The trick is to give young adults enough support that they have the confidence to do anything, but not so much support that they feel that they do not need to do anything at all.
As graduation time nears on college campuses around the country, young adults in the class of 2012 will be faced with several challenges that may have many soon-to-be grads failing to launch.
Faced with unprecedented student loan debt, a startling high rate of consumer credit and a still recovering job market, many graduates may be forced to move back home -- given a mere 54 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds are graduating without a job prospect, according to Pew Research Center.
But what does this mean for parents? The parental expectation of having an empty nest is increasingly giving way to the reality of a "cluttered nest" or "crowded nest" thanks to the boomerang effect.
The beauty of the boomerang is that after sending it off, it comes right back to its original destination. In the case of parents sending their children to college -- or the workforce -- and having them return home, the effect might not have the same "beauty." According to a recent Pew Research Center report on the "boomerang generation," three-in-ten young adults between the age of 25 and 34 have moved back home in recent years as a result of the weak economy.
While it is inherently natural for parents to want to help their children, it's also important to make sure helping will not ultimately hinder a child's chances for success down the road. Here are some tips for making sure that your boomerang kid can successfully navigate this tough economy:
Make a financial plan. Returning grads may become financially dependent on you, which can run the risk of jeopardizing your own next egg. Discuss what expenses you are willing and able to cover without tapping into your retirement savings.
Develop a budget. Creating a budget can help your child get on the path of eventually being on their own. Suggest s/he pay rent (even if it's just a little bit) to get into the habit of paying monthly bills.
Create a timeline. Let your child know you will help them through their struggles but that it's only temporary.
Establish household rules and expectations. Sit down together and decide ground rules for living at home. Whether it's helping around the house or looking for part-time work, these ground rules set the stage that as an adult, your child is expected to contribute like an adult.
Identify and celebrate milestones. If your child lands a full-time job or saves a certain amount of money towards their goal, celebrate! Confidence is important in helping boomerangs stand on their own two feet.
This is an opportune time to help your child form positive behavioral financial habits that will last for the rest of their life. While it can be an emotional time for everyone, following these tips can help ease the stress and get your child ready to launch into independence.
ING Retirement Coach Jacob Gold is a third generation financial advisor. He is a published author of "Financial Intelligence; Getting Back to Basics after an Economic Meltdown", which was published in August 2009. Gold is a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner and FINRA Series 7, 24 and 66 securities registered.
Securities and Investment advisory services offered through ING Financial Partners, Member SIPC. Neither ING Financial Partners nor its representatives offer tax advice.