Are Your Adult Children Harming Your Retirement Plans?

How to financially support your adult children without breaking your nest egg


Supporting your children during your 50’s, 60’s, or even 70’s can have a negative impact on your ability to retire or to enjoy your retirement fully. 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. Providing financial support for your grown children can be a major 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 limits. Let your child know that your help isn’t available indefinitely. Put a deadline or other limit on your assistance. They’ll have to fend for themselves after that. Creating a deadline can help to motivate your child.


  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 superannuation or IRA, 401(k), and other retirement vehicles intact. Just say no.



  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. Does he simply need to find a job or does he fail to save even a small portion of his income? Managing debt successfully 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 of time. Tread lightly. Financial agreements 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. Ask friends and family members for referrals.


  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.


Is your adult child ruining your retirement plans? You’re not alone. Providing support to an adult child can put a real damper on your financial future.

Help your child to the best of your ability without creating undue hardship on yourself. Seek out professional assistance and keep your own needs in mind.