Are Family Members Putting Your Retirement at Risk? You Must Do This

Photo by Iakov Filimonov /

Americans often blame factors such as the Great Recession or the lack of a traditional pension for their anemic retirement savings. But there’s another possible contributing factor that hits a lot closer to home: financially supporting a grown child or a parent.

Thirty-two percent — or about one-third — of U.S. investors provide financial assistance to an adult child, a parent or both, according to new figures from Gallup and Wells Fargo. These investors include both people who are still working and folks who are retired.

Breaking down that 32 percent, the Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index survey for the first quarter of 2017 found that, among U.S. investors:

  • 24 percent give financial help to at least one adult child
  • 6 percent give financial help to a parent
  • 2 percent give financial help to an adult child and a parent

For the survey, a little more than 1,000 investors from across the U.S. were polled. “Investors” was defined as “adults living in households with $10,000 or more in stocks, bonds or mutual funds, in an investment account or in a self-directed IRA or 401(k) retirement account.”

Investors were not asked about the type of financial support they were providing, and Gallup notes it could include college expenses for adult children.

But whatever type of financial support they’re providing, most investors who aided adult family members said it hinders their retirement savings by:

  • A little (33 percent)
  • A moderate amount (17 percent)
  • A lot (11 percent)

Putting yourself first

“Putting yourself first” is a common refrain around here at Money Talks News because there’s no way around it: If your retirement is in jeopardy and you’re financially helping family members — adult children tend to be the most common culprit — you must find ways to trim or even eliminate those financial ties.

Emancipating adult children is step No. 4 in “Ready to Rescue Your Retirement in 2017? Here’s How,” which begins:

“Sit down with grown children and tell them what you are facing. It’s a tough conversation. But laying your financial cards on the table gives them information they may need to plan their lives.”

For more guidance, check out “5 Tips for Helping Boomerang Kids Without Bankrupting Yourself.”

And in case this news makes it any easier for you, know that even millennials themselves now admit they should be paying their own way through life by age 22.

Can you relate to the 32 percent of U.S. investors who are financially supporting a grown child or a parent? Share your experience below or on our Facebook page.

Find the right financial adviser

Finding a financial adviser you can trust doesn't have to be hard. A great place to start is with SmartAsset's free financial adviser matching tool, which connects you with up to three qualified financial advisers in five minutes. Each adviser is vetted by SmartAsset and is legally required to act in your best interests.

If you're ready to be matched with local advisers who will help you reach your financial goals, get started now.

Read Next
3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2020
3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2020

Still married to your cable company? Hold on to your wallet!

12 Products to Keep Your Car Clean and Organized
12 Products to Keep Your Car Clean and Organized

These items will help put your vehicular mess to rest — and each is available for less than $20 on Amazon.

8 Surprising Facts That Nobody Tells You About Retirement
8 Surprising Facts That Nobody Tells You About Retirement

Knowing what to expect in advance can help you prepare for — and adjust to — life in your golden years.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started


Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.

Trending Stories