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Parents Feeling the Strain Of Unemployed Adult Children

David McNew, Getty Images

As the unemployment rate continues to hurt college graduates, more and more parents are finding themselves bearing the financial brunt for taking care of them.

That’s according to a study by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) which found that 59% of parents financially support their adult child between the ages of 18 and 39.

Nearly 48% help their adult kids with living expenses, 41% with transportation costs and 29% with spending money. “The problem is that many of these parents are compromising their own retirement in order to help out,” said Paul Golden, NEFE spokesman. “26 percent of the parents who are helping their adult children say they’ve taken on additional debt.”

“13 percent admit they’ve delayed a life event like a vacation or buying a house,” said Golden. “Seven percent have gone so far as to put off their own retirement indefinitely.”

“We’re not talking about adult children who are trying to get everything they can out of their parents,” said Golden. “These are adults who are falling on hard times and they want to keep the household harmonious, so they’re helping out as much as they can as well.”

But, limits do need to be set. “You really need to think long and hard about how you help your child because you don’t want to jeopardize your own financial future.”

Experts suggest you talk to your children about their financial needs, help cut down their expenses and only pay for the essentials.

“It wouldn’t hurt to put a timeline on just how long you plan to help your adult child and re-evaluate the situation after that time frame,” said Golden. “If you’re loaning money, don’t feel bad if you charge a little bit of interest to teach your child how the real world works. Ultimately, you want to encourage independence.”

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