To What Extent Do You Subsidize Adult Children ?

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chrismj
Posts: 136
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2017 1:12 pm

Re: To What Extent Do You Subsidize Adult Children ?

Post by chrismj »

This is a recurring topic so I'll just copy my post from the previous thread, and written from the perspective of an "unsubsidized" adult child:


This thread is very enlightening. I'm 36 39 and I think I see why it's been so difficult for some of my friends to buy a house the last few years - people's parents (or grandparents) buy it for them.

And then my wife and I wonder how some of our peers are paying for private school plus two new cars plus those vacations - people's parents buy them for them.

That cabin on the lake? People's parents help paid for that.

Maybe not paid for by writing a check but with all of this talk of down payments or gifts or retirement contributions there is supplemental income.

On one hand this is less a criticism of the parent offering the money and more about my peers accepting it. You're a grown up and your parents are still paying for stuff? Really expensive stuff, too. And sometimes it's not even that they've received money yet but knowing there's a bunch of money coming down the road when someone dies.

I think this insulates the adult children from a lot of experiences or feelings that most other people will face. And the parents may think their kids are independent because they have a good job and are successful in other things but their kids may still have a sense of obligation to the parent that affects their decision making - another form of debt.

And sometimes that may be what the parent gets out of it - keeping their child closer to them which is perfectly understandable. My wife and I are wary of that because nothing's free. We see other peers who accept money/gifts/childcare from their parents/grandparents but there are sometimes strings attached or little forms of manipulation or control.

Paying tuition seems like a gray area. I think supporting someone who's still a kid with a heavy expense is a normal parenting thing but saying I won't pay for your school unless you get an engineering degree is manipulative.

We'll pay for stuff for our kids while they're kids. We'll get them a cheap car when they're in high school not because they need it but so we don't have to drive them around - a form of independence for us. We'll probably pay for college if they want to go.


[Update 5/14/24] My peers in their 30s accepting benefits from their parents or grandparents is pretty widespread so much so that maybe adult children not accepting these is the exception. I don't know, I haven't taken an official poll or anything. It's refreshing though to find someone who isn't receiving these benefits, and there is a very slight connection you feel knowing you share the same path. It's also just something you have for yourself - something you experience that is yours and you can reflect on.

That's what I mean above about insulating someone (adult child) from experiencing something. Saving money for a down payment on a house and then living in the house that you bought on your own might come with a different feeling of ownership. Paying for daycare is hard and writing that check every month brings a certain feeling with it, and then when your kids are out of daycare NOT writing that check feels really, really good. Some of our peers don't have that experience and don't share any connection on that point.

Maybe that self-reflection or the connection between peers is replaced with a different connection between parent and (adult) child. I don't know what that feels like so I guess I can't compare. I love my parents and we have a good relationship but it just doesn't involve them providing financial benefits.

Maybe I'm looking at this the wrong way but I would rather have less on my own than have more that someone else can claim.
Cruise
Posts: 2817
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 6:17 pm

Re: To What Extent Do You Subsidize Adult Children ?

Post by Cruise »

chrismj wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 10:47 am This is a recurring topic so I'll just copy my post from the previous thread, and written from the perspective of an "unsubsidized" adult child:


This thread is very enlightening. I'm 36 39 and I think I see why it's been so difficult for some of my friends to buy a house the last few years - people's parents (or grandparents) buy it for them.

And then my wife and I wonder how some of our peers are paying for private school plus two new cars plus those vacations - people's parents buy them for them.

That cabin on the lake? People's parents help paid for that.

Maybe not paid for by writing a check but with all of this talk of down payments or gifts or retirement contributions there is supplemental income.

On one hand this is less a criticism of the parent offering the money and more about my peers accepting it. You're a grown up and your parents are still paying for stuff? Really expensive stuff, too. And sometimes it's not even that they've received money yet but knowing there's a bunch of money coming down the road when someone dies.

I think this insulates the adult children from a lot of experiences or feelings that most other people will face. And the parents may think their kids are independent because they have a good job and are successful in other things but their kids may still have a sense of obligation to the parent that affects their decision making - another form of debt.

And sometimes that may be what the parent gets out of it - keeping their child closer to them which is perfectly understandable. My wife and I are wary of that because nothing's free. We see other peers who accept money/gifts/childcare from their parents/grandparents but there are sometimes strings attached or little forms of manipulation or control.

Paying tuition seems like a gray area. I think supporting someone who's still a kid with a heavy expense is a normal parenting thing but saying I won't pay for your school unless you get an engineering degree is manipulative.

We'll pay for stuff for our kids while they're kids. We'll get them a cheap car when they're in high school not because they need it but so we don't have to drive them around - a form of independence for us. We'll probably pay for college if they want to go.


[Update 5/14/24] My peers in their 30s accepting benefits from their parents or grandparents is pretty widespread so much so that maybe adult children not accepting these is the exception. I don't know, I haven't taken an official poll or anything. It's refreshing though to find someone who isn't receiving these benefits, and there is a very slight connection you feel knowing you share the same path. It's also just something you have for yourself - something you experience that is yours and you can reflect on.

That's what I mean above about insulating someone (adult child) from experiencing something. Saving money for a down payment on a house and then living in the house that you bought on your own might come with a different feeling of ownership. Paying for daycare is hard and writing that check every month brings a certain feeling with it, and then when your kids are out of daycare NOT writing that check feels really, really good. Some of our peers don't have that experience and don't share any connection on that point.

Maybe that self-reflection or the connection between peers is replaced with a different connection between parent and (adult) child. I don't know what that feels like so I guess I can't compare. I love my parents and we have a good relationship but it just doesn't involve them providing financial benefits.

Maybe I'm looking at this the wrong way but I would rather have less on my own than have more that someone else can claim.
What an awesome post. Thanks for sharing. Should be read by every graduating senior.
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