Adult financial dependence: Breaking the cycle

Authored by Merrill Center for Family WealthTM


As children develop into young adults, every parent hopes they have sufficiently prepared their child for financial independence and success in adulthood. Some even provide additional support such as paying for college or subsidizing a down payment on a home, with hopes this will help the adult child flourish. But sometimes this can undercut normal growth — and enable negative behaviors that stunt a child’s transition to independence.

At the Merrill Center for Family WealthTM, private wealth advisors often introduce us to families where the parents have tried their best to support their children, only to realize their adult children are now dependent on them. To help parents in this situation, the Center has created Adult financial dependence: Breaking the cycle, a whitepaper that follows the journey of John and Sally Williams, who are worried their 24-year-old son is relying on them too heavily. This piece discusses how the Center walked the Williams through their anxieties about their son’s destructive behavior — and offered advice such as shifting their mindset, identifying an agreeable solution and curbing enabling behaviors. After applying these tactics, their son began taking meaningful steps toward a more independent financial life.

Every parent wants their child to succeed, but sometimes they just need a little bit of help along the way. If you’d like to explore these ideas further, contact your Merrill private wealth advisor, who can connect you with the Merrill Center for Family Wealth.

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