Adult Children Are Costing Many Parents Their Retirement Savings (cbsnews.com)

pgmrdlm shares a report from CBS News: Half of American parents are unable to save as much as they’d like to for retirement, and their grown offspring — whom they still count as dependents — are to blame, according to a new Bankrate.com study. While they likely mean well, parents who support children into young adulthood often end up encumbered when they reach retirement age. They can inadvertently hamstring their kids, too.

Seventeen percent of the couples surveyed by Bankrate.com said that they sacrificed their own retirement savings by “a lot” to help their adult children. Another 34 percent said they’d “somewhat” sacrificed their savings plans. Not surprisingly, the lowest earners saved the least. Seventeen percent of couples making less than a combined $50,000 a year and have at least one child who is 18 or older said they were helping pay their adult children’s bills but not setting aside any money for retirement. The study found a generational divide when it comes to perceptions of parents supporting adult children. “Millennials between the ages of 23 and 38 believe they should be supported for longer, and expect some expenses, like student loans, to be covered up to the age of 23,” reports CBS News. “Baby boomers, meanwhile, think parents should wean children off their bank accounts sooner across almost every category of expense, including cell phone bills, car payments and travel costs.” Millennials and baby boomers both agree that young adults by age 23 should be wholly response for bigger ticket expenses like health insurance.

Economic analyst Mark Hamrick says the 2008 financial crisis, Great Recession and lack of substantial wage growth are to blame for this dynamic. Changing societal norms also come in to play, as many young adults are “opting to pursue higher education, thereby delaying their entries into the workforce,” the report says. “And by the time these degree-holders enter the workforce, they’re saddled with student debt…”

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