Adult Children May Undermine Parents’ Retirement Security

Six in 10 American parents support their adult children financially, according to a study from the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute.

Parents with Millennial children most often help to pay for cell phones and mobile service, college expenses and loans, rent or mortgage payments, and even entertainment costs, such as for movies or sporting events (see “When Adult Children Ask for a Loan”). The majority (57%) of Americans with adult children have at least one adult child living at home, the study found, and nearly three-quarters of parents whose children are 18 to 22 years old have at least one adult child living at home.

“While Millennials are the most educated generation in history, nearly four in 10 are unemployed and many more are underemployed,” says Deb Dupont, associate managing director, LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute. 

“Parents of Millennials, even those over the age of 22, are providing considerable support to their children at a time in their lives when saving from retirement should be a priority,” she adds. Less than half (45%) of parents who have supported their adult children financially in the past year report that this has negatively affected their savings for retirement. However, Dupont points out, many people underestimate the collective impact of incremental costs. 

“Prior LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute research found that more than 50% of pre-retirees have less than $100,000 in financial assets,” Dupont says. “Even $100,000 in total savings will not be enough money to fund the 20 to 30 years these individuals are likely to face in retirement.”

The study findings are based on a nationally representative survey, fielded in July, of 1,009 Americans.