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The Bank of Mom and Dad

Mom, I need to put a couple of thousand dollars down due to mileage overage on my car lease, but don't have the money. Can you help out?

Dad, I ran up my credit card debt and am now paying high monthly interest charges. Can you lend me some money to repay the balance?

Does this sound familiar? If it does, please know that you are not alone. American parents are spending upwards of $500 billion a year to support their adult children. Two-thirds of us are actually sacrificing our own financial security by providing the support. Others of us struggle with the worry that, by providing a financial crutch, we may actually be harming our children in the long run by not encouraging more responsible behavior.

It's a challenge to wean one's kids off your payroll onto their own. I have friends who are still paying their adult children's cell phone bills and car insurance, years after they have left home and married! I suggest prepping your kids for success before you stop paying their bills entirely. I am always happy to work with my clients' adult children to help them develop a sensible spending and savings plan, and to avoid credit card debt.

If your adult children are still living at home, please know that that presents an emotional challenge in addition to a financial one. We want the best for our children and love them so much. Love means honoring the other person as their own individual. To truly love our children means to let them live their own lives, not the lives we imagined.