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10 Irrefutable Signs It’s Time For Your Adult Children to Be Cut Loose

10 Irrefutable Signs It’s Time For Your Adult Children to Be Cut Loose


Most parents love their children and will do anything for them. You prepare them for life on their own, teach them how to do many things, and considerably more. In short, you put their needs ahead of your own so they can approach adulthood effectively. Unfortunately, some parents struggle to cut that cord and set children on their own.

A new study shows that over half of parents help their adult children financially. It also reveals that 20 percent sacrifice their retirement savings to do so. It can be a challenge for many parents to know when to cut the cord on adult children. Here are ten signs it’s time to have them fly on their own.

You Don’t Have Enough For Retirement

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There’s no way to finance retirement. You likely have no streams of income beyond retirement income and social security.

If you legitimately fear your cash will run out, it’s time to stop giving money away.

It’s Not Clear Where the Money is Going

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It’s one thing if your adult child is truly in need. However, if you have no idea where the money is going, it may be time to stop the flow of funds.

While painful, you need to know where the money is going and what purpose it’s serving.

They Get Upset When You Say No to Them

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When your adult child genuinely needs help, and you’re able, it’s fine to say yes to their needs. However, not every situation is genuine, and you may not always be in the spot to assist. Or, you feel it’s a situation they need to figure out personally.

When you have to tell them no, how do they react? Do they accept your answer and look for another way to solve their problem? If so, that’s typically progress.

On the flip side, do they get angry when you respond in the negative? If they do, it’s likely a sign you need to cut the cord and let them figure things out on their own. Unfortunately, it may be a sign that they expect you to help, regardless of the ask or its impact on your finances.

Your Kids Are Taking Advantage

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Is your child really in need, or are they seemingly taking advantage of you? If it’s the former, there are ways to help them.

However, if it’s the latter it’s time to talk and set some expectations.

There’s No Clear Path For Them to Repay You

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Perhaps you’re of the mindset that the funds aren’t a loan, and they don’t need to repay you. If so, that’s fine. If not, it’s best to have a plan of action.

This can be a painful conversation, but you need to have it especially if you need the funds to live. Clearly communicate what you expect and what you need them to do. If they rebuff, or show no progress, circumstances may warrant cutting them off.

They’re Not Grateful

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Your children don’t need to be ingratiating, but they do need to show thankfulness.

If that isn’t happening, it’s time to have a talk.

Your Emergency Fund Isn’t Fully Funded

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Your needs are just as important as those of your adult children. If you don’t have a fully-funded emergency fund you need to prioritize it.

As a retiree, it’s advisable to have at least 12 months’ worth of living expenses saved. If you don’t have that, giving to your children isn’t a wise move.

They Have a Steady Job and Just Need to Budget

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Budgeting isn’t fun for most people. However, if your child is gainfully employed and not living on a budget, it’s time for them to begin.

Perhaps you can help them create a budget. They can even use a free budgeting app to help them begin.

They Have No Plans to Help You

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Many retirees will face a situation in their lives where they will need long-term care or support. In fact, LongTermCare.gov reports that nearly 70 percent of retirees will need some kind of long-term care services in their final years.

Adult children may be a key part in that. However, when the discussion is brought up what do your children say? Do they bristle at the thought and tell you that you’re on your own, or do they say they will be there to help in whatever capacity that they can?

If it’s the former, it may be a sign they view you largely as a meal ticket and have no interest in showing love to you in your time of need.

Situation After Situation is Avoidable

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A legitimate emergency is one thing. Avoidable situations are something else. If your child seems to be unable to avoid the avoidable, it’s time to have a serious conversation.

The fishing quote is helpful to use here. Clearly communicate you still love them, but it’s time to stop funding mistakes they can easily avoid.

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I’m John Schmoll, a former stockbroker, MBA-grad, published finance writer, and founder of Frugal Rules.

As a veteran of the financial services industry, I’ve worked as a mutual fund administrator, banker, and stockbroker and was Series 7 and 63-licensed, but I left all that behind in 2012 to help people learn how to manage their money.

My goal is to help you gain the knowledge you need to become financially independent with personally-tested financial tools and money-saving solutions.






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