9 Useful Ideas to Help Your Adult Children Without Hurting Your Retirement

Supporting your adult child can harm your ability to retire or to enjoy your retirement fully. For baby boomers in or near retirement, this is a significant consideration. If you’re a professional, your later years can be the best time to earn money for retirement.

Your salary is probably at an all-time high and providing financial support for your adult children can be a significant financial obstacle.


Consider these ideas for dealing with your adult child’s financial issues:


  1. Set a time and dollar limit. We all want to help our children, but it’s fair to set boundaries. Let your child know that your help isn’t available indefinitely. Put a deadline or other limits on your assistance. They’ll have to fend for themselves after that. Creating a deadline can help to motivate your adult child.

When you float an adult child’s living expenses in the early years, they might expect more of the same later. Eventually, they might even expect that spigot of cash to continue, relying on it as part of their regular income.  It may not be their fault, either. After all, you created this monster, didn’t you? This is the reason for setting a time and dollar limit.

  1. Leave your retirement account alone. Avoid the urge to tap into your retirement accounts. This money is difficult to replace! Find another solution, but leave your IRA, 401(k), and other retirement vehicles intact. Just say no. There’s nothing wrong with helping with college, but you have to put your own financial security first.
  1. Require your child to create a budget and then review it. Those without a budget are much more likely to have financial issues. Creating a budget will show your child where his money is going. It will also set boundaries and expectations.
  1. Determine the source of your child’s financial issues. Do they simply need to find a job, or do they fail to save even a tiny portion of their income? Managing debt is a common issue for many.

You can help to find a solution if you’re able to accurately identify the problem. Brainstorm with your child and develop a solution. Encourage your child to take responsibility for the situation.

  1. Consider giving your child a loan. If your money comes with strings attached, your child will take the matter more seriously. Draft an agreement that requires monthly payments after a set period. Tread lightly. Financial arrangements between family members can result in drama.
  1. Seek professional help. Some situations require expert assistance. We’re not all experts on matters of personal finance. It might be helpful to acquire an outside perspective from someone in the financial field.
  1. Try to put yourself first. Time is running out to prepare for retirement if you’re old enough to have an adult child. Your child still has time to put their financial house in order. You have much less time. Consider taking care of your own financial needs first and assist your child with any excess.
  1. Include any support you’re providing in your budget. Also, include payments towards your retirement accounts and any tuition assistance you plan to provide to your younger children.
  1. Consider providing non-financial support. It might be easier to allow your child to live with you or use your car than to write a check each month. You could require them to pay for their own groceries. It will save your child a lot of money without creating extra financial burdens on yourself.


If you still find yourself struggling to get things together, schedule an appointment for a consultation.

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