Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Do this before you retire: Stop giving money to grown kids

It was one of those online teases I couldn't resist: Three Retirement Moves You Should Make in Your 50s.

I clicked on the link to the "Eye on America" video segment, frankly, more to find out where I'd made a wrong turn. Self-flagellation. Another self-inflicted told-ya-so.

We know you have a lot of financial obligations during those years, the reporter, financial analyst Mellody Hobson, said, but saving for retirement should be at the top of your list.

As the first of the Three Retirement Moves — 1. Pay off debt — came on the screen, the newscaster said having your mortgage paid off (is she kidding?) will really ease the financial pressure of retirement.

Well, cross that one off my list.

2. Stop subsidizing kids.

Get your kids off the dole, the newswoman advised. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly half of middle-aged parents gave money to their grown kids in the past year.

"If your child hits a rough patch, that's one thing, but subsidizing rent or insurance over the long term doesn't make financial sense.

"I know it's tough to do but you need to look out for yourself, too."

At that precise moment, the phone rang.

It was my younger son.

The subsidizee.

He actually didn't want money this time. In fact, he had started a new job the day before. But the week before that and the week before that and the week before that, he was definitely in a rough patch.

My problem as a mother is differentiating between a rough patch that blindsides him and a rough patch that he has plenty of time to steer away from if he wants to.

He had lost his (full-time, insurance-providing retail) job a month ago. Then, he had his car towed because he had three unpaid parking tickets.

Then, he had to move out of his downtown Chicago apartment — the lease was up and two of the four roommates were leaving, which made the place too big and expensive for the remaining two.

So, here I was living in paradise while my faraway son was jobless, homeless and car-less.

How could his mother not give him part of the money she has?

Add to that, I take much of the responsibility for the way he is. I have indulged that child since the day they laid his 9-pound, 10-ounce body on my belly in the delivery room 27 years ago. He never had a problem, financial or otherwise, that I couldn't find a way to get him out of. That's what moms are for, right?

Yeah, well, not exactly, I've since found out. I wish I would have allowed him to practice problem-solving and self-sufficiency on little things when he was 8 or 15 or even 20 so that by the time he grew up and moved away, he'd know that you shouldn't park your car in a space that is sure to land you a ticket, and that if you don't pay the tickets you got for parking in spaces you shouldn't have, they'll tow your car.

But, he has that new job and he found a place to live. And, his car's out of the impound lot. All's well ... for now, at least.

Which brings me to the last move the CBS financial guru suggested 50-somethings should make as retirement nears.

3. Reconsider your career.

Most polls say baby boomers will need or want to work after retirement, she said.

Start thinking about what kind of job will fit your lifestyle down the road and start moving in that direction.

Hmmm. What kind of job will fit my lifestyle?

Well, unless I suddenly, miraculously become able to put the words "mom" and "tough love" in the same sentence, I'm thinking the U.S. Treasury might be a good place to start.

Do this before you retire: Stop giving money to grown kids 04/21/14 [Last modified: Monday, April 21, 2014 5:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. New Safety Harbor post office will be on McMullen-Booth Road

    Local Government

    SAFETY HARBOR — Although a move-in date is months away, representatives for the U.S. Postal Service recently signed the lease for the city's new post office.

    In June of next year a new post office will open at the site of a former Fifth Third Bank branch at 1703 N  McMullen Booth Road, Safety Harbor.
  2. Former owner of Sirata Beach Resort purchases two Tampa Bay shopping centers

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — After selling the Sirata Beach Resort and Conference in February, Nicklaus of Florida, Inc., has purchased two Tampa Bay shopping centers to diversify the firm's portfolio in the area. Colliers International, representing the sellers, announced the transaction this week.

    Sirata Beach Resort and Conference Center, one of Tampa Bay's last family-owned beach hotels, was sold to a Texas-based company, Crescent Real Estate LLC for $108.19 million. [LARA CERRI | Times]
  3. Shania Twain arena tour includes Tampa stop this time


    Shania Twain is coming to Tampa as part of a major U.S. tour in support of her forthcoming (and long-awaited) new album Now.

    Shania Twain will play Amalie Arena in Tampa in 2018.
  4. In one day, fundraisers appear to reach goal to move Confederate monument from downtown Tampa


    TAMPA — Hillsborough County commissioners gave an ultimatum Wednesday to people who want to move a Confederate monument from downtown Tampa: Raise the money yourselves or it stays. They had 30 days.

    It took 24 hours.

    Private money is flowing in to help move the Memoria in Aeterna Confederate monument from the old county courthouse to a private family cemetery. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  5. Who are the antifa?


    On Monday, President Donald Trump capitulated to the popular demand that he distance himself from his comment that "many sides" were to blame in Charlottesville by explicitly denouncing white nationalism. "Racism is evil," he appeared to grudgingly concede, "including the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists."

    A group of counterprotesters who identified themselves as antifa, or anti-fascists, rest Saturday during a rally of white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va. Counterprotesters in Charlottesville came united against white supremacy, but they advocated a wide array of beliefs, tactics and goals. [Edu Bayer | New York Times]