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'You Can Get Loans For a Lot of Things, But Retirement Isn't One of Them': Majority of American Parents Report Making Financial Sacrifices to Support Adult Kids A recent survey found that a majority of parents have made financial sacrifices to help their adult children, compromising retirement savings, emergency savings, paying off debt and more.

By Madeline Garfinkle Edited by Jessica Thomas

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Being a parent comes with sacrifice: Time, energy and of course, money. However, that financial support doesn't always stop when children turn 18 or move out of the house.

A new survey by Bankrate found that 68% of parents have made or are still making significant financial sacrifices to support their adult children. More than half of parents sacrificed emergency savings for their kids (51%) or failed to reach a financial milestone (55%), and 43% reported sacrificing retirement savings.

Related: Small Changes, Big Results: What You Can Do To Minimize Costs And Plan For Retirement

The numbers are even higher for lower-income households: 58% of those with an annual income of less than $50,000 reported sacrificing emergency funds compared to only 46% of households with an annual income of $100,000 or more.

Many parents innately want their children to feel secure and assist when they are in a financial bind. However, making it a habit can ignite a problematic cycle for both parents and children alike.

Related: This Program Helps Students Secure Job and Financial Independence Early In Life

"[Paying for your child's bills] can enable bad behavior or stunt an adult child's development," Bankrate senior industry analyst Ted Rossman said in the report. "It can also put your own retirement and other financial goals at risk. You can get loans for a lot of things, but retirement isn't one of them."

To help children become more financially independent Bankrate suggests implementing three main pillars: being aligned on a budget with your partner or spouse, setting clear expectations and timeframes for financial assistance with your children, and having a conversation about financial goals and independence "sooner rather than later."

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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