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Here’s a sad story.  You’ve saved your entire life for the day you can retire.  You’ve brought up your children and you hope that they’ll have productive lives.  Unfortunately, one of your children never seems to grow up.  That child dropped out of school, has continually gotten into trouble and you feel that you have to keep helping.

The help that you’ve give has cost you lots of money, time and energy.  The time and energy are good things to have spent.  The money might be something that’ll change what you thought your life was going to be when you retire.

This should be a conscious choice.

If you have a child who is in their late twenties or early thirties and just doesn’t seem to be able to get their life started how you handle this is your choice.  The truth is there isn’t a right answer.

My only suggestion is that you make the choice a conscious one.  Have a thinking partner you can work through these very tough issues with.  Keeping everything inside isn’t going to help.  The more you talk about it with someone who’s going to ask tough questions the better answer you’re going to get.

Your children aren’t all about money.

I get it, this isn’t all about money.  At the same time money has to be part of the equation.  If your child is not able to stand on their own feet economically it does become a financial drain, especially if you’re still the one writing the checks.

I think that money has to be part of the equation.  Someday you’re going to get too old to work.  If you’re spending retirement money supporting an adult child, you need to have really made it a conscious choice….Yea, I’m repeating myself and it’s such an important issue I feel I have to and you should too.

At the same time you might not get help back when you need it.

This fits in with thinking about money.  The chance of you receiving support back for money you’ve advanced to your child you’re still supporting is slim.  You need to think that any money you give to an adult child is gone forever.

You’ve probably read about loans to family and friends.  Those loans have a nasty habit of never being paid back.  If the loan isn’t going to be repaid, why would you think that financial support will come your way when you become old and can’t work anymore.

Are you really doing your child a favor?

This ties into making a conscious choice.  Sometimes tough love is the best way to go.  There is going to be a time when you can’t help anymore.  What will happen to your child when that time comes?  If you don’t prepare them while your able both you and your child might end up in a worse position.

In the end it’s your choice.

You already know what society thinks.  You’ve gotten the looks and you know people are talking about your choice.  You’re the only one that knows all the information.

If you’ve really stepped back, taken a good look, talked with people who have questioned what your doing and then decide adult support is a good idea, go for it.  I’m lucky; both of my children are independent.  It’s easy for me to give you my opinion.  I’ve never lived it.  I get that and in the end it really is all about what’s right for you.

Support might be a good thing…..entitlement isn’t.  Make sure your choice fits in with what you think is important.  You’ll be doing the right thing for you and your child. Isn’t that what counts?

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Topics: retirement planning

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