When is a Parent Providing Too Much Help?

I have seen more and more kids graduating high school and college, and then expecting their parents to help them keep their current lifestyle.  At what point is the parent enabling the child?  Below is a list of expenses that I have seen parents continue to pay, even after the child graduates from college.

Cell phones
Car Insurance
Health Insurance
Medical Bills
Education Loan Payments
Credit Cards
Online subscriptions (Netflix/cable/etc.)

Are you one of those parents paying many of the above items?  If you are a parent that can financially afford it, then I would suggest that it may not be helping your child be independent.  If you are a parent who can’t afford it and it is causing you to delay retirement, then it isn’t helping you or your child.

If the child is living at home rent free or with reduced rent, what services does that child provide on a consistent basis:

Do they cook meals?
Do they do the dishes?
Do they clean the house or do yard work?
Do they run errands for the parents?

Consider having a written agreement setting out those services the child is willing to participate in for the privilege of living at home.

What are you, as the parent, doing to help your child develop self-confidence as they mature?  If a child can’t hold down a job or is not able to live off what they make, will they then be responsible stewards of an inheritance?

I can’t answer for you how much is too much help, but if you are helping your child with a lot of the above items then you may need to assess if the child is making progress toward being able to live independently.

I know many parents of my generation want their children to avoid the financial difficulties that we had early in life.  We don’t want our kids to have any financial burdens. But are we setting our kids up for failure later in life when the financial resources are gone? 

Is it your goal to encourage the independency of your child?

Bill Reno CFP®