I was recently on a panel in Lexington, Kentucky, that was asked to offer financial advice to a live audience. The first person up to the microphone described her problem: Her 24-year-old son was still at home, and she hadn’t been able to dislodge him.
“You need to motivate him,” said one panel member. “I’ve tried,” the woman replied. “Try harder,” I chimed in.
A few days later, I recounted this story to a friend, who proceeded to tell me about her own adult son. He had drawn up a detailed budget with the goal of saving to buy a house. So far, so good — except that he then told his parents how much he wanted them to send him every month to build his savings.
Most parents are willing to help their adult kids. The trick is to extend a helping hand without discouraging their motivation to move on. I suggest the following guidelines:
And don’t do anything that jeopardizes your financial security by dipping into your retirement savings. Make gifts infrequent and unexpected, and your kids will appreciate them instead of taking them for granted.