There comes the point in every child’s life when their parents will cut them off financially. After all, they need to be able to support themselves without the help of mom or dad. The hard part for parents is knowing when. When should parents stop supporting their kids financially?
I always freak out a little before writing these posts because I’m afraid that they may be taken the wrong way. The could be taken as I am telling parents how to raise their kids.
That’s not the case here at all. My goal is to give you my perspective on this matter.
Helping people with debt has really taught me a lot and, not just about finance. When working with someone, the first question I ask is, “How did you build up the debt that you have?” “What caused it?”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard something like “My son lost his job a year ago, so I’ve been paying all his bills since then.” or, “My daughter needed a new car and, I covered the insurance for her too.”
These things are OK if your child is 16, but there comes a time that they are going to have to take care of themselves financially. If they don’t, they won’t know what to do financially when you’re not there to help.
AT WHAT AGE SHOULD PARENTS CUT KIDS OFF?
What is the best age to cut a child off financially? Most kids can make it on their own after the age of 18. Of course, if they are in college and still getting an education, it might be closer to 22 or 23.
However, it isn’t even so much the age as much as the effect it has on your financial situation.
WHEN SHOULD PARENTS CUT KIDS OFF?
As mentioned above, age is just one factor in determining when you should no longer give your children financial support. If you notice any of these situations, it may be time to rethink the money you give your kids.
YOU HAVEN’T SAVED FOR RETIREMENT
Unless you plan on your children supporting you during your golden years, you need to have retirement savings. If you have had to stop your contributions or find your accounts behind where you should be, it might be time to cut the kids off.
YOUR KIDS AREN’T GRATEFUL
When you give your child money, you do it out of love for them. However, if they have no gratitude or feel entitled to your money, it might be time to rethink things.
If your child expects money from you and never says one word of gratitude, it may be time for the bank of mom and dad to close its doors.
YOU HAVE NO EMERGENCY FUND SAVINGS
Everyone needs a strong emergency fund. But, if yours has been depleted to help your kids, it may be time to tell them no. You need to focus on your financial situation first. Only once you have taken care of yourself, can you help someone else.
YOUR KIDS EXPECT IT
If you continue to help cover the rent shortfall, your child may know that and decide that they don’t need to be concerned. After all, mom and dad will take care of it, so why bother?
Once your child has this attitude towards the money they receive, close the wallet and have them figure things out on their own.
YOU HAVE CONCERNS AS TO HOW THEY SPEND YOUR MONEY
Where is the money you give your child going? Are they using it to cover living expenses or is it for other things, such as clothes and entertainment?
If you are not pleased with how your child it using the money you give to them, consider pulling back and changing what you give to them.
DOES THIS MEAN YOU NEVER HELP THEM?
Of course not. If your child really, really, needs your help, of course, you will be there. It would be nonsense not to. For example, if your child is doing everything in his or her power and still needs assistance with necessities, help them out. That would be the right thing to do.
However, the ultimate goal is to teach your child to handle these situations themselves. They need to know basics such as budgeting and how to create an emergency fund. Your child needs to learn how to rely on themselves not Mom and Dad.
This may all feel very harsh and even uncomfortable. However, it is essential.
You are a parent first, and your job is to teach your child to be a successful adult – not to be his or her best friend. You want them to be able to contribute to their community. As you all know as parents, sometimes, that takes a bit of tough love!