When your own flesh and blood needs money, you probably like to say
yes. Here’s how to decide if you can.
FIGURE OUT WHAT IT WILL COST YOU
Before you write a check, you must run the numbers: How much do you need to save for retirement every month, and once you’ve put that aside, how much do you have left over? “I’ve heard from so many parents who helped their kids and only later realized that it would cost them an extra three years in the workforce,” says Jean Chatzky, More’s finance columnist. Not sure how to do the calculations? Try the Ballpark E$timate at choosetosave.org. In the end, you may have to offer your spare room rather than monthly cash.
WHAT TO AVOID
Don’t send your child money with no strings attached. “Where parents go wrong is by not discussing what’s expected of the kids as they’re being helped,” Chatzky says. You might agree to help out as long as your son is going on two job interviews a month (and can show you evidence) or let your daughter move home for a year to save for an apartment.
If you feel you need to charge some nominal rent, be clear about your terms up front. “If an adult child shows you that he or she is taking steps in the right direction, then supplementing what they’re earning or allowing them to live at home can make sense,” Chatzky says.