Are You Supporting Grown Children? Study Says Many Are

BY STEVE DINNEN

When it comes to money matters, are we mollycoddling our adult, out-of-the-house children? A new study from Merrill Lynch certainly suggests this possibility.

There are 173 million of us parents in the U.S., and Merrill Lynch found that 54 percent of us are paying some, if not all, of our adult children’s cell phone bills. Another 60 percent of us are paying for weddings.

No great surprises there, I suspect. Isn’t it customary to shoulder wedding expenses, at least for the bride? I’m the father of two daughters, and that’s what everyone led me to believe.

And what’s to hurt with a little cell phone help? Doesn’t that set up an expectation that maybe they could call their mother every now and then? Are you gonna let your kids go hungry because you won’t stand for an occasional grocery bill?

The surprise is the amount spent on our kids, estimated by Merrill Lynch to be around $500 billion a year. That’s double what we spend on ourselves by way of retirement account funding.

Personally, my retirement account is in fine shape. And so is whatever inter-generational financial support I care to indulge. I’m proud that I’ve done well over the years. And just as proud to occasionally share the wealth. Charity begins at home, remember.

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