This is a guest post from Hank who blogs about money at Own The Dollar.
You are doing your children a disservice by supporting them into their adulthood. When they are 18 years-old, you do not owe them anything anymore. Cut the strings as soon as you can or you will have immature, financially needy children that are not ready for the challenges of the real world for decades to come.
Too Much Stress On You. These are supposed to be your golden years. You have earned the right to relax in retirement. Too many older Americans are putting off retirement to support their adult children who are not financially fit to stand on their own or who do not want to stand for that matter. Many Baby Boomers have found themselves continuing to work in jobs that they do not like anymore in order to help their kids and grandchildren.
Do not get me wrong. I am not opposed to a little help when times are tough and the unforeseen emergency strikes the family. Your kids are family after all. But, I am appalled by the lack of respect and consideration many young adult children are showing the parents that raised them by overstaying their welcome at home and/or milking them for everything they can while living the high lifestyle.
You Won’t Be There Forever. Eventually you are going to die. I’m sorry to say that. I’m sorry to be so blunt, but it is an unavoidable fact. You are going to die. And, then what are your dependent, grown, adult children going to do then? They will not be ready to operate as a fully functional member of society. Even grown children need to make a few small mistakes on their own before they are ready to step out on their own.
A Need To Be Strict. Many children take advantage of the generosity of their parents. And, it is the parents fault for letting it go on so long as well. When my mother graduated from high school in the 1960’s, my grandfather gave her two options. They were to either get a job or go to college.
If she went to college, my grandparents would pay for four years of education, no more, no less. If she choose to go to work, my grandfather knew the foreman of several local factories in their hometown, and he would have her a job ready for the day after her high school graduation. These were strict options, but these were fair options too. And, the children knew the options well in advance of graduation day.
The Third Option. There was always a third option for my mother as well. She could have said no thank you and moved out on graduation day to fend for herself. Those first two options were contingent on her being welcome to live for a little amount of time in my grandparents’ home until she could save enough for a place of her own. There is always a third option of standing on your own.
Fallback Position. Like an army about to be overrun, many young adults view moving back in with their parents as their fallback position. Today’s parents need to take a play out of General George S. Patton’s playbook. There is no fallback position…not one that drastic at least. Maybe there is an alternate position of staying for a few weeks until you can find an apartment paid for by your own job. But, parents are not doing their children a favor by letting them move back home indefinitely or by subsidizing their lifestyle.
No Subsidies. Parents are not the federal government. There is nothing written when you receive your child’s birth certificate that says that they deserve for you to pay their electric bill, car insurance, or rent after they graduate from college and get their own job. Our children are not learning how to budget their money and spend less than they make because they are used to living a higher quality of life than they deserve thanks to parental subsidies. Many college graduates earn their degree and think that the world should be handed to them on a silver platter. They forget that their parents spent decades saving, investing, earning raises, etc. to live the lifestyle that sent their children to college in the first place.
Parents try so hard to raise honest, hard working, and decent children. And, then the parents fail the children in the prime years of their young adult lives by not cutting the umbilical cord. Young adults will continue to have financial problems until they can stand on their own two feet with financial independence. After college, our children need a little more tough love and discipline instead of parental subsidies and free handouts.