Nearly 70% of parents have made financial sacrifices for their adult children, survey finds

31% of parents surveyed have made a ‘significant financial sacrifice’ to help adult children
Published: Jul. 24, 2023 at 12:19 PM MST
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(InvestigateTV) — Around half of parents said they’ve sacrificed emergency savings and debt payoff efforts to help their adult children, according to a survey by Bankrate.com

In addition, 43% said they have dipped into their retirement savings, meaning nearly 70% of those surveyed said they have made a financial sacrifice to help their adult children financially.

Ted Rossman, a senior industry analyst with Bankrate.com, said while it’s nice to help adult children if possible, there are drawbacks.

“If it puts your own finances at risk, that whole idea about putting your oxygen mask on before helping others,” Rossman said. “And I think the other thing is perhaps contributing to a failure to launch or just being overly helpful, being a helicopter parent that sort of not letting your kids grow enough into independent adults.”

Rossman said communication is key before deciding to help. Spouses should discuss and set their limits financially.

“You want to help your kids. We want to be empathetic if they’re in a tough spot. But I think there is a big difference between helping somebody through a crisis or just being a blank check and just giving this endless kind of assistance,” he said.

Rossman shared a strategy for providing assistance:

  • Talk to adult children so they too know the financial limits
  • Give a timetable for how long financial assistance will last
  • Create a plan for weaning the adult child off the assistance

If the adult child is living at home, Rossman suggested charging a small amount of rent.

He said this could give them a taste of budgeting and how renting really works. Parents could even set that money aside to help them learn to save and they can use it for a security deposit on an apartment or a down payment on a home.