I am re blogging from my dear friend and Invested Momma, Jackie McCann Scott. Jackie's blog is a monthly feature in our local newspaper The Telegram. Enjoy!
Watching him walk through those double doors, I caught myself taking a deep breath. He was at least ten paces ahead of me, but the warnings from earlier that morning were still echoing in my ears: “No pictures. No tears. And - whatever you do - don’t hug me, Mom!”
Ahh, the first day of Junior High.
Social media sites were alive this week with posts from proud and sentimental Mamas like me sharing pics of their kids. First day of kindergarten. First day of high school. First day of the rest of your life.
Most lamented where the years had gone and many craved a ‘pause’ button to help keep their babies forever young.
However, the social media sites told a different storylast week.
CIBC just released a poll that found two thirds of Canadian parents are financially supporting their adultchildren in some way. Whether through allowing them to live at home for free, paying their cell phone bills or buying their groceries, the amount being doled out monthly ranges from $100-$500, with one in four parents spending at the high end of that range. One financial expert even went so far as to call this the “new normal” for Canadian families.
Susan Eng, VP of Advocacy for CARP, spoke on CTV news of the growth in multigenerational households and predicted that the trend of adult children living with and being financially supported by their parents may be here to stay. CARP (www.carp.ca) is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization that advocates for “financial security, equitable access to health care and freedom from age discrimination.” She said the findings in this poll were no surprise to her or CARP members.
So for those of us who can't bear the thought of our kids ever leaving home, is this good news?
Let’s consider the rest of the report’s findings. Nearly half of those polled said supporting their adult children has hindered their ability to save for their own retirement and 20% have had to delay retirement altogether. It seems the empty nest has been replaced by the empty nest egg.
I love my children dearly, but I can tell you that would not work for this Mama.
I believe part of raising our children is teaching them how to be self-sufficient and encouraging them to stand on their own feet. Financially and otherwise. I firmly believe our responsibilities as parents include saving for their education (so they won’t be overburdened with post-secondary debt), educating them on budgeting and money management (so they will be prepared for the real world) and teaching them that they can’t always get what they want (at least not without a plan and a little hard work and patience). I also believe “No” can be a very liberating word. For us and for our children.
As a Financial Advisor, I was not shocked by this report’s findings. But I am always shocked when parents mindlessly hand over cash to their grown children without having any discussion about if they, themselves, can afford it and how long those handouts will last. Deciding if and how much to give our adult children should first involve looking at our own budgets and the impact it will have on our financial plans. We also need to consider why the adult child needs the money (i.e.; job loss or shopping addiction) and help them find a longer term solution that does not include our check book.
As a parent, I’m not saying the Bank of Mom and Dad will be closed for business the day my child gets a full time job. But I am saying that if they need financial aid beyond that point, it will have some strings attached.