Baby Boomer parents may have succumbed to a bout of cognitive dissonance. According to a new Charles Schwab survey, they overwhelmingly expect their young adult children to be at least as financially successful as they are, but don't see them becoming financially independent in the near future.
About 85 percent of all Boomer parents, with at least one child between the ages of 23 and 28, expect their kids to be at least as financially successful as they are. Yet, 41 percent of all Boomer parents subsidize their adult children in some fashion, and 35 percent don't expect their children to achieve financial autonomy before the age of 30.
"There's a disconnect between reality and parents' perceptions," Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, Senior VP of Schwab Community Services, told HuffPost. "Kids are kids longer these days."
Unlike today's Millennials, 86 percent of all Boomer parents said they were entirely independent by the age of 25. And nearly 4 of every 10 Boomer parents admit their adult children are more dependent on them than they were on their own parents.
College debt (32 percent) and unemployment (31 percent) were the most widely cited factors underlying the trend.
This prolonged period of financial gestation may take its toll on Boomer parents, 85 percent of whom are concerned about their financial security. 29 percent say they may never be able to retire and 22 percent fear they may outlive their retirement money.
Fortunately, only 6 percent of all Boomer parents support both an ageing parent and a young adult child, mitigating what's often called the "sandwich" phenomenon.
The Charles Schwab "2010 Families and Money Survey", released Wednesday, was conducted with 1,000 adults with at least one child between the ages of 23 and 28 and at least one living parent.