Many parents of adult children — and those who have opinions about them — are convinced that by helping out your children financially, you are somehow damaging them in myriad ways. From killing their motivation to succeed to turning them into spoiled brats, it seems that the general consensus is, "If I could survive on beans while sleeping in a sleeping bag on a floor, so can these millennials."
My kids, 23 and 25, are both out of college and working, and we still help them out — not a lot, but some — financially. There is nothing lazy or unmotivated about either of them. We have good reasons to help them – whether it be because they need the help or because we want to do it.
1. They work hard at their jobs and love what they do. My son works two jobs — one for pay, one as an intern. My daughter found her dream job right out of college; 3 years later, she is still working at the same company and has been promoted. They both work an average of 50-60 hours a week. They are both the antithesis of the myth of the millennial slacker.
2. My daughter lives in Los Angeles. There are very few places in the world more expensive than L.A., but for her career, this is the best place to be.
3. It's cheaper to keep them on our cell phone plan than for them to get their own. The extra $100 a month we pay for both of their phones isn't going to break us, so we keep paying their bills. Plus, they have to answer when we call them since we pay for the service.
4. Our son is an independent contractor, so we keep him on our health insurance plan. However, we don't pay for his co-pays or any medication he needs — he pays for that himself. Our daughter has health insurance through her employer.
5. Time is money. We want to see our son, who lives 8 hours away by car. This means that a weekend visit involves a plane flight home or two flights for us to visit him, plus a hotel. More often than not we fly him home. It's worth every penny to spend time with him.
6. I enjoy shopping for clothes with my daughter. There you go. Sue me. When she was born, 25 years ago, I started buying her clothes and I haven't stopped since. Am I indulging her? A little. But it makes me happy.
7. They aren't whiners. Sometimes it's tough on them to live on the money they earn — just like it is for most people. Big expenses — car repairs, taxes, etc. — are up to them. There are no "allowances" given each month, and when they come to us for help it's usually for a good reason. If it's not, we say no.
8. Family time is invaluable. We enjoy being with our kids as much now — if not more — as we did when they were children. They couldn't afford to pay their way to travel for our annual family get-together, nor could they spend the money to go out to a nice dinner with us as often as we like. By treating our children, we are treating ourselves to time with them.
9. They don't live at home with us. And that is the biggest reason of all for us to slip them a few bucks here and there. We like being empty nesters, almost as much as we love our kids. And we want to keep loving our kids, who are now adults. Having them at home would not work for any of us, and we all know it.