Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

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Stormbringer
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Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by Stormbringer » Sat May 19, 2018 7:43 am

Our daughter graduates college this weekend. She's debt free, owns her 3 year-old car outright, has about $3K in a Roth-IRA plus another $1K in savings and an "okay" (money-wise) job lined up. So she off to a decent start.

Until now we've subsidized her through car insurance, mobile phone, groceries (mom would buy extra for her), a new computer or iPad now and then, etc. Her new job starts in the mid 30's, so she isn't exactly rolling in cash, but being debt-free and living in the Midwest I think she'll manage. We've thought to help her out a bit yet -- maybe a little money for starter furniture and a new computer as a graduation gift, but ultimately want her to stand on her own. I figure at some point we'll pay for a wedding, and start a 529 for any grandchildren. We plan on paying for a family vacation each year.

I'm curious what other families with means do for their adult children, if anything.
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RadAudit
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by RadAudit » Sat May 19, 2018 8:13 am

Don't know if I qualify in "being with means".

Both of our children are in their 30's. We make a small contribution to one child to day care costs for her two pre-school children. But at Christmas, we provide cash gifts to the other to even up expenditures for the year. (No winners of the grandchildren lottery. No favorites.)

The biggest year of gifts was one in which we helped with a down payment on a house for one and we bought a replacement car for the other (He totaled an old clunker in a parking lot.)

Additionally, from time to time throughout the year, there are reasons for small gifts of clothing, etc. to each which we don't track. And, we rent a house at the beach for a week's vacation and invite the kids.
Last edited by RadAudit on Sat May 19, 2018 8:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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jester14
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by jester14 » Sat May 19, 2018 8:16 am

I really like the vacation piece.

I don't have kids yet, but I do remember when I was fresh out of school making $8 an hour because I couldn't find a "real" job yet. My parents lived in a rural area two states away and it would routinely cost $500+ to fly home. I remember them covering that ticket for me once and it was a huge help.

I think it mattered to me so much because:
-It was a ton of money and I couldn't save much at the time
-I didn't have to miss out on my one chance a year to see them
-I couldn't afford to go on trips with my friends due costs and time off
-It was a huge stress relief

She can also put more savings into her retirement accounts and allocate less to a travel fund if she's assisted by you.

If I have kids one day, I plan on helping out with some travel/vacation related things for them.

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KlingKlang
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by KlingKlang » Sat May 19, 2018 8:26 am

Congratulations to you and your daughter. Sounds like you did a fine job of raising her and that she is off to a good start.

Is she still living at home? If not she needs to make sure that she is not spending too high a percentage of her income on housing. If she is she should be contributing something towards her room and board. She should definitely pay for her own gas, maintenance, car insurance, and mobile phone. If you want to give her house furnishings or electronics as gifts that is fine, but they should be actual gifts and not 'on-demand'.

Our 26 year old daughter is still living at home and driving the 5 year old car that we bought for her in her junior year for transportation to her internship job. She has been employed full time since shortly after graduation. She contributes $200/month for room and board but that includes her cell phone on our family plan. I actually am somewhat disappointed that she hasn't volunteered to contribute more. She probably saves about 80% of her take home pay with the rest going for car expenses and clothes.

Stormbringer
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by Stormbringer » Sat May 19, 2018 8:37 am

KlingKlang wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 8:26 am
Is she still living at home?
No, she's been out of the house and sharing an apartment with a friend near campus for two years. They plan to stay put for one more year to save money. She's worked nearly 30 hours a week throughout college. She has her mom's work ethic (not mine -- I work from home in my slippers most of the time :D ).
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campy2010
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by campy2010 » Sat May 19, 2018 9:24 am

Your daughter is in great shape. If I was in your shoes, I would give her a generous graduation gift, probably cash, and then put the pause button on providing help. Too much "help" takes away her accomplishment of achieving independence, which is extremely important for young adults especially young women.

donall
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by donall » Sat May 19, 2018 9:28 am

Fund her Roth IRAs the first few years. She has an emergency fund, down payment for a house, retirement, etc. Contributions to IRAs are most beneficial when one is in their 20s.

terran
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by terran » Sat May 19, 2018 10:19 am

I wrote a longer reply, but the forum ate it, so here's the cliff notes version. This is based on what my in-laws, who would probably be considered well, off, did/do for us. I think they've struck a pretty good balance.

Give "normal" (birthday and holiday) gifts similar to what you've given until now. If there's anything you want your daughter to do that she can't afford or doesn't want to spend her money on like fly back for an event you'd like her to attend with you then pay for that. It's still fine to expect her to pay to visit you once in awhile, although you might plan on visiting her more until she gets on her feet. I wouldn't start by paying for her to visit you all the time as that might create a lasting expectation, so limit it to things that you really want her at, but that our outside her abilities. If you decide to give anything in addition to this make it irregular and unexpected to avoid establishing a dependency like the economic outpatient care issue described in The Millionaire Next Door.

desafinado
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by desafinado » Sat May 19, 2018 10:33 am

keep in mind as well that your daughter may not want to spend money on stuff that she very much *can* afford just because of loss aversion (I have this problem myself as a newly minted adult child). so if there are things that aren't hugely expensive but that you want to incentivize it might make sense to help with those as well.

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Sat May 19, 2018 10:48 am

AFTER my daughters had closed on their first homes, we gave them $10,000. We didn't want the gift $$$ to just be added to their home selection money pot, so we waited. And one by one swore them to secrecy to prevent the next one to buy from considering the $10,000 as a reason to get a more expensive home.

Additionally, we paid for their living area carpeting to be replaced with laminate flooring, so my wheelchair wouldn't mess up their floor when we visited.

One daughter and son-in-law had a nice brick paver path built for me along the side of their house as I couldn't get into their screened patio from the inside of the house. That was nice, as they grill a lot and it's always nice to enjoy the company outside when the weather is comfortable.

None are in their original homes, but the gift was only for their first homes.

We all still celebrate gifting at birthdays and Christmas, I do know some people cease gifting when the children are launched. Around $50 for birthday, around $100 at Christmas. No plans to change.

Broken Man 1999
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Parthenon
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by Parthenon » Sat May 19, 2018 11:05 am

After graduation from college, when they started working, insisted they max out their 401Ks. I replaced what they put into their 401ks for several years just to get them started saving on a regular basis.

Since then, I have been generous with Christmas, Birthday and Anniversary cash and occasionally paid for vacations we have shared. They don't need it but appreciate the gesture. Give it to them now when it comes in handy; eventually they will get it all.

The grandkids get regular payments into their 529s.

Ed
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Austintatious
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by Austintatious » Sat May 19, 2018 11:17 am

donall wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 9:28 am
Fund her Roth IRAs the first few years. She has an emergency fund, down payment for a house, retirement, etc. Contributions to IRAs are most beneficial when one is in their 20s.
Ah, I like this one. Those early years retirement savings could have over 4 decades of compounding to grow and grow, a wonderful thing to contemplate! You'd by no means have to fund it fully to have a real impact. And she could contribute to it as well if it's a better alternative than her 401k (assuming that she has a satisfactory workplace option). She might even be able to top it off for the year.

staythecourse
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by staythecourse » Sat May 19, 2018 11:20 am

campy2010 wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 9:24 am
Your daughter is in great shape. If I was in your shoes, I would give her a generous graduation gift, probably cash, and then put the pause button on providing help. Too much "help" takes away her accomplishment of achieving independence, which is extremely important for young adults especially young women.
Not in this situation yet (kids only toddler age), but think this is great advice. The best growth comes from struggles. I still remember clearly taking a year of from med school to do a research fellowship at Harvard. They paid nearly nothing, but great experience. I literally ate baloney for 6 months to save enough to do anything like going to a restaurant. This all coming from a doctor's family. I loved it and was a definite experience on understanding the value of money and saving. I can honestly say that was the most impact I have had to my financial journey. Go figure it had nothing to do with reading a textbook or this website. The school of hard knocks are useful in the end.

Good luck.

p.s. I didn't even have enough for healthcare at that time so good thing I didn't get hit by a bus or have a ruptured appendix.

p.s.s. The only thing my parents did pay for once a plane trip for the holidays to visit them as I literally couldn't afford it.
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staythecourse
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by staythecourse » Sat May 19, 2018 11:22 am

Broken Man 1999 wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 10:48 am
AFTER my daughters had closed on their first homes, we gave them $10,000. We didn't want the gift $$$ to just be added to their home selection money pot, so we waited. And one by one swore them to secrecy to prevent the next one to buy from considering the $10,000 as a reason to get a more expensive home.
I like this one. Will have to keep this in mind. As you help out on a HUGE financial move, but also don't entice them to spend more then they can afford.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

TravelforFun
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by TravelforFun » Sat May 19, 2018 11:34 am

We helped two of our adult children with the down payments on their first homes, have been funding a daughter's Roth IRA every year since her income is low, have been funding a grandson's Roth IRA the last three years, and take and pay for a family (kids, spouse, and grandkids) vacation once a year.

Sooner or later, our money will be theirs so might as well enjoy it with them.

TravelforFun

Isabelle77
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by Isabelle77 » Sat May 19, 2018 11:37 am

My graduation gift from my parents was that for two years if I put 15% in my 401k they would write me a check for the same amount. Started me off on the right foot and I never changed it after they stopped the matching.

Dandy
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by Dandy » Sat May 19, 2018 12:43 pm

my 2 daughters are in their mid 30's and 40 married and the older one has 2 young children. We all live in a high cost of living area. Daughters and their spouses both work and are saving/investing and managing money wisely. My wife and I are 69/70 and are in very good financial shape aided with my nice pension and full SS at age 70 that almost covers all our needs.

Both children are struggling a bit despite decent incomes. I hope to live another 20 years. My wife and I discussed do we keep piling up the assets and have the kids wait until we die in 20 years of so. They will be in their mid to late 50's when they get a nice inheritance. We had been giving them some financial assistance along the way but decided to meet with them to discuss our financial position (partly to have them keep an eye on our mental/financial ability as we age). We decided to start a program of early inheritance by gifting them what amounts to about 80% of my net RMD. We are not and will not put our financial security at risk. We want to see them and our grandchildren enjoy life and have a bit less financial stress while we are alive rather than have them wait.

Not everyone can afford to do this. And, sometimes parents have a legitimate concern about making their children not independent enough - we are lucky our kids are in good shape on that front. So, now they drive a bit newer and safer car with our grand kids inside, can afford to keep maxing out their retirement savings, have a bit nicer vacation, less stress etc.

michaeljc70
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by michaeljc70 » Sat May 19, 2018 12:51 pm

I think you should cut out the regularly scheduled help (mobile phone, groceries, etc) if you are still doing that and go with things like you mentioned that are more one time things in nature. Like helping buy furniture, a downpayment on a house, wedding, vacation, etc. I wouldn't want my kids thinking I was going to be paying their regular bills for the rest of their lives.

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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Sat May 19, 2018 1:02 pm

Pay for first 6 months car insurance, giving daughter 6 months to save up the money for car insurance going forward (just so she knows car insurance subsidy ends after x date - no surprises). If you have the means give her “starter” money, if you wish.
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mrsbetsy
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by mrsbetsy » Sat May 19, 2018 1:06 pm

When our daughter started her first real job, we matched her Roth dollar for dollar for two years just to help get her started. We also fund a family vacation every year or so.

She comes over once a week for dinner and we send her home with leftovers.

Otherwise, it's good for her to manage and grow and learn it on her own. She's always been a saver and frugal. She probably saves 30% of her income already.

I do think it is possible to help too much and undermine their path to "adulting". Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

I suppose our viewpoint comes from watching a niece's father help so much that she is now 30 with multiple degrees and still no work ethic or real job. She's lived off her dad for far too long.

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gasman
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by gasman » Sat May 19, 2018 1:09 pm

As long as our kids are making good choices we help generously.
She is working diligently and saving 20% in 401K, so we put $5500 in Roth IRA for her as reward. Generous birthday gifts. Pay her expenses whenever she wants to fly to see us, or attend family functions. Keep her on our cell phone plan. Way cheaper as an extra line for us than a stand alone would be for her. Expect to pay for a wedding and help with child care expenses. Would probably pay for a grand child's private school.
If she wasn't making good choices, we would be less generous.

Quaestner
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by Quaestner » Sat May 19, 2018 1:14 pm

It's a tricky balance that depends on the personalities involved. My daughter is a hard worker finishing nursing school. She'll do fine. But I can see that she could unduly focus on work and saving rather than taking the chance to improve her human capital. She sometimes mentions grad school (maybe to become a Physician's Assistant). Would a boost from parents help motivate her to do this? If we can help keep her out of debt, while encouraging her to build her long-term potential job satisfaction (and, less importantly to us, earning power) by helping with grad school, we would do so. My son on the other hand graduated from college with two degrees in 4 years but can't motivate himself to look for work. I regret helping him graduate debt free. He might be in a better place if we had forced him to pay for some of his schooling so he could gain some work skills. With him, we would gladly pay for counseling, but not any living expenses. In any case, as you wean kids off your help, I would warn them well in advance so they plan ahead. Still pissed at my dad for not telling me I was off his health insurance policy until weeks after I had been removed from it!

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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by HongKonger » Sat May 19, 2018 1:37 pm

I would tell her she can have $X as a graduation gift to spend on what she needs when she needs it with no questions asked, then back off.

DarthSage
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by DarthSage » Sat May 19, 2018 1:38 pm

Our oldest (DD22) is what I consider "launched"--she has her degree, a "real" job (teaching), and she lives 800 miles away. She's always been fiercely independent, so, for example, she's still on our cell phone bill...but sends me a check every 3 months to pay for her portion. I cash the check, mostly because I don't want her to get too comfortable, KWIM?

While we don't contribute towards retirement accounts, she did set up a 403b through her job, and put part of a small inheritance into a Roth, at our recommendation.

She and I have a joint credit card, which she only uses for plane tickets home and Uber/Lyft. I'm okay with both of these--she doesn't currently have a car, and lives and works in a less-than-ideal area.

She was also gifted a nice (6-figure) cushion from her late grandmother. We have emphasized that this is legacy money, and that seems to have stuck. She is living within her means, and seems to have a frugal approach to life.

We also invite her on family vacations, which she attends if schedules permit. We pay for everything except incidentals.

We will likely be generous in other areas in the future. Part of our issue/concern is, we have 4 kids over an 11-year span. We want to keep things relatively equal/balanced. While we recognize this is impossible, and refuse to track everything to the penny, we want to be fair. So if, hypothetically, we told DD22 we were going to pay for college for her firstborn, we need to be prepared to do that for grandchild #12, down the line. Our family places a high value on education and travel, so those are the areas where we're most likely to gift funds.

sport
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by sport » Sat May 19, 2018 1:54 pm

Our grown children are self-sufficient. We do not feel that it is necessary to subsidize them. However, when one of them wanted to do an overseas adoption, we told them we would foot the bill for the adoption expenses. It came to about 30K. I feel that we purchased a grandchild and we are very happy to have done so. I believe they would have gone ahead with the adoption without our help. However, they would have had to raid their 401k to come up with the money. We told them we would also pay for another one if they decided to do that. However, this one has worked out so well, that I think they are afraid to push their luck with another one.

onourway
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by onourway » Sat May 19, 2018 2:21 pm

My parents opened a Roth IRA in my name and made a nominal contribution to it when I graduated. The big thing they did was help me do the legwork to make sure I was contributing to it automatically every month. This put me on track to save tens of thousands of dollars of my own money in my 20's that I never missed and would have otherwise been frittered away. It taught me the lesson of saving first without subsidizing my lifestyle.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Sat May 19, 2018 2:34 pm

HongKonger wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 1:37 pm
I would tell her she can have $X as a graduation gift to spend on what she needs when she needs it with no questions asked, then back off.
That's what we did for both kids. Then we sat on our hands and bit our tongues and let them make their own decisions. Both eventually went to grad school, one a funded doctoral program and one took out loans for a professional degree. They got a small lump sum from an inheritance, but that's about it.

We're considering what to do about gifts for their second graduations, but will not provide ongoing funding for Roth or 401k matching or anything else. To me, that doesn't keep enough separation between our life and their lives. No plans to help with house down payments, although neither is close to wanting a house.

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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by MikeG62 » Sat May 19, 2018 2:44 pm

Stormbringer wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 7:43 am
Our daughter graduates college this weekend. She's debt free, owns her 3 year-old car outright, has about $3K in a Roth-IRA plus another $1K in savings and an "okay" (money-wise) job lined up. So she off to a decent start.

Until now we've subsidized her through car insurance, mobile phone, groceries (mom would buy extra for her), a new computer or iPad now and then, etc. Her new job starts in the mid 30's, so she isn't exactly rolling in cash, but being debt-free and living in the Midwest I think she'll manage. We've thought to help her out a bit yet -- maybe a little money for starter furniture and a new computer as a graduation gift, but ultimately want her to stand on her own. I figure at some point we'll pay for a wedding, and start a 529 for any grandchildren. We plan on paying for a family vacation each year.

I'm curious what other families with means do for their adult children, if anything.
Our second (and last) daughter graduated from college last week. She has a good full time job lined up (got the offer last summer following her internship), which she will begin on Oct 1. We plan to do for her what we did for our older daughter, which was basically as follows:

1. We told her she was welcome to come home and live with us for as long as she wanted (and would not have to pay one dollar toward the housing costs or groceries or dinners out with us) - good opportunity to save a lot of money.
2. We gifted her the car she had been using while in college (late model sedan with low miles).
3. Told her she was responsible for insuring and maintaining the vehicle.
4. We took back the gas credit card she had while in college, and told her she needed to pay for her own personal expenses (gas for car, cloths, hair/nail salon, entertainment expenses for nights out with friends, etc...), although we let her stay on our cell phone plan and EZ pass account (again without charge - because it felt really cheap asking her to pay for those items while she was still living cost free at home).

She recently moved in with her boyfriend and I have gently suggested the two of them should get their own cell plan (and EZ pass account), but that has not happened yet. She said she plans to roll off our plan once her two year contract is up (this fall).

So youngest daughter will get the same deal. She too has chosen to live at home.

We feel this gives them a good head start in their career - live at home rent free and save a lot of money. Once they are out of the house though my expectation is that they pay their own way (if up solely to my DW, she'd happily continue to subsidize a portion of their costs).

We will pay for their weddings and of course give them gifts (birthday's and Christmas) and my wife can't prevent herself from buying stuff for them when she is out and about. I occasionally try and suggest she knock it off, but without much success.

DW wife and I are retired (retired three years now and we are in our early (DW) / mid (me) 50's).

YMMV.
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Nutmeg
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by Nutmeg » Sat May 19, 2018 2:48 pm

Stormbringer wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 7:43 am
Our daughter graduates college this weekend. She's debt free, owns her 3 year-old car outright, has about $3K in a Roth-IRA plus another $1K in savings and an "okay" (money-wise) job lined up. So she off to a decent start.

Until now we've subsidized her through car insurance, mobile phone, groceries (mom would buy extra for her), a new computer or iPad now and then, etc. Her new job starts in the mid 30's, so she isn't exactly rolling in cash, but being debt-free and living in the Midwest I think she'll manage. We've thought to help her out a bit yet -- maybe a little money for starter furniture and a new computer as a graduation gift, but ultimately want her to stand on her own. I figure at some point we'll pay for a wedding, and start a 529 for any grandchildren. We plan on paying for a family vacation each year.

I'm curious what other families with means do for their adult children, if anything.
We pay for monthly cell phone costs for our adult children because it was easy to keep them on our plan, and it would cost more for them to get their own plans. Our marginal cost for each of them is only $20 per month, and we don’t expect reimbursement. Other than that, we don’t pay for any monthly costs.

We enjoy going on vacation with our adult children, and cover all costs except for souvenirs. We also pay for everything when they visit us, and for eating out when we visit them.

When the time came for our children to be financially independent of us, I made a list of all the ways we supported them and included how long each of those items would continue. Some continued until the end of a term (for example, AAA coverage) and the cell phone coverage continues indefinitely.

I think your idea of paying for one-time gifts such as starter furniture and a new computer as graduation gifts is an excellent idea.

Dandy
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by Dandy » Sat May 19, 2018 3:11 pm

There is no right way --each parent must look at their parenting philosophy, their children's personality, work ethic and needs, their own needs and try to make good decisions. So I'm not suggesting any approach is right -- as they say "it depends"

For those who expect they might leave a decent inheritance -- it seemed strange to us to provide total support as children, not support as adults basically at all and then leave a wonderful inheritance as they reach retirement age. I guess some who are in this position and feel independence is important may not leave much to their children and leave the bulk to charity.

If your adult children are doing the "right" things e.g. managing money well, saving for retirement, spending wisely, etc. and they still are struggling a bit, why make them wait, if you can afford not to? Mine aren't young adults where they need to learn to work hard and maybe feel a bit of how hard life can be - mine are closer to middle age and have experienced/passed that test. So, for us, it makes little sense to let them struggle a bit for the next decade or two before getting their inheritance.

Basically, If you are going to leave them a bundle down the road anyway why not some now - assuming they are not young untested adults that need to learn how to live independently and mange money wisely? And of course if you are not putting your own retirement at risk. In our case we never really thought about it -- until we did and then it was :oops: :happy

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munemaker
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by munemaker » Sat May 19, 2018 3:32 pm

A bit embarrassed to say we don't do a lot to help our two adult children. They do not want or need our help. We do Christmas and birthday presents but they pretty much buy everything they want so it is tough. We have been contributing to the grandchildren's 529 plans.

They own homes and are doing well with their retirement savings.

We did pay for 100% of their undergraduate educations (so no student debt), bought them cars when they were in college (which got them started in the real world) and paid for part of their lavish weddings.

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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by BradJ » Sat May 19, 2018 3:46 pm

This is one of the most interesting and polarizing issues in America today, in my opinion. There seems to be very little middle ground, with both camps thinking the other is crazy. The answer to your question is to do what makes you happy while balancing your children’s wishes. I just have to say, parents providing financial help is foreign to me, both me and my wife’s parents told us at 18 that we are on our own. Not to say help is not provided in other ways, but nothing beyond needs......never wants. I have friends whose parents pay for their kids private school (non college)......no way my parents would even blink at that request. My only warning to parents who help adult kids......you may be helping them but hurting future generations. My parents told me spoiling kids can have negative effects that ripple through generations.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by Sandtrap » Sat May 19, 2018 3:55 pm

Sounds like you're doing a great job.
Congratulations.

I help my grown (30+) sons based on merit and their ability to handle their own finances, save, live frugally or with discipline, and maturity. IE: if one family is independent, then I might help them pay for things on a practical basis (driveway security gate system, bathroom remodel for the grandkids, etc). But, it is neither asked for nor expected. Just an occasional impromptu gift. IE: if one fellow is wasteful with his income and then does not have money to fix his car, then I may help on a very limited minimal one time basis. But again, it is neither expected nor requested. Both know that I'm there for critical life and death issues but otherwise are expected to build their own boats and set sail with their own families, and teach their "young'uns" the same strength and fortitude.
Depends on the situation and how they are evolving. Help vs enabling. Entitlement vs earned merit. 2 different things. I think it goes back to the "teach to farm and they will eat forever" vs "give food and they will never learn to farm".

Shouldn't matter whether one has "means" or not. It's the relational dynamic and spirit of nurturing to maturity and independence that's the priority.

Every family dynamic is different and approaches are even more varied according to culture, values, and so forth.

j

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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by delamer » Sat May 19, 2018 4:03 pm

Dandy wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 12:43 pm
my 2 daughters are in their mid 30's and 40 married and the older one has 2 young children. We all live in a high cost of living area. Daughters and their spouses both work and are saving/investing and managing money wisely. My wife and I are 69/70 and are in very good financial shape aided with my nice pension and full SS at age 70 that almost covers all our needs.

Both children are struggling a bit despite decent incomes. I hope to live another 20 years. My wife and I discussed do we keep piling up the assets and have the kids wait until we die in 20 years of so. They will be in their mid to late 50's when they get a nice inheritance. We had been giving them some financial assistance along the way but decided to meet with them to discuss our financial position (partly to have them keep an eye on our mental/financial ability as we age). We decided to start a program of early inheritance by gifting them what amounts to about 80% of my net RMD. We are not and will not put our financial security at risk. We want to see them and our grandchildren enjoy life and have a bit less financial stress while we are alive rather than have them wait.

Not everyone can afford to do this. And, sometimes parents have a legitimate concern about making their children not independent enough - we are lucky our kids are in good shape on that front. So, now they drive a bit newer and safer car with our grand kids inside, can afford to keep maxing out their retirement savings, have a bit nicer vacation, less stress etc.
I inherited a significant amount of money when my mother died. I was already retired myself when I got my inheritance.

From my point-of-view, that was money ill-used. My parents could have enjoyed their money (travel, cars, charity) and/or they could have distributed more to me and my children when it would have made a difference in our lives.

So completely agree with Dandy, why make then wait?

As Dandy also says, I would not jeopardize my own financial security to be generous to my kids. But we can afford to be helpful, and I will use the inheritance to fund house downpayments, retirement accounts, grandchildren’s educations, and other important goals for my kids.

Note that these are all things that require maturity and work on the kids’ parts — a job to have a retirement account, good income to afford a house, marriage and commitment to have children, etc.

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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by Dandy » Sat May 19, 2018 4:17 pm

My parents told me spoiling kids can have negative effects that ripple through generations.
I'm sure there is some truth in that. A lot depends on what people call spoiling. That can range minimal support to paying for almost everything. I think we all have experience the disgust at overly spoiled children/adults. Few of us have had formal parenting skills so we tend to learn for better or worse from our family - sometimes we say "I would never do that" or think "that worked for/on me so I will use that approach". Their are merits to most approaches.

It may also be true that helping adult children who need some help may ripple through generations. I hope our example will ripple through my heirs and their heirs. In our case it has helped maintain strong and loving bonds with our children. We are there for them and hopefully they will be there when/if we need them.

In prior times when families had many children there was more family help, not just financial, but all kinds of support. Those days seem to have past since many if not most families have much fewer children.

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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by BradJ » Sat May 19, 2018 4:33 pm

To the OP, I say continue helping and being there for your kids, no doubt they appreciate it. Ignore people like me who, at times, have a chip on their shoulder because their parents chose not to help them financially. I find it to be somewhat of a social barricade, those who get help can’t seem to click with those who don’t. I’m a millenial whose parents raised their kids like they were living in the 50s. Expected to hold a job at 14, pay for my first car, college and even vacations when we all go together. My wife was raised just a “rough”, and we will both admit we have a tiny chip on our shoulder over those who get help from their parents. But looking back, my parents believed that chip on the shoulder is what sets you apart from the others and helps you survive those tough times.

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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by aspirit » Sat May 19, 2018 4:53 pm

BradJ wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 4:33 pm
To the OP, I say continue helping and being there for your kids, no doubt they appreciate it. Ignore people like me who, at times, have a chip on their shoulder because their parents chose not to help them financially. I find it to be somewhat of a social barricade, those who get help can’t seem to click with those who don’t. I’m a millenial whose parents raised their kids like they were living in the 50s. Expected to hold a job at 14, pay for my first car, college and even vacations when we all go together. My wife was raised just a “rough”, and we will both admit we have a tiny chip on our shoulder over those who get help from their parents. But looking back, my parents believed that chip on the shoulder is what sets you apart from the others and helps you survive those tough times.
As another contrarian I see people kidding themselves all the time.

Theres only one way adults* or children*, or adultchildren* as you seem to prefer, learn to thrive in this world alone, ..do not kid yourself w/exceptions & platitudes.

What happens when your support is gone?
Time & tides wait for no one. A man has to know his limitations.

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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by BradJ » Sat May 19, 2018 5:08 pm

aspirit wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 4:53 pm
BradJ wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 4:33 pm
To the OP, I say continue helping and being there for your kids, no doubt they appreciate it. Ignore people like me who, at times, have a chip on their shoulder because their parents chose not to help them financially. I find it to be somewhat of a social barricade, those who get help can’t seem to click with those who don’t. I’m a millenial whose parents raised their kids like they were living in the 50s. Expected to hold a job at 14, pay for my first car, college and even vacations when we all go together. My wife was raised just a “rough”, and we will both admit we have a tiny chip on our shoulder over those who get help from their parents. But looking back, my parents believed that chip on the shoulder is what sets you apart from the others and helps you survive those tough times.
As another contrarian I see people kidding themselves all the time.

Theres only one way adults* or children*, or adultchildren* as you seem to prefer, learn to thrive in this world alone, ..do not kid yourself w/exceptions & platitudes.

What happens when your support is gone?
Would you please elaborate?

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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by MnD » Sat May 19, 2018 5:35 pm

The adult (23 and 25) kids are phone #3 and #4 on the Cricket cell/date plan so $30/month for both.
Christmas and birthday gifts are 600 to 700 range in cash or services if needed - last Christmas one kid got new brakes and rotors instead of cash.
I gave the last "teen car" that kids drove when in HS and college (battered 2002 Subaru) I owned to my youngest when he graduated. It had just been "totaled" for relatively minor hail damage so had little to no market value and my oldest had no interest in it. Kids still on our health insurance which costs us nothing extra - our choices at work are single or family. One will age out next year and sign up for her work health plan and the other will age out in 2.5 years.

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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by KlangFool » Sat May 19, 2018 5:47 pm

Stormbringer wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 7:43 am
Our daughter graduates college this weekend. She's debt free, owns her 3 year-old car outright, has about $3K in a Roth-IRA plus another $1K in savings and an "okay" (money-wise) job lined up. So she off to a decent start.

Until now we've subsidized her through car insurance, mobile phone, groceries (mom would buy extra for her), a new computer or iPad now and then, etc. Her new job starts in the mid 30's, so she isn't exactly rolling in cash, but being debt-free and living in the Midwest I think she'll manage. We've thought to help her out a bit yet -- maybe a little money for starter furniture and a new computer as a graduation gift, but ultimately want her to stand on her own. I figure at some point we'll pay for a wedding, and start a 529 for any grandchildren. We plan on paying for a family vacation each year.

I'm curious what other families with means do for their adult children, if anything.
Stormbringer,

1) If she could manage on her own, but you choose to help her, how is that helpful?

2) It is very useful for her to live within her mean. But, if you help her out by buying a bunch of stuff, are you helping her to live above her mean? If you do that, are you planning to support her for the rest of her life?

3) If she did not ask for financial help, let it be. If she asked for help, think very carefully.

My kids will graduate with about 20K to 30K worth of investment. They saved all those money and I help them to invest the money over the years. If they lived with us after graduation, I expect them to pay rent. If I am forced to early retire and not enough money for early retirement, I expect them to contribute some amount towards my retirement. This is part and parcel of being an adult in my culture. It may not apply in your case.

KlangFool

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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by BradJ » Sat May 19, 2018 5:57 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 5:47 pm
Stormbringer wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 7:43 am
Our daughter graduates college this weekend. She's debt free, owns her 3 year-old car outright, has about $3K in a Roth-IRA plus another $1K in savings and an "okay" (money-wise) job lined up. So she off to a decent start.

Until now we've subsidized her through car insurance, mobile phone, groceries (mom would buy extra for her), a new computer or iPad now and then, etc. Her new job starts in the mid 30's, so she isn't exactly rolling in cash, but being debt-free and living in the Midwest I think she'll manage. We've thought to help her out a bit yet -- maybe a little money for starter furniture and a new computer as a graduation gift, but ultimately want her to stand on her own. I figure at some point we'll pay for a wedding, and start a 529 for any grandchildren. We plan on paying for a family vacation each year.

I'm curious what other families with means do for their adult children, if anything.
Stormbringer,

1) If she could manage on her own, but you choose to help her, how is that helpful?

2) It is very useful for her to live within her mean. But, if you help her out by buying a bunch of stuff, are you helping her to live above her mean? If you do that, are you planning to support her for the rest of her life?

3) If she did not ask for financial help, let it be. If she asked for help, think very carefully.

My kids will graduate with about 20K to 30K worth of investment. They saved all those money and I help them to invest the money over the years. If they lived with us after graduation, I expect them to pay rent. If I am forced to early retire and not enough money for early retirement, I expect them to contribute some amount towards my retirement. This is part and parcel of being an adult in my culture. It may not apply in your case.

KlangFool

#2 is so true it hurts. First off, no kid says no to money and once they get a touch of the “sweet life” (beyond their means).....it’s hard to go back. I once read where 25% of people who go back to work after retirement do so because they are still helping adult children.

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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by S&L1940 » Sat May 19, 2018 6:00 pm

Three adult children, married with kids of their own.
When they need cash: buying a house, car, schooling for the grandchildren or healthcare, we help out telling them it is a down payment on their eventual inheritance. NO, we do not keep track of the dollars, simply a family joke because we feel if there is a need now, why make them sweat out the years until we are gone? Discretionary spend is a different category...
Don't it always seem to go * That you don't know what you've got * Till it's gone

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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by ChrisC » Sat May 19, 2018 6:05 pm

BradJ wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 5:08 pm
aspirit wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 4:53 pm
BradJ wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 4:33 pm
To the OP, I say continue helping and being there for your kids, no doubt they appreciate it. Ignore people like me who, at times, have a chip on their shoulder because their parents chose not to help them financially. I find it to be somewhat of a social barricade, those who get help can’t seem to click with those who don’t. I’m a millenial whose parents raised their kids like they were living in the 50s. Expected to hold a job at 14, pay for my first car, college and even vacations when we all go together. My wife was raised just a “rough”, and we will both admit we have a tiny chip on our shoulder over those who get help from their parents. But looking back, my parents believed that chip on the shoulder is what sets you apart from the others and helps you survive those tough times.
As another contrarian I see people kidding themselves all the time.

Theres only one way adults* or children*, or adultchildren* as you seem to prefer, learn to thrive in this world alone, ..do not kid yourself w/exceptions & platitudes.

What happens when your support is gone?
Would you please elaborate?
I think he means you nourish them, support them, and launch them with all the necessary emotional help and assistance that would provide them with the ability to thrive on their own. My job as a parent is to facilitate their ability to fend for themselves when we’re not around.

Getting back to the OP’s question, we launched our kids with funding college educations, paying for a good used car at graduation, lending some support for weddings and honeymoons, helping out with house down down payments, and funding 529s for grandkids.

In the future, we will fund one annual family vacation for all of us. And we hope to make this a family tradition so that we can all be together at least once a year. We don’t envision any other future assistance other than 529 plans.

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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by Point » Sat May 19, 2018 6:06 pm

We fund our daughters Roth. We see this as matching her work income and it means she’ll be compounding for years to come.

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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by Gnirk » Sat May 19, 2018 6:07 pm

I have helped my adult children when they needed it- mostly involving job layoffs, when I’ve paid their medical insurance, helped with replacing an aging and barely working computer, etc. I also disclaimed a portion of an inheritance so that portion went directly to them, which they invested.

They are both single and self- supporting, and it’s funny....I’ve always been the one to “treat” for lunches, and now they buy lunch. As my oldest DD said, “ mom, I have a good job, I can pay for both our lunches”. 😄

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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by Sandtrap » Sat May 19, 2018 6:07 pm

delamer wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 4:03 pm
Dandy wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 12:43 pm
my 2 daughters are in their mid 30's and 40 married and the older one has 2 young children. We all live in a high cost of living area. Daughters and their spouses both work and are saving/investing and managing money wisely. My wife and I are 69/70 and are in very good financial shape aided with my nice pension and full SS at age 70 that almost covers all our needs.

Both children are struggling a bit despite decent incomes. I hope to live another 20 years. My wife and I discussed do we keep piling up the assets and have the kids wait until we die in 20 years of so. They will be in their mid to late 50's when they get a nice inheritance. We had been giving them some financial assistance along the way but decided to meet with them to discuss our financial position (partly to have them keep an eye on our mental/financial ability as we age). We decided to start a program of early inheritance by gifting them what amounts to about 80% of my net RMD. We are not and will not put our financial security at risk. We want to see them and our grandchildren enjoy life and have a bit less financial stress while we are alive rather than have them wait.

Not everyone can afford to do this. And, sometimes parents have a legitimate concern about making their children not independent enough - we are lucky our kids are in good shape on that front. So, now they drive a bit newer and safer car with our grand kids inside, can afford to keep maxing out their retirement savings, have a bit nicer vacation, less stress etc.
I inherited a significant amount of money when my mother died. I was already retired myself when I got my inheritance.

From my point-of-view, that was money ill-used. My parents could have enjoyed their money (travel, cars, charity) and/or they could have distributed more to me and my children when it would have made a difference in our lives.

So completely agree with Dandy, why make then wait?

As Dandy also says, I would not jeopardize my own financial security to be generous to my kids. But we can afford to be helpful, and I will use the inheritance to fund house downpayments, retirement accounts, grandchildren’s educations, and other important goals for my kids.

Note that these are all things that require maturity and work on the kids’ parts — a job to have a retirement account, good income to afford a house, marriage and commitment to have children, etc.
+1
I recently paid off my son's home mortgage. He and his wife saved for it, paid the downpayment, and handled it well for 2 years. At that point, I stepped in to give them a surprise. My son is also a "Boglehead". And, if any grandkid wants to go to med school, etc, consider it paid for. I'm fortunate that these expenses are within my "means".
j

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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by aspirit » Sat May 19, 2018 6:10 pm

BradJ wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 5:08 pm
aspirit wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 4:53 pm
BradJ wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 4:33 pm
To the OP, I say continue helping and being there for your kids, no doubt they appreciate it. Ignore people like me who, at times, have a chip on their shoulder because their parents chose not to help them financially. I find it to be somewhat of a social barricade, those who get help can’t seem to click with those who don’t. I’m a millenial whose parents raised their kids like they were living in the 50s. Expected to hold a job at 14, pay for my first car, college and even vacations when we all go together. My wife was raised just a “rough”, and we will both admit we have a tiny chip on our shoulder over those who get help from their parents. But looking back, my parents believed that chip on the shoulder is what sets you apart from the others and helps you survive those tough times.
As another contrarian I see people kidding themselves all the time.

Theres only one way adults* or children*, or adultchildren* as you seem to prefer, learn to thrive in this world alone, ..do not kid yourself w/exceptions & platitudes.

What happens when your support is gone?
Would you please elaborate?
Well, its not my thread and I do not want to argue or jeopardize the OPs thread.
However, like you mention, and if I understand its meaning correctly.
I too am thankful today for my spartan 3 hots & a cot upbringing in the 50s+60s, till I was shown the door, or started paying rent @ 18yrs old. :happy iykwim.
Time & tides wait for no one. A man has to know his limitations.

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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by BradJ » Sat May 19, 2018 6:18 pm

Parents who do help their kids out, what are your thoughts on parents who don’t help their kids? When I say help, I mean things like college, home, grandkids college, etc.

BradJ
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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by BradJ » Sat May 19, 2018 6:22 pm

I remember the day clearly when knew I was being raised like a “spartan”......went to my dad telling him my college grades were slipping due to my long work hours, and I was also struggling with money a little. I was living at home for free at the time (spartan-lite).....My dad laughs and says two things I don’t need at my age is sleep and straight As, told me to get two jobs, keep a decent GPA and sleep when I graduate.

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Re: Helping Adult Children (but not too much)

Post by TravelforFun » Sat May 19, 2018 6:50 pm

BradJ wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 6:18 pm
Parents who do help their kids out, what are your thoughts on parents who don’t help their kids? When I say help, I mean things like college, home, grandkids college, etc.
We realize every family is different. We help our kids quite a bit (see post above) and they're very appreciative of it. As long as we are sure our retirement is fully funded, we don't mind helping our kids out financially.

TravelforFun

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