It’s normal to want your child to have more than you did at their age. But at what point do you stop financially supporting your adult child?

We’ve seen statistics about rising student loan debt. It’s the reason many parents continue to pay for their adult child. And they do it while compromising their own savings.

While developing financial plans for my clients, this topic surfaces often. It’s a question many couples struggle with when discussing their personal finances.

Unfortunately, there’s no “right” answer. For this reason, many couples disagree on how much support is too much.

Some couples have strong incomes and decide to pay for their child’s college expenses. However, when they hire me to develop a retirement plan, they are shocked at how much longer they need to work to make up for the shortfall.

They don’t realize that retirement could last over 20 years. It’s estimated the average couple will need at least $285,000 to cover medical costs in retirement. This amount excludes long-term care expenses.

Ideally, before your child decides which college they want to attend, hire a CFP® professional to develop a financial plan for you. They will run different scenarios to help you decide how much you can afford to pay for college without compromising your future lifestyle.

You may find a scenario where you contribute 60% of the cost and your child takes a loan for the remaining 40%.  Or you may decide the best college for your child is the one you can afford without a loan.

Once your child graduates from college, that’s a great time to hire a CFP® to help them create a budget. While you can help them yourself, it may be better received coming from a third party.

Couples who have the financial means to support their adult child often feel guilty if they stop. But they also recognize their child’s lifestyle is beyond what it should be given their child’s income post-college.

With a budget, your adult child will learn how to balance paying off student loan debt while building a future. They will face adulting.

Deciding when to stop financially supporting your adult child is a question many couples struggle with answering. By looking at different scenarios, you can estimate the financial impact now and in the future.

From this information, you and your spouse can determine the best option for your situation. Stay PEF (positive, enthused, and focused) and start the new year in control of your finances!


Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, RICP®, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include developing spending plans, comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, retirement plans. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.’”

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