Majority of parents are helping their adult kids financially

A majority of parents — 59 percent — provide financial support to their adult children who are no longer in school, according to a new survey reported by Forbes.

Among those parents, Forbes writes, 43 percent said they are “legitimately concerned” for their kids’ financial well-being. Thirty-seven percent said they have struggled and don’t want their children to struggle too.

Two-thirds of the young adults surveyed said the financial pressures faced by their generation are tougher than those faced by previous generations, Forbes reports. One in three parents agree.

The online poll by ForbesWoman and the National Endowment for Financial Education of 1,074 U.S. adults — non-students aged 18 to 39 and their parents—was conducted by Harris Interactive in May.

Forbes writes that parents are providing financial assistance in record numbers and on a scale that ranges from occasional cash to complete dependence.

Parental help comes in the following ways:

– Housing – 50 percent

– Living expenses – 48 percent

– Transportation costs – 41 percent

– Insurance coverage – 35 percent

– Medical bills – 28 percent

But it’s not just a one-way street, as 75 percent of the young adults contribute to the household financially and non-financially, Forbes writes.

According to the survey, young adults contribute for:

– Groceries – 52 percent

– Utilities — 34 percent

– Gas for the family car – 31 percent

– Rent or mortgage – 29 percent.

Also, 42 percent provide non-monetary help, such as cooking, cleaning or childcare, Forbes writes.

Is your family in this situation? What prompted it? How is it working out?

- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

102 comments Add your comment

Ayn Rand was right

May 23rd, 2011
7:37 am

If this is a temporary two way street, then fine, however, it seems more and more parents are refusing to push their chicks out of the nest. This co-dependent behavior creates a lifestyle for children that must be supported by the parents indefinitely. Sadly the very children they are trying to help become the burden that will drag down an entire family.

s

May 23rd, 2011
7:41 am

Growing up – I always thought the word boomerang referred to a device invented by Australians that if thrown correctly would return to the thrower.
I’ve discovered that’s not the only meaning.

PW

May 23rd, 2011
7:44 am

Unfortunately our current economic situation oftentimes prevents young adults from moving out on their own even though they may want to.

We have to be very careful about painting every situation with the same brush.

commoncents

May 23rd, 2011
7:49 am

I wonder if this survey accounts for the people who graduate college, get good jobs, then live at home while they save for a house? If you’re not paying $1k/month rent, you can have a very nice down payment in 1-2 years

content

May 23rd, 2011
7:57 am

i am 29 years old, married with 2 kids and a third on the way. i was asked to leave the house at 17 (graduation) and lived on my own for about 5 years and then decided to fund my way through college. i received a degree in sports management and have worked for the atlanta braves, hawks and vision. i also started my own sports camps company for kids (which went down the drain with the economy) while doing all of this with no help (money) from my parents. i do have a full time office job and enjoy my life, even though it is not in the field i planned for and there are many times my pride gets in the way and i am afraid and embarrised to ask my parents for help. they have been nothing but understanding and helpful in every way and they both told me that until they day they kick the bucket no matter our age, i will always be there little kid and they will always be there to help in any way needed. i survived and made it this long because my parents put me out on my own at an early age…i think these days parents coddle their kids to the point the next generation cant and wont be able to depend on them selves they are to used to every one else doing it for them

mw

May 23rd, 2011
8:01 am

The one positive aspect of Obamacare for my family was the ability to put my two children back on our healthcare insurance. Although they had coverage previously, the deductibles and co-pays were extremely high, and the coverage itself was lousy. They now pay us parents for their insurance coverage … so it doesn’t really cost us extra … but they get much better coverage for another couple of years.

We’ve also seen that, even with Honor’s degrees from the state’s flagship university, good jobs are extremely difficult to find. Fortunately, my kids avoided student loan debt, but their current jobs do not pay enough to make them completely self-supporting. Hopefully that will change soon.

Mary

May 23rd, 2011
8:03 am

I have never asked my parents for money but there have been times in life when they send me a check or some cash for “whatever I want to spend it on.” That incredible generosity has helped me pay for things that I would have had to go into debt for otherwise (new HVAC system, care repairs, appliance replacement, etc). My father always says: “never turn down a gift of cash.” I am profoundly aware of my good fortune in having parents who encouraged/demanded that I be able to take care of myself financially but who have also been generous with their good fortune.

Nan Lou

May 23rd, 2011
8:14 am

I guess its a matter of upbringing. My parents stood by me my whole life, including financially when I needed it. Even after being married and having kids. I do the same for my kids and will till I die. “Thats my job – that’s what I do – everything I do is because of them, to keep them safe with me – that’s my job you see …”

Ally

May 23rd, 2011
8:22 am

I also graduated in the middle of a recession (and with a degree in manufacturing no less), but I got out of the house AND saved to buy my own house on my own. Yes, I moved back home after graduation, but realized soon after that it was not a good thing for me so I saved up $2000 in 6 months (I was working in food service at a hotel). With the $2000, I packed up my car and moved to Atlanta with no job and no place to live. I quickly found both, although the job was waitressing (in a cheap restaurant. i.e. $1-2 tips).

I paid all of my bills on time, still went out and had fun, and continued to look for a job. I found a “real” job 2 years later, and since I had turned that $2000 into $10,000 in savings, I also bought my first house (yes, on my own, with no help from parents).

It doesn’t matter that this is a recession, that there are no jobs, that parents want to help their kids (my mom wanted me to stay at home because my dad had recently passed) — children NEED to get out of the house and try it on their own. The problem is that they either are lazy, don’t use their brains (no, you don’t need manicures or Starbucks when you have a low-paying job. yes, you should still save for car repairs or other needs) or prefer the “security” of home. Every one (parents and kids alike) need to face reality and the kids need to move out and experience life!!

mir

May 23rd, 2011
8:29 am

At the age of 18, my parents informed me that their responsibility as parents were over. Fifteen years later, they are calling me and asking for my help. I told them my responsibility as a child ended when I became an adult at 18.

ali

May 23rd, 2011
8:32 am

I agree in it’s how you were raised. My parents did very little for me growing up and didn’t provide me with a foundation to where I could be successful in life. They didn’t plan for my college education and felt it wasn’t their responsibilty to pay for it. I took out tens of thousands of dollars to complete my degree. While my life has always been struggle and the money never seems like it’s enough to even cover fixed expenses, I live my life with knowing that everything I have is because I worked for it. Nothing was given to me – nothing at all.

What Is Fair?

May 23rd, 2011
8:32 am

Too many kids think it is owed to them by their parents. I have helped my daughter many times to, as she says, get back on her feet. Whoopee – never seems to happen; she has had two losers for husbands and is still with the second one but “after all you should want better for me then you had it.” Yeah but not at my expense since I am on limited income and quite frankly I’m through. Sink or swim on your own. I had to and so can you. Pretty sad she cannot contribute to household expenses but makes sure her husband has plenty in his account in prison and puts money on her phone so he can call home three and four times a day. I’m tired of my measly check, which have gotten no raises in two years from SS, leaving me not even enough for a hamburger at McDonald’s. She has been told – find your own place cause I’m done.

Captain Reality

May 23rd, 2011
8:35 am

I worked my way through College & Grad School. I vowed my only child would not have to work during the school year (Summers, yes) but; not during the school terms. He did his patr, made good grades and graduated with no debt. When I die, he gets everything, why not give him and his family some assistance so I can see him enjoy my gifts?

Dixie Lot Lizard

May 23rd, 2011
8:37 am

Quit sucking “the hind teet” and make your own way. I’m 43 and my moms been dead sin e 1981 and my dads been gone since 2006 and I make my own way. E en when my dad was Ali e I never got / asked for money because he never did with his parents. These figures are shocking.

seritasunflower

May 23rd, 2011
8:38 am

Listen parents, why should our children think they can graduate college and instantly live the life it took some of us 30 years to have. I agree that it is tough for young people to find employment after college and save for helping them with insurance, young people need to understand what it means to wait and prioritize. And, there is nothing wrong with working 2. I see so many parent(s) (and probably me too) creating unrealistic worlds for kids because they don’t want to see them struggle. I believe there is nothing wrong with struggling when you’re just getting started in life versus a struggling “mentality” (one who consistently makes bad financial decisions). If they are at home, then realistic timeframes need to be set before they get too comfortable.

Sunny

May 23rd, 2011
8:45 am

As someone who has been helped immensely in the past two years by my father, I’d have to agree with the article. I was put out the day after my high school graduation (I’ve worked and saved since I was 14) to make it on my own. I moved to Atlanta in August of that same year, completed college, obtained a job and purchased my first home at 24 years of age.

Due to the economy, I lost my job in September of 2009 and had enough saved to “make it” during that first year of searching for work. Once my savings ran out, my father, took up the slack of my mortgage and handled it until I began working again in April of this year. He did that because he KNOWS that I am fully capable of taking care of myself and had fallen on hard times and he KNEW that I was pounding the pavement to find a way out of my financial situation. Even with me working just over a month, I have started saving to repay him for what he has done because he didn’t HAVE to do it, he’s just being a PARENT…I’m still his baby no matter how old I am. THANK YOU, DAD!!

Retired

May 23rd, 2011
8:49 am

Our oldest child graduated 4 years ago with a bachelor’s degree and worked for one year in her field before being laid off due to the recession. Instead of having a “pity party” and moving back home, she took an entry level job in a totally different industry and made it work until she found something better. Still is working “out of her field” but is gainfully employed and able to “keep up” financially. Very proud of her. The younger child is half way through her Master’s program and we can’t wait to see what she does in life! I say help ‘em if they really need it, but don’t throw a life preserver to ‘em if the water is only wasit deep.

Fletch

May 23rd, 2011
8:57 am

Retired – “I say help ‘em if they really need it, but don’t throw a life preserver to ‘em if the water is only wasit deep.”

Excellent statement! There is a HUGE difference between standing by and willing to lend a hand when called on vs. an outright giveaway. My parents have always treated myself and my siblings the same way. Yes, they were well off financially and could afford to help out if needed, but they also expected all of us to work hard and to earn our own way.

It’s the struggles that make you stronger!

sladersaan

May 23rd, 2011
8:59 am

I am not surprised at all. As a financial coach who helps people through very difficult financial times, I can tell you the majority of people (young and old) don’t know how to say no to themselves. Parents are unwilling to say no to their kids, teaching them enableing practices that lead to a lifetime of destructive behavior. Don’t blame this on the conomy because 41% of parents got it right.

How many of these kids that move back home have ipods, iphones, flat sceens? Let’s be truthful, most people keep confusing needs versus wants. My kids have learned the vlaue of a dollar and the hard needed to earn that dollar. It is in the teaching folks.

Sissy

May 23rd, 2011
9:00 am

My parents cut me off at 18. I did live at home, however they did not give me any money. I did have to care for my younger sister. Now I appreciate what they have done for me. However the younger sister is now 32 and they pay her car payment, insurance and anything else she needs. She has never worked a day in her life. My child went to college, has been paying her own car payment and insurance. She worked every summer during high school as a lifeguard and saved every penny has always paid for her on cell phone. She now lives back at home because she can not get a good enough job to support herself. However she does pay a portion of the bills. My stepdaughter graduated from high school two years ago, married right out of school had a baby 11 months later and thinks we are her bank. She and her husband work and make more than we do, but can not manage money. We have a generation of Lazy kids. It’s our fault for letting them lay around the house watch tv, play on the computer and play video games.

Bill

May 23rd, 2011
9:09 am

Ms. Rand,

Multigenerational households were the norm until about the middle of this century. Perhaps this is just a return to normality.

Bill

May 23rd, 2011
9:09 am

Mir,

And you are proud of that…??

ParentsAtFaultToo

May 23rd, 2011
9:12 am

First, as a parent..I see many parents setting their children up for financial disaster and dependency. My daughter is going to college locally, living at home and has a part time job for her own spending money, in return we have offered to pay her FULLY through college. Many parents want the bragging rights of being able to say that their child is “away at college” which usually translates into “student loans.” How do they expect their child to AFFORD to leave the nest with an entry level job after college and STUDENT LOANS?..my daughter learned fast after seeing friends older siblings returning back home after college to their old rooms and not being able to afford to take a job outside of the state.(students loan payments are usually as high or higher than rent payments! Can’t do both!)

If you want to give your kids a lifetime of opportunities then don’t set them up to fail just to have them out of the house for 4 years. My daugher plans on looking for job opportunties everywhere. Also, she is debt free and throws away the stupid credit card offers that come in the mail and is paying off her OWN car.

tar and feathers party

May 23rd, 2011
9:15 am

Wha wha, whaaa, I hear the 25 year old babies crying for their bottle……cry baby sissies…..git to work you lazy bums, especially the uga grads, that floor ain’t a gonna sweep itself…

Bill

May 23rd, 2011
9:18 am

Retired – “I say help ‘em if they really need it, but don’t throw a life preserver to ‘em if the water is only wasit deep.”

I might add, don’t wait until they are completely under water and gasping for air. Help should include guidance and a plan, not just a check.

ParentsAtFaultToo

May 23rd, 2011
9:18 am

Another thing parents.. help your children with the choices they look at for “careers” with a diploma..too many people on this blog talking about their children UNABLE to find work in their “CHOSEN DEGREE.”

Something not right with that picture!..too many kids getting “basketweaving degrees” and ending up working as a server at Chili’s!

tar and feathers party

May 23rd, 2011
9:25 am

All uga degrees are “basketweaving degrees” including their worthless law school…..imho. What do you call a uga law grad? Boy, as in “Boy, fetch me some more fries.”

ParentsAtFaultToo

May 23rd, 2011
9:25 am

Parents also BE HONEST with your kids..some comments are here are correct..stop making the world seem so easy and sugar coasting everything they need with a “credit card.” My younger teenage daughter came to me asking about what car she was going to get? Well simple answer, you see your dad’s old car in the driveway..THAT’s going to be your new car..don’t whine don’t complain..transportation is transportation..if you REALLY want your dream car..your going to have to pay for it yourself since the insurance is going up when i add you on. NOPE..most parents run out and by the kid the car they WANT..great parenting!

NOT THAT we can’t buy her a new car..(we do very well)..but that’s not the point..it took us a LIFETIME to do very well..and that first car is TEN TIMES better than the one my parents got me!…just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Saying NO is not a bad thing!

Bill

May 23rd, 2011
9:26 am

For my generation (baby boomers), moving out was relatively easy. Go out and get a job – there were plenty, and they paid pretty well. Or, go to college, then go out and get a job. Most of us were out of our parents house by the age of 20. However, has not been that easy before or since. I think that in many ways the world is a less forgiving place than it was.If you have ever been in legal trouble, no one will hire you. If you have been unemployed too long, no one will hire you. If your credit is not very good, no one will hire you. We used to believe in second chances.

It would be easy to pat myself on the back, proclaim that I was financially independent of my parents at 18 (mostly true), and criticize others for not doing the same. Everyone’s situation is different. I struggled. I learned a lot of things the hard way. Learning the hard way generally makes you a better person than you were before. It does not make you a better person than those who are yet to learn.

Bill

May 23rd, 2011
9:27 am

Tar and Feathers,

What made you so bitter? Did you flunk out of UGA??

Algia Tarrer

May 23rd, 2011
9:28 am

My daughter and her husband lost their jobs in February 2009. The children were twins 17 and an 11 year old. They were only surviving with public assistance and I picked up the mortgage payment of about $900. Then in September 2009, the floods ravaged their home. It was the good work of Samaritans Purse, family and friends, and my son-in-laws prior employer that helped them to start rising above the devastation of this loss. They lived in a small camper for 4 months while they tried to get back into the house hoping to rebuild. Living conditions were just not acceptable for a family; reminded one of a 3rd world country. They lived with open plumbing, curtains for walls, walked on blanks in the hall and from room to room. You could see the dirt beneath the make-shift floors. And, the mildew was always there. The treatment was almost daily applications of clorox. By January they had been to the county offices seeking permits to start rebuilding. Before any permits could be issued, the house had to be inspected to see if the structure and land would be sound. They were advised that the house had shifted from its foundation, the septic system would have to be replaced, and all mildew gone. To do this, they would need approximately $25,000. We as parents needed to step in and help. The house and land that was flooded is on the market (with no changes to its condition) for $15,000 and advertised as a fixer up dewelling. As of February 2010, this family of 5 now have a safe home that I purchased in my name. I make the mortgage payment, but they pick up all the other living expenses. As families see their children going thru such hard times, parents that have the means to assist cannot turn away. My son-in-law was called back to work 1 year later, but he lost some of his hourly wage. However, they are trying and are together. My husband passed away in 2010, and I continue to work. The twins are 19 now and going onto school to prepare for careers in nursing and mechanics. I’m proud to help my family; I was there to see the tears, disapppointments, and helplessness they endured. A lot of us are baby boomers and we had opportunities come so much easier to us than the generation now who are just trying to start college or taining for a career. How can we not pull together as extended family members to help each other!

AT

Bill

May 23rd, 2011
9:30 am

ParentsAtFaultToo,
Your parents GAVE you a car? We considered those people spoiled rich kids. :-)

I have provided transportation for my kids as well. That is just one of the many things that have changed.

LovingMom

May 23rd, 2011
9:31 am

I love PW’s comment let’s not paint every situation with the same brush. I help my kids as well. My oldest has been out of the military for a little over a year. He’s in school and looking for a job. We all know jobs are hard too find. I allow him to live in one of my rentals for low rent.

My youngest is 19 and in collge. She wants a job and I prefer she doesn’t work during the school year but I don’t stop her. My parents didn’t help me do anything. They were extremely selfish. It made my life much more difficult and painful than it had to be. Yes I succeeded and I am financially stable but I could be so much further ahead if they’d just done the basics for me.

As long as my children are being decent responosible mini adults I will always be there for them. They know I won’t come to the jails or allow them to break me but I will ALWAYS be there to encourage, love, motivate and assist financially if they’re trying. We all make mistakes. My son is far less responsible than my daughter.

N

May 23rd, 2011
9:32 am

My feelings:

parents won’t be there forever to provide help so hopefully they are assisting their kids in getting the skills to support themselves.

Financial pressures greater? Yes, its a tough economy right now but other periods have been touhg too AND the needs today are so much greater for most people – Computers, Internet, Cable, Smart Phone with Data plans. No wonder they have no money.

N

May 23rd, 2011
9:40 am

They scary part is when parents are helping their kids so much but have nothing saved for retirement and I think we all know people in that situation.

Bill

May 23rd, 2011
9:57 am

AT,

Well done, that is what family is for. Sometimes bad things just happen. Those of us who have not had this kind of hardship tend to think it is simply because we made better decisions. As my wife often reminds me, no one makes bad decisions on purpose.

Bill

May 23rd, 2011
9:57 am

Loving Mom,

Boys often take more time.

Susan

May 23rd, 2011
10:01 am

I am 45yo and live with my father who is 84. While this started out as a way to put a roof back over my head last Aug, I was unemployed, had not been able to find a job in two yrs…I have since found a job but find that I do not want to leave my father to live alone again. He is still able to drive and for the most part take care of himself, but I find I do all the cooking and cleaning and 95% of the yard work. While this does put a cramp in my “social” life, my daddy’s well being is worth the sacrafice!

Chatham

May 23rd, 2011
10:05 am

My kids were taught financial responsibility, by example, and now they’re financially responsible adults. They know how to earn a living, how save and invest, and how to live within their means. If they ever do hit a rough patch they know that they can turn to me for temporary assistance, but not permanent welfare.

Not sure what the issue is

May 23rd, 2011
10:06 am

Not sure what the big issue is about helping children. My grandparents helped my parents when they needed assistance. My parents have helped my sister and me when we needed assistance. I plan to help my children when they are adults when they need assistance. Family helping family….when did that become a bad thing? Isn’t that way families do? Part of it is how the westernized world has chosen to set up our society, what our culture is. Other cultures live together as family communal units. Some cultures children don’t leave their parents home until marriage. And some require children to be out on their own when they reach what they feel is the age of majority. There is nothing wrong with any of these scenarios. It is just what different people’s value systems are. I do believe there is a difference between help and handicap. If you set up or enable a situation that makes it impossible for your children to ever be able to support themselves, that is a problem. I agree with PW about not painting every scenario with the same brush.

Jenn

May 23rd, 2011
10:07 am

My husband lost his job recently and our only car broke down completely a few months later. I am still working, but it’s been difficult. My in-laws loaned us the money to buy a good used car, and we are in the process of paying them back. So I think that it’s okay for adult children to ask for help in extreme situations, but there is a limit.

pat

May 23rd, 2011
10:10 am

Enter your comments here

tar and feathers party

May 23rd, 2011
10:17 am

I read in a financial journal that the biggest predictor of poverty in old age is how much money the parents have given to their adult children over the course of their lives. The younger generation is use to free flowing money from its parents generation. We have extended dependency to nearly 30 years of age, and started public school now at age 4 with Pre-K. The college years are funded by Uncle Stupid’s student loans, loans that will never be repaid by this dead beat generation. Now mom and dad get to keep their dead beat brats on their employer paid insurance plan till age 26! The dependency and drain on the older generation never ends. Yet all you hear about today is whining about social security costs. The Giant Generation is the only generation in history to have funded its own retirement for some 30 years in advance. But the lying, thieving politicians (ALL OF THEM) have stolen that money and wasted it on their pet projects.

S

May 23rd, 2011
10:19 am

My children are 7, 6 and 4. I have started teaching them the value of money like my parents did before. They understand that everything costs something. When they go in the store or to McDonald’s, etc., they have learned that they can do without if they have to spend their own money. I have also taught them that they should donate a toy to other children in need in order to get another two. It is all in how you are raised. HOWEVER, with that being said, I do think it is okay for a parent to help their children. BUT you should not make them co-dependent, especially if they are walking around with cell phones, new cars etc. It is amazing what children can pay for/do without when they know they can’t get any assistance with the bills.

JJ

May 23rd, 2011
10:23 am

As a single parent, I have always struggled.

My daughter is back home, after finishing her second year of college. She was given 2 weeks to find a job, or she would lose her car. After 3 weeks, still no job. I have taken her car away from her (it’s in my name) and I have cut her off financially. No more money (or her car) from me, until she is gainfully employed. She is 20 and it’s time for her to take financial responsibility for herself.

Once she has landed a job, then I will help her out until her first payment.

jarvis

May 23rd, 2011
10:30 am

18 – 39 is a HUGE difference. I see helping out an 18-year-old trying to get on his/her feet, but for God’s sake 39?!!!

If you need help at 39, the only reason you don’t need help your whole life, is that your parents have died and can’t provide it anymore. Stop suckling at some point.

Will

May 23rd, 2011
10:33 am

Wouldn’t it be helpful if our government paid to put our kids through college instead of sending billions of dollars in aid to countries like Pakistan?

JJ

May 23rd, 2011
10:33 am

*pay check*, not payment…

Brookhaven Guy

May 23rd, 2011
10:34 am

More and more data supports that wages are down, and that it will be harder for the younger generation to become wealthy and also to simply save. Those are the facts.

Furthermore, why wait to give inheritance in one lump sum at a later date? Avoid taxes by spreading it out over time. Also, assuming my parents live until 85 (which my grandparents all did), I wouldn’t see my inheritance until I am 55…at which point I hope to have sufficient savings and funds earned over my 35 years of work!

Bill

May 23rd, 2011
10:35 am

There are lots of approaches to helping kids to learn about financial responsibility. I won’t claim that I have the answer, or that I know more than others here, but I will share my experience.

I have three kids, and from the time they were small, it has been my philosophy, that we will try to provide for them all of the experiences we can. We have sometimes struggled to do it, but we have paid for lots of music lessons, dance lessons, summer camps and debate trips. There is very little limit, if we can do it, we do.

What we don’t do is spend money on a lot of stuff for them. We will by all the experiences we can, but only the stuff that we need.