Guiding Adult Children To Financial IndependenceSubmitted by Prosperity Planning, Inc on May 19th, 2017
Did you know 50% of recent college graduates age
23 to 26 receive financial support from their
parents?1 Many parents feel inclined to help their
children because of the current job market,
however there is a deeper root to this trend which
psychologists have coined “emerging adulthood.”2
Social norms have shifted and it has become more
ordinary to accept help from Mom and Dad well
As parents it is our natural tendency to want to help
our children. But it is easy to go too far and find the
support is no longer helping. Parents can cause
harm in this area without even realizing it. By
paying for extended adolescence, you can actually
hinder the opportunity for your children to go
through hardships that will help them reach
success. “Over-helping” sends the message that you
don’t have confidence in your child to succeed
without you. Here are some tips to help you
navigate these uncharted waters.
Set boundaries. If you feel that financial assistance
is a necessity, it’s best to provide something very
specific for a certain length of time. For example,
tell them they can live with you for six months, or
you will pay for their health insurance for one year.
Make sure your terms are clear and the end date is
set. The most damaging assistance comes in the
form of direct cash subsidies or paying expenses for
an unspecified time. Depending on your situation,
it might also be helpful to put your agreement in
writing. This sends a clear message that you’re
serious about your and your child’s roles and
Be a coach. There are many ways to assist your
child besides financially. Perhaps you can introduce
them to people who will help them with their
career or serve as a mentor. If writing is your thing,
you can help with resumes, cover letters and thank
you notes. Teach them the basics of finance,
especially the critical need to track spending and
manage a budget. Offer to prepare them for an
interview. Most of all, be positive! Point out their
strengths. Listen, support and encourage. A weekly
lunch outing is an inexpensive way to carve out time
for your adult child and show that you really care.
Wean them off. If you are in a position to continue
financial assistance after your child’s graduation,
consider weaning them off gradually. It can be
overwhelming for your child to pick up all of their
expenses at once. Scaling your aid back can make
for an easier transition into the real world for them.
This is best implemented with a specific plan that
you and your child develop together.
Seek help. A CFP® professional can advise
you on these important decisions. Contact us
for a consultation.
Sources: 1 Arizona Pathways to Life Success study. 2 How 18 Became 26: The
Changing Concept of Adulthood, Eileen and Jon Gallo.