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How Long Should Parents Continue Supporting Their Adult Children?
Mar 27

Liam Gibson | Wealth of Geeks

Census data shows roughly half of all young Americans, aged 18 to 29, still live at home with their folks.

That's the highest level in over 80 years.

Humans are known for being among the slowest creatures to reach maturity on Earth. Yet in the U.S., growing up is moving at a glacial pace as kids leave the nest later and later.

Being spared the renter's burden well into adulthood could help them get a head start on their investing journey. Yet this doesn't mean these young adults are putting those extra pennies into their portfolios.

Cashed-up kids are actually helping to fuel a boom in luxury shopping on both sides of the Atlantic, according to a recent Morgan Stanley report. This can be seen across a range of premium items, with the U.S. overtaking China in sales of luxury Swiss watches last year.

Such extravagant spending at a young age raises questions over whether more tough love is needed. Famed debt-busting guru Dave Ramsey recently railed against the trend, warning young spenders on his show that ''you cannot avoid life, it's coming for your butt. Momma can't protect you.''

Yet what if parents feel like being protective? Children's spending is only one half of the equation. New research sheds light on parents' conflicted attitudes toward supporting their adult kids.

At the start of September last year, Edelman surveyed over 2,000 Americans aged 30 and above, including roughly 1,000 ''affluent'' respondents aged 45-70, with household assets between $500,000 to $3 million.

Overall, 40% of parents interviewed still support their adult children. And the rate jumps to 50% for affluent parents. General costs, cell phone bills, and special purchases are the most common cover for their kids.

Expectations around financial aid seem to be passed down through the generations. Those who received financial support from their parents as adults were almost three times as likely to do the same with their kids.

The results also show that, although finances have become in vogue, many affluent American parents struggle to practice what they preached, sending decidedly mixed signals to their offspring.

Although a whopping 93% of affluent parents claimed to encourage their children to be financially independent, half of those respondents (50%) are financially supporting their kids, as mentioned earlier.

Cut, Don't Run
Parents who've supported their children for so long may find it hard to say no
and turn off the tap. For those who find it hard to deny their children, some
financial advisors recommend parents shift their perspective and view
withholding cash from their kids as generosity.

''Consider taking the next step and removing the financial support,'' says Jonathan Bird, CFP and financial advisor at Farnam Financial.

''It's painful in the short term, but if you've given your child the tools and resources they need to be financially independent, letting them be financially independent is the best gift you can offer.

''If we're being honest, preaching financial independence while providing non- essential financial support is hypocritical,'' he adds.

By The Associated Press, Copyright 2023

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