Consumer Watch: Should you cut off your adult kids?

Helping your adult children may come second nature, but there comes a time you should pick your finances over theirs. (KOKH).

More adults report sharing their living space in the United States. The numbers are up more than 20 million compared to 1995. Part of the reason is parents moving in with kids, according to pew research. There is also a trend of adult children moving back in with mom and dad.

Parents can put their own finances at risk trying to help their adult children. If you can't afford it, you should not help your children with money. If you are able to afford it, there will come a time that the help will need to end.

Lending family money can be a difficult journey to navigate. Family bonds are strong, but money issues can fracture them, so, if your adult child need help, it's important to start will a plan before saying yes.

“If you are needing to help your child, and you have the means to do it, come up with a plan for how long the aid will last, so how long are you going to financially help them, and when it will end,” says Tabatha Thurman, a WEOKIE Federal Credit Union financial education specialist.

She says having this plan will create clear expectations about how much time your child has to get on their feet. If you are helping, make sure you can still pay for all of your bills and continue saving for retirement.

“I know that is very, very hard. I am a mother as well of almost a five-year-old, and I can't imagine, if he needed something, not to be able to help him out, but there does come a time when you are going to need to take care of your own bills, and your own financial situation,” says Thurman.

If you want to help, but cannot afford to give your child money, you could lessen their burden by sharing your home, so they can focus their money on bills. Even if you are only sharing your space, it's still important to have an agreement about when the adult child will move out.

Thurman says it is a bad idea to cash out your retirement to help an adult child financially. More people are opting to borrow against their retirement for an influx of cash. Before you do this, talk to a retirement advisor to see how this might affect your retirement. Borrowing against your retirement could make it so you have to wait longer to retire, and you may also be unable to earn interest in that account while you have a loan out.

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