Many parents sacrificing retirement savings to support adult children, study finds

More parents supporting adult children

(CNN) – A growing number of parents are using their retirement savings to financially support their adult children.

And according to a new study by Bankrate, a consumer financial services company, parents who do that may be digging themselves into a money hole.

Half of American parents surveyed for the study say they sacrifice retirement savings to financially support their adult children.

The study found higher earners with adult children are more likely to dip into their savings, while lower-income parents are more likely to have never saved for retirement at all.

One in six parents making less than $50,000 said supporting their grown-up children prevented them from putting away anything for retirement.

Meanwhile, 60 percent of those with adult children and a household income of $80,000 said they’ve cut back on their retirement savings in order to pay for their adult children’s bills, which could include cellphone and car payments, insurance, housing and student loans.

In general, parental assistance usually ends between the ages of 19 to 23. However, millennials who were surveyed believe the cutoff should be delayed by a year or more.

So, why are parents increasingly dipping into their savings to support their adult children?

The survey mentions “helicopter parenting,” suggesting more parents have been more co-dependent with their children throughout childhood, making it hard to let go in adulthood.

Other possible reasons include a lack of substantial wage growth, the rising cost of education and the rising popularity of higher degrees.

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