Enjoying a happy retirement for many couples means that they are able to use the money they saved to live out their retirement dreams and fund everyday expenses.
For some young adults living at home can be embarrassing and for others it’s a great way to save up cash, pay down debt and to start life on their own.
What happens though when the money you save for retirement is being spent on your kids because they move back home and/or always in need of cash?
Moving back home with the parents
Parenting is a hot topic no matter what age your children are but none the less it’s still a hardship many parents face when they don’t have the answers. Sometimes the solution is easily solved and other times it’s a sensitive matter especially when it has to deal with finances and life in general.
I’m pretty sure some parents out there wish that their kids are only sticking around for a short period to save up money to move out on their own. There are kids though that have no intentions but to live off their parents hard-earned money because they are too lazy to find a job and they get comfortable with the convenient life of mom and dad.
Sure, we all have our ‘problems’ but to make yourself your parents problem especially as an adult can be taxing on them and you know what, most parents won’t tell you that it is. They love you to bits and they want to see you happy but deep inside they never expected to have you living with them as an adult especially if you are not paying your way and helping out around the house.
Some parents don’t even care about the money it’s more about the privacy and wanting their children to be happy which means not having them live at home and building their own lives.
Setting boundaries when kids come back begging to live with you when they are an adult no matter what their situation is really sets the stage. Today we have one fan who wrote in asking for our help because she has a son who just won’t get his life in order and is costing them their retirement money because they keep bailing him out of trouble.
Let’s see if we can share our insight to help this CBB fan and ways for this couple to motivate the son out the door so they can move on to the next stages in their relationship… the happy retirement they dream of.
I’ve been an avid reader of your blog for a couple of years now and I’m hoping you could help us to understand what we are doing wrong with our son.
We had a child a bit later in life because we were focusing on our careers which means retirement is just around the corner. Our son graduated from University back six years ago now after earning a degree in History.
I’m sure you’re not surprised and although becoming a teacher was his goal there simply isn’t enough job openings in our local area for him to apply to. Like last weeks fan who was embarrassed for not having a good job after University in a way I think our son feels the same which prompted me to write to you.
We’ve told him on many occasions to broaden his horizons but for some reason he wants to stick close to home. He has no other siblings so we think he might want to be around for us when we get older for when we may need help.
On the other hand we want him to explore the world and enjoy his younger years building up a career and hopefully get married and have kids someday.
We feel we are holding him back and the hard part is he works part-time which means we are often handing him money for car repairs, holidays etc. He seems to stay home often even though he has friends but we believe he isn’t happy with the way his life turned out. Overall, he is a fun young man to be around and enjoys having a good time and laughing.
We have admitted to dipping into our TFSA to help fund some of his requests because we hate to see him go without but we want him to know that it’s eating into our retirement money and that he needs to start budgeting like we do, find more work and ultimately move out without hurting his feelings.
This is always a tough situation for a parent and now that you and Mrs.CBB will become parents soon you will have a greater understanding of the love for a child but you certainly don’t want to spoil them or send them the wrong message about life and finances.
My husband and I want to start taking trips and enjoying the money we worked hard for in order to retire early.
What should we do so we can enjoy a happy retirement whilst seeing our son building his life?
~Carol & Pete
Dear Carol & Pete,
This almost sounds like the movie Failure to Launch however your son was launched and made his way back home because he left a row of crumbs leading to the front door. It’s a comfort thing for many kids. Better yet you were kind enough to invite him back into your home in hopes he would get back on his feet and fast. That’s clearly not happening.
Carol and Pete it’s not the first time I’ve heard of parents who want to see their children succeed in life after all that is why we have kids and motivate them to do well in school. It sounds to me like you did both and your son graduated University but is struggling to find a job because he isn’t looking outside the scope of your hometown.
So many young adults make this BIG mistake and end up working at the local diner or big box store for minimum wage because for many they are afraid of the unknown. As parents you need to encourage him not to be afraid of the world and provide him with the support he needs to explore new horizons.
I moved back home just before I moved to Canada and I’ll admit it was tough especially after owning two homes but my parents knew I wasn’t sticking around. My parents also knew that I was well-travelled and that I had the world at my disposal. My mum and dad were not afraid of me moving to Canada they were thrilled.
They love my wife and they knew that there would be opportunity for me here and that I would let nothing stand in my way. They were right about me and I know that without their nurturing ways over the years I wouldn’t be so open to what lurks in different countries.
I believe that teaching kids about life and culture should start from a young age. I’m no parenting expert by any means but I do know what worked on me. You said you’ve read my blog for a while now so you know my parents taught me about finances from a young age as well. This helped me to get a grip on reality before it got a grip on me.
It sounds to me like your son is not paying you any rent and you are dipping into your retirement funds to help him to enjoy life without consequence. This is not right. He needs to understand that your money is your money and he has to earn his own. You are doing him no good by handing him cash this way.
My parents gave me a loan once until I sold my house to move to Canada. In that time I renovated some bits in the house to maximize on the return from selling. It worked and my parents got their money back. That was the ONLY time I ever asked my parents for money. To this day I look back and cringe because I didn’t have an emergency savings something that I won’t go without today.
It was hard to do after being so independent but they knew they would get their money back. I’m not so sure you that you will be getting any of the money back from your son so you can replace the money you took out from your retirement funds nor do I know if you want it back. The point here is that he needs to understand how you both feel about the situation.
Maybe you don’t want the money back and that’s fine but since you are writing me today I’m going to assume that yes you do want that money back or at least want to stop taking money out from your investments.
Talk to your son
The hard part for many parents is having that heart to heart talk with their children especially if they don’t know how to go about it or afraid of the consequences. Yes, some children fly off the handle when they are approached about money and life because they ‘think’ they know it all and have it all figured out. The last thing they want is their parents telling them what to do.
Yes, your son needs to learn about budgeting and why he must take any job he can just to earn money or even two part-time jobs while he seeks out employment in his field. If he is not willing to break free from your hometown to hand out resumes to teach then he must find alternate sources of income that do not include your retirement money.
If you feel he is sticking around for the both of you and you don’t want him to, TELL HIM! I know that might come off as being too forward but if you want to enjoy a happy retirement you need to get on this situation and fast.
Your son is getting too comfortable with the bank of mum and dad and things are only bound to get worse if you don’t step in. He should be paying rent, he should be helping out around the house and he should be actively seeking employment in his field around the world.
He is old enough now that he should be able to control his emotions and understand that he not a child any longer. If you keep treating him as one he will believe he is one.
Let us take a moment to look at the darker side of the situation which some people don’t take time to consider but it’s a possibility.
If you talk to your son and you find that what is bothering him is deeper than you believe than maybe encouraging him to seek advice from your family doctor might help.
Some graduates get depressed after school because they feel that they failed themselves and their family and they take comfort living back at home. We hear of graduates who take their own lives because of stress while in school but this stress can follow even after graduation. Understand the signs of depression and find out what you steps you should take as a parent.
It’s always easy to dish out the negatives but we don’t always know what is hiding behind emotions. So be patient, make a plan of action which includes talking to your son, motivating him financially, encouraging him to broaden his scope of employment options and have him talk about life with you.
Not all guys are that open-minded but as parents you might have the upper hand because you know your son better than anyone. In the meantime maybe some of our CBB fans will be able to add to what I’ve said but like always seek the advice of professionals and don’t be afraid, your son will always love you.
I hope you both get a chance to enjoy that happy retirement you dream of and that your son goes on to exceed his expectations of life.
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