Parenting Your Adult Child
LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN You can’t correct every parenting mistake you’ll ever make. If you find yourself trying to correct mistakes you made years ago, stop. You can accomplish much more by listening to your adult child now than you can by trying to right your past wrongs. Parenting young children involves a lot of talking. Now that they are older, take time to listen. LOVE THEM Just because your child isn’t under your roof anymore doesn’t mean they don’t need love. Love from a spouse or a child of their own will never fully replace a parent’s love. Let your child know you always have their back. Be proud of them and their accomplishments as an adult. Your love and support means just as much now as it did when you were raising them. Parenting an adult is an exciting adventure. Remember, while your relationship will change throughout the years, your child will never stop needing your love and support. ability to retire. It’s time to have the tough conversations. Before you talk to your kids, meet with your financial advisor and discuss your retirement goals. Your advisor can give you a reality check if your goals are not in line with your current lifestyle and tell you what needs to change to get them there. THE TALK After your meeting with your advisor, it’s time to talk with your children. Explain how your retirement plan is going to affect them. It’s best to be honest and transparent. Let them know that this isn’t about your feelings for them and give them time to process the information. Remember that even if your retirement has been top of mind for you, it may not be on their radar. Erin Lowry, author of “Broke Millennial,” reminds us, “Adult children can’t be expected to know how ongoing support is affecting your finances if you haven’t talked to them about it.” If you can help them understand how the change will impact them and maybe even help them plan for it, you can open up that conversation and reduce tension around it. Instead of looking at the end of financial support as a loss, frame it as an opportunity. It’s an opportunity for your child to find financial independence, and while the journey can be rough, it will benefit everyone in the long term.
When your child packs their bags and strikes out on their own, your
parenting journey isn’t over. It’s just different. Regardless of their age, distance from home, or stage of life, your child still needs a parent. You may not
be changing diapers or teaching them to drive, but your child still needs your support. Here are three guidelines that will help you make the transition from parenting a child to parenting an adult. TREAT YOUR ADULT LIKE AN ADULT No adult wants to feel treated like a child. They need a support system, but they don’t need help with their homework anymore. Give them space and let them feel free to explore adult life. Don’t tell them what to do. Offer guidance only when it’s wanted. Be open with them about your mistakes so they can learn from your experiences as well as their own. Your children turned to you for support all their lives. As babies, you provided them with food and shelter, and throughout their childhood, you guided them and led by example. But if you’ve continued to provide them with financial support into their adulthood, the lifestyle shift that comes with your retirement might come as a surprise to both of you. If your children are still dependent on you for financial support, it’s important to have a conversation about what might change with your retirement. It’s time to consider how your well-intentioned support will affect your retirement plans. CONSIDER THE COSTS A study by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave found that, on average, parents over 50 gave their children a total of $6,500 a year. When you compare that 6K to your current income, it might not look like much, but consider what that amount could do if you invested it into your retirement. Diane Harris, a personal finance journalist, explains, “If, instead, you saved that much cash every year in a tax- deferred account averaging 6 percent annual gains, you’d have close to $100,000 more for retirement within a decade.” MAKE A PLAN Once you consider what you’re contributing to your child’s lifestyle, you need to find out how it’s going to affect your
Prepare Your Kids for Financial Independence
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