Half of Parents Still Financially Support Their Adult Children, Study Shows

Although it's great to help out your kids, parting with that extra cash may be detrimental to your own financial goals. Here's why.

Daughter and mother checking bills, reading mail, writing plans, future vision, togetherness, family, happy, joy, teamwork

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Daughter and mother checking bills, reading mail, writing plans, future vision, togetherness, family, happy, joy, teamwork

Photo by: Westend61

Westend61

By: Amanda Mushro

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It doesn’t take much for your bills to start adding up. Between groceries, rent or a mortgage, utilities, and day to day expenses, many adults get assistance with their bills from a place close to home — their parents.

According to a new study, when it comes to helping out their adult kids, 50% of U.S. parents with a child 18 or older say they’re providing money each month to help out their kids financially. For parents with younger adult children, that number jumped up to 73%. When it comes to how much parents are shelling out to their adult kids, the average total was around $1,000 a month.

Researchers say they surveyed over 1,000 parents who have at least one adult child over the age of 18. They also noted that moms were slightly more likely to give their children money for bills over dads, and that younger parents were also more likely than older parents near or in retirement to offer financial support.

Other findings of the study:

  • Since the start of the pandemic, 26% of parents surveyed say they’ve had to provide more support.
  • For adult children living with their parents, 62% of parents say their kids don’t contribute at all to the household expenses.

While helping out your kids is something parents want to do, for many, it’s to their own financial detriment. The survey found that for parents who are still working, they are giving more to their kids (an average of $605 per month) than they’re putting away for their own retirement (an average of $409 a month). According to the study, "If their adult children needed financial help, one in four parents said they’d pull money from their retirement accounts, and 225 said they’d delay their retirement in order to provide support."

However, no matter how old your kids may be, the survey found that most parents want to help out their adult children. "While not every parent currently provides financial support to their children, we found that around 95 percent of parents would do so if their children needed help," researchers from the study say. "Around one in three said they’d be willing to live a more frugal lifestyle, 25 percent would pull money from savings or retirement, and 22 percent would actually delay their retirement. Only five percent of parents said they’d be unwilling to do anything to help support their adult children financially if the need arose."

What should parents do if they want to help out their adult kids, but also need to make their own financial goals a priority? Experts say parents need to put away money for their own retirement as well as an emergency fund before they hand over money to their kids. Talking to a financial planner and creating a budget for the parents and adult children can help put the money into perspective so that everyone knows what to spend, what to cut, and how to create an exit plan for parents helping out their kids financially.

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