We have a question from a listener. “How long should we as parents financially bail out our adult son?”

The first step is to determine what initially caused this young man’s need for continued financial help. Many times kids will need some help with their finances while in college or when they first move out of their parents’ home.

One obvious possibility for additional assistance is a circumstance beyond his control. For example, a vehicle that malfunctions or downsizing at work.

Another possibility is that this young man finds himself in a bad situation because of his life choices. These could include things like failure to keep a job because of irresponsibility or the accruing of debt due to frivolous spending.

If the son’s financial crunch is the result of outside circumstances, financial aid is not a bad idea.  That assistance should also include encouragement for this young man to look for ways to personally recover from the setback.

If the problem is the result of poor decisions it will be important to help him develop fiscal responsibility. If the parents choose to offer financial support, a plan for ultimately withdrawing that support should be put in place from the very beginning.

If the son is in need of counseling or rehabilitation of any kind, Mom and Dad might consider continuing to support that action financially as long as there is continuing improvement. An effort must be made on the part of the adult son to make progress toward good health and better choices.

One more note – If these parents have other children, they might want to make them aware of the financial decisions, loans, and support given to this adult son.  They might choose to consider their monetary support as a portion of that child’s inheritance.

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