Are Your Adult Kids Sabotaging Your Retirement?

Are Your Adult Kids Sabotaging Your Retirement?

62% of Canadian boomers feel their retirement is jeopardized because of the financial support they provide their adult children according to a recent TD Bank survey. Nearly half of adults in their 20’s live at home.  Supporting your adult children can hurt your retirement plans and your sanity.  Here are three tips to help you co-exist with your ‘boomerang’ kids while protecting your retirement nest egg.

25 is the New 19

It may not be arrested development, but an economic reality to share your home with your twenty-something children.  Secondary education and housing costs may be out of reach for your kids while starting salaries are low.  A crisis, such as divorce or job loss, may bring the kids back home, perhaps with their kids.  Or, your brilliant adult child has decided to pursue that Masters or PhD, partly on your ticket.

150% more adults aged 25-34 years live at home today than in the 70’s


 1.  Agree on House Rules

Whether they’ve never left, or they’ve come back home, clarifying expectations with your adult children at the onset will help you coexist more smoothly.

When boundaries are unclear, stress and conflict increase.


The key word is ‘agree’.  It’s like having roommates.  As my daughter used to say, “you’re not the boss of me.” Listen to each other.  Start with house rules built on respect for each other.  You each have the right to your own privacy.


  • Comfort levels for:
    • Music & noise
    • Visitors
    • Neatness
    • Awake/sleep hours
    • Independence vs. family togetherness time
    • Separate living zones


  • Household contribution:
    • Chores
    • Cooking
    • Groceries
    • TV, internet, cell service use
    • Use of vehicles (or not)
    • Rent, utilities


 2.  Take Care of Yourself First

You love your children and want to protect them, help them and nurture them.  As we are told in the airplane, put your oxygen mask on first and then your child’s.  Your kids have a whole life ahead of them to grow their financial base.  You?  Less time.  Protect your nest egg.

It’s that boundary thing again.  Plus, you are modelling prudent financial management to your kids.  Win win!

 Know how much you can afford to help without hurting your retirement. 


Not sure?  Meet with your financial planner or wealth manager and run a scenario of future expected expenses and income.  Yes, it will be based on assumptions, but it will give you an idea of what you’ve got and what you need to live the retirement life you imagined.  Factor in the additional expenses of your dependents, and you’ll understand your boundaries.


3.  Agree on a Timeline for Departure

At some point, our kids need to launch.  Most of them want to, and look forward to being independent.  Agree on a workable time frame for departure. (There’s that ‘agree’ word again.) Your kids will know they need to manage their finances and affairs accordingly.  You will know how long your support is required and can plan your life and finances appropriately.

“Offer encouragement not advice” – Dr. Richard Johnson


As much as we love our kids and enjoy their company, we’ve got to let them spread their own wings. Have faith that you’ve taught them well and that they will land on their feet!

Care to share?

One Reply to “Are Your Adult Kids Sabotaging Your Retirement?”

Leave a Reply