Tips for Parents to Encourage Independence if Supporting Adult Children

  • Understand where your child is coming from. This will allow you to make a more informed decision about whether or not you want/or can help them through a rough spot.

  • Examine your own financial situation. If helping your child means you won't be saving as much as you had hoped for your later years, you should reconsider. Perhaps you can help in other ways. For example, you could offer a used family car that you no longer need, or draw on your professional connections to help him or her secure a higher-paying job. You also could offer to have your child live with you for a short period of time if he or she can contribute to household expenses.

  • Pay attention to the request. Before you offer any money, find out why your child is asking, and consider the likelihood that he or she may seek your help again.

  • Establish a plan. When you have agreed upon a plan, draw up a written contract. The more seriously you take the situation, the more likely your child will, too.

  •  If you are loaning money outright, consider charging a small interest rate. Charging a small interest rate on money loaned will encourage your child to pay the money back in a timely manner and avoid borrowing in the future.

  • If you agree to pay off your child's credit card debt, insist that this is a one-time offer. If adult children believe you will bail them out every time they get in over their heads, they may never learn the risks and rewards associated with credit.

  • Require adult children who live at home to help with household responsibilities, financial and otherwise. Parents should charge a small amount of rent to help pay for household expenses. This will encourage young adults to save and remind them that the situation is temporary.


  • Paul Golden

    Media Relations Director

    Direct: 303-224-3514
    Cell: 303-918-3620
    [email protected]