Parents: Put yourself first when it comes to money
While parents usually want to put their children first, when it comes to finances, they should be selfish.
Often, when adult children want something — be it a house, a car or anything else — they expect their parents to bridge the gap. However, this financial assistance can be a disservice to the child, and enables them financially to live outside their means, which will ultimately hurt them. Parents need to learn to say “no” to adult children who expect Mom and Dad to financially support them into adulthood. It won’t be good for young adults in the long run, as they won’t learn how to support themselves.
By “over-supporting” children, parents will need to take a serious look at their own financial status to see if they will be able to maintain financial security. An advisor can help you to navigate what you can and cannot afford. Having kids on the payroll can be damaging, especially if in retirement when there isn’t a way to replenish capital. Meanwhile, keep in mind that adult children have more earning power and potential years to earn to bolster their own finances. Having an honest conversation with adult children is important, and separating emotions from finances is key.
However, each client situation should be taken on a case-by-case basis. If it’s highly unlikely that you’ll run out of money, you live modestly, and helping out family is something you want to do, then that can be built into your plan. When kids come to expect financial assistance is when it can become problematic.
It would be irresponsible of a financial advisor to not let clients know if they are being unreasonable and overspending in any situation, even when it comes to supporting their children. It’s an advisor’s job to help clients be prudent with money-related decisions and help them navigate their financial life.