In the March 1, 2018 edition of Financial Advisor, Greg Sullivan writes about the financial wreckage of parents with children who fail to become financially independent adults in his article, When Adult Children Wreck Parents’ Retirement. The article reminds me of two important lessons.
First, if your children are young, now is the time to instill in them that becoming a financially independent adult is non-negotiable. My wife, Tracy, and I have three junior-high-school age children living at home currently, at least for five more weeks. Then, my oldest is off to high school. Tracy and I have taken a decidedly transparent approach to finances in order to hopefully help our children grow into financially responsible and independent adults (I’ll keep you posted on our success:). There are a number of financial principles we have attempted to ingrain in them by now. Here are three: A) God gets our first fruits. Before we go spending what God has entrusted to us, we discuss how and where we can give it back to God as a showing of gratitude for His provision and to obediently care about what God does with our finances; B) If we don’t have the money, we don’t buy it. Credit cards are not options; and C) Money doesn’t grow on trees. We work hard for it. Our kids know that when they turn sixteen, they must have employment, and until then they nearly always contribute some of their allowance and chore money to purchases and outings they desire.
The second reminder from Greg’s article is if your children are adults and not financially self-sufficient, it’s not too late for them to learn to become financially independent, and you can help them by allowing, and, even yes, requiring them to do so! Read Greg’s article for some strategies.