their son develop the habit of paying his living expenses while also building a fund for him to buy land and build his own home. When they discussed it with their son, he agreed it was a reasonable request and set the rent amount higher than they had proposed. He eventually moved to land he purchased near them, taking the dog pack with him.

Mike Zaccardi
Mike Zaccardi
4 months ago

No single answer. Several things to consider.

  • Kids can generally start working around age 14, so this is an interesting age to encourage them to start thinking about earning money on their own. Of course, school/studies should be prioritized.
  • Age 16 is key since that’s when you might have a new driver to ensure. It’s a good time to talk about financial responsibilities.
  • 18 (or when they head off to college) is a milestone, and kids are often forced to learn about personal finance.
  • After college, it might be helpful to let your kids live at home for a while until they find their financial footing.

Like most things in personal finance, it’s a spectrum and each situation is unique. Some kids are naturally hard-workers and independent while others need more pushing. I don’t have the specific answer or ‘anecdata’ to provide on this one, but it’s a careful balance between being too forceful and letting your kids take advantage of parents.

nick ronalds
nick ronalds
5 months ago

I told my kids that when they finished high school they would have to earn spending money, AND that they would have to pay for their final year of college so they’d have skin in the game. My daughter eventually thanked me for that policy–she said she was one of the few in college who didn’t run out of money before the end of a semester, because she earned her spending money and learned some economy. It helped that we instituted a clothing budget when they were young teenagers. They got a clothing budget but could keep any unspent money. They loved it–and started learning how to look they way they wanted on a budget.

Rick Connor
Rick Connor
5 months ago

I’m very lucky – my two sons have been “off the payroll” since graduating from college. They picked careers that pay well, and have worked hard and been successful. That being said, I wouldn’t hesitate to help them out if needed. The key is to understand the situation, and make sure you are helping them move forward in life.

Joe Kesler
Joe Kesler
6 months ago

Ideally I prefer to assist my kids through college so they are not saddled with student loan debt as they enter the workforce. After that, it seems tough love is most effective in helping them grow up by putting them on their own. But of course true love is always going to step up in an emergency to assist if it was not caused by their own failure to work. So far this plan has worked for four of our kids with no emergency bailouts. One more graduating from college next month, so shooting for five out of five.

nick ronalds
nick ronalds
5 months ago
Reply to  Joe Kesler

Congratulations! Hope you’re still solvent after putting five kids through college.

An
An
5 months ago
Reply to  nick ronalds

You can either put your 5 kids through college OR put your 5 kids & your banker’s kids through college.

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