Parents Supporting Adult Kids Risk Their Retirement Security

Parents Supporting Adult Kids Risk Their Retirement Security

If you’re helping your adult kids financially, you’re not alone.

A new Bankrate survey found that most parents (68%) are providing support for their adult kids. But in doing so, many may be compromising their financial futures by putting emergency and retirement savings on the back burner.

Parents with children 18 or older have made a financial sacrifice to help them, and nearly a third of that group (31%) say they have sacrificed “significantly,” and 37% said they have sacrificed “somewhat.”  

For instance, 51% say they’ve sacrificed their emergency savings, with 20% saying they’ve done so significantly. They’ve also impacted debt payoff (49% total; 18% significantly) and retirement savings (43% total; 18% significantly), and 55% report missing out on reaching other financial milestones. research also found that parents are footing many adult kids’ bills, with 45% providing financial support for at least one grown offspring. 

Groceries, cell phones, housing, and student payments are common parent-funded expenses, and their average monthly contribution is more than $1,400.

Parents also said they’d go to extraordinary lengths—even emerging from retirement—to support kids, even if it meant compromising their retirement. asked, “Which of these would you be willing to do to support your adult child(ren)? Select all that apply.”

Live a more frugal lifestyle


Pull money from my savings or retirement account


Retire later


Take on debt


Come out of retirement


Refinance my home


None of the above


Bankrate’s tips for cutting your kids loose:

·   Determine a realistic amount of money to give your kids and stick to an amount that doesn’t compromise your financial stability.

·   Set clear expectations with your children, specifying a specific dollar amount or duration of assistance to avoid being seen as a permanent piggybank.

·   Prepare your kids for financial independence by sharing your knowledge of financial planning and responsibility with them before cutting off financial support.

Bankrate Senior Industry Analyst Ted Rossman puts it this way: “Offering financial assistance can backfire if it puts your own savings, investments and financial well-being at risk. It can be a vicious cycle. Young adults are wrestling with student loans and high household formation costs, but if parents overextend themselves in an effort to help, they might end up jeopardizing their own financial security.”


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