Adult Children Today: Dependency Redefined

Adult kids financially dependent on their parentsThose of us with children who are recent college graduates might wonder if we’re the only ones continuing to support them financially in a big way.

It turns out, we’re far from alone. In fact, a recent consumer survey by Vibrant Nation, an online community focusing on Baby Boomer women, finds that parents are supporting their adult kids (defined as up to age 30) in all sorts of ways:

 Paying for cellphone service: ~60% of parents are supporting
 Paying for insurance: ~53%
 Paying for rent: ~39%
 Paying for non-school related trips and travel: ~38%
 Paying for clothing: ~36%
 Paying for cars and computers: ~33%

Looking down this list, it’s no wonder so many “empty nesters” feel like their child-raising years are far from over!

[But thank goodness for small favors: At least it’s only a minority of parents who are buying their adult kids automobiles and computers.]

Thinking back ~35 years ago when I finished my college studies, there wasn’t one thing on the list above that my parents covered for me (although they were helpful when it came to loaning me money for the down payment on my first home purchase — barely three years out of school).

So at first blush, it’s quite startling to see these numbers. Then again, considering the ugly employment situation for today’s recent college graduates, perhaps it’s not so surprising after all.

And there’s another interesting twist to the “new dependency” as well. In the past, once adult children left home – financially as well as physically – it was much easier for them to break the ties of parental influence and control. I don’t recall asking my folks for their opinion about much of anything in those years following school.

Today, with kids so financially dependent on their parents for pretty much anything of consequence, it’s much easier for parents to exert that influence.

Let’s just say, our opinions carry a lot more weight.

How about you? In what ways are you continuing to support your adult kids? And is there a downside?

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