"Ask Brianna" is a Q&A column from
Q: My parents helped me pay for college, but now I'm out on my own and they're still supporting me. Should I keep accepting money from them?
A: I recently tried to learn to ski — emphasis on "try" — and at first I couldn't move 5 inches without grabbing the nearest poor soul's elbow. After a group lesson, I made it to the bottom of the beginners hill without clutching onto another skier. I felt a level of satisfaction usually reserved for Nobel Prize winners.
Independence is empowering, whether you're learning to ski or paying rent for an apartment you take pride in. There's value in taking care of yourself: You'll have the means — and perhaps the confidence — to handle life's inevitable hiccups, rather than relying on others to bail you out. After all, your parents may not have the cash to help if they need to focus on their own financial security instead.
Becoming financially independent may not happen immediately, and many young adults aren't there yet: 61 percent of
FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE WILL EMPOWER YOU
In the short term, getting help with a cell phone bill or car payment might take the pressure off as your post-college life takes shape. But you won't get the chance to build crucial budgeting and accountability muscles. You also won't get the deep satisfaction that self-sufficiency brings, which parents may have to remember, too.
"It's hard to see your child struggle," says
Parental support doesn't have to be all or nothing; some types of assistance are worthwhile, Jones says, such as education. Your parents may want to pay for your tuition or living expenses in grad school, or for their grandkids to go to private school. "Things that can help children in the long run help themselves" can be beneficial, Jones says, as long as the parents are financially stable.
YOUR PARENTS SHOULD FOCUS ON RETIREMENT
In many cases, your parents may be better off keeping any extra money in their own wallets. Families headed by a person ages 56 to 61 had a median amount of
Before accepting money for a wedding, home down payment or other expense, ask your parents how supporting you will affect them, says
Sure, they'll have
Your parents can use a retirement calculator to see how much they'll need when they stop working. They can also talk to a financial planner to make sure they're on track.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website