Want To Retire Early? Cut The Cord, Study Says

03/27/2015 08:12 am ET | Updated May 27, 2015

When did supporting adult children become a thing?

For baby boomers who hope to retire early and enjoy the rest of their lives with travel and other pursuits they've put on hold, it helps to have children that are financially independent.

In fact, you're more than twice as likely to retire earlier if you don't have to support your adult children.

That's the latest finding from Hearts and Wallets, a research firm that tracks retirement trends. It shows that 35 percent of baby boomers are currently retired and the difference is startling, between those who have children capable of caring for themselves and those who don't.

Some 52 percent of baby boomers who have adult children that don't need any financial support are already retired. That contrasts with 21 percent with adult children who they continue to support.

Obviously those with children who aren't yet adults aren't in as a good of place to retire but that number of 17 percent who are isn't far behind those with adult children.

Talk about the importance of cutting the apron strings.

The study shows that not only are they financially supporting those adult children, which in turn is causing them to be 25 percent more likely to have "heightened financial anxiety." This group also leads the way with being the most concerned about saving money for retirement.

"Boomers who support someone financially have very different concerns than those who don't," says Chris Brown, co-founder of Hearts and Wallets. "Likewise, goals differ for parents who support adult kids versus those with minor children."

Here is a copy of the report:

Parents supporting adult children wonder when - or if - their kids will ever become independent, Brown says. They also worry about saving enough to have freedom to enjoy life as they age.

"Boomers with minor kids are more upbeat about managing money," Brown says. "This segment is the most receptive to working with financial professionals and the most technologically savvy."

The study shows that nearly two-thirds of baby boomers have children and nearly one-third support then whether they are adults or minors.

That comes to 8 million baby boomer households who are supporting adult children of the more than 47 million total, the study says.

Here's how it breaks down. There are 17 percent of boomer households that support adult children but not minor children. Only 13 percent support minor children and 4 percent support extended family. That would include baby boomers taking care of their parents.

That leaves 32 percent who don't support their independent children and 35 percent who don't support anyone else.

Baby boomers overall worry about outliving their money in retirement but those who support adult children tend to have more immediate worries, the study says. They're top concern is simply saving enough for retirement with 51 percent ranking that as a huge concern. A look at retirement:

It's that same group that says they're 25 percent more likely to have financial anxiety at 38 percent. That group at 24 percent is the one least likely to use a financial advisor.

Laura Varas, co-founder of Hearts and Wallets, says perhaps they don't want to be told to cut the apron springs.

"Being a parent and supporting others affect what people worry about and their savings and investment goals," Varas says. "For those supporting others, it's important to focus on their own needs as well as everyone else."

Baby boomers who don't provide financial support to others - both those without children and those with financially independent adult children - are more likely to plan to spend their money while alive, Varas says.

Some 78 percent of baby boomers without children and 64 percent of boomers who do not support adult children or anyone else say they expect to spend most of their money on themselves rather than passing it on to heirs. Only 51 percent of baby boomers who support adult children say that, Varas says.

What the study shows is this group of baby boomers support adult children aren't very comfortable in taking risk with investments and accepting volatility to get a higher return, Varas says. Those who don't support their adult children are more comfortable with risk, she says.

Visit, the new destination for Americans 50+ covering financial, health, beauty, style, travel, news, entertainment and sports.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

Parents & College