Adult children are eating into parent’s retirement savings: Study

Instead of abruptly cutting your kids off, Oosterhart recommends gradually turning off support and redirecting that cash toward your retirement savings.

Here are a few steps to consider.

• Set limits: Reach a compromise with your child to keep him or her accountable.

For instance, Oosterhart has a client with three kids in college and a high-schooler. She needs to save for retirement, but she also wants to help her kids with their higher education.

“An interesting idea we came up with involves having the kids use loans for college and then her potentially helping with the monthly payment as the kids demonstrate their work ethic and get jobs,” Oosterhart said.

• Get organized: Tally the bills you’re paying and see where you can rein in the expenses and what your child can cover. “The communication is ‘Here’s when the phone bill payment stops and how you can start paying for it,'” said Oosterhart.

• Be realistic: It’s one thing to save responsibly in a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan. It’s an entirely different issue if you’re putting money away for your child at the expense of your own retirement.

“You can borrow your way through school, but you can’t borrow through retirement,” Oosterhart said.

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