Preparing for Family Financial Responsibilities Across the
The MetLife Mature Market Institute has released a series of planning
for Family Financial Responsibilities Across the Generations, to
help Americans navigate family financial relationships. A follow-up to
the organization’s recent study, Multi-Generational
Views on Family Financial Obligations, the document, available
for download online, helps people determine how their sense of
responsibility or desire to help children or parents translates into
action. Can you or should you help your children or grandchildren
financially? When do you stop supporting an adult child? Do your parents
need financial assistance?
“We’ve prepared these tips to help people prioritize their family
responsibilities and to learn how to meet them,” said Sandra Timmermann,
Ed.D., director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute. “In our study,
we determined that people provide financial assistance to family members
out of a combination of love and need. There is agreement that parents
should support children through their college years, help with tuition
(90%) and step in to provide financial assistance during an emergency –
not of the child’s doing. But, they stop short at paying all college
tuition costs if they’re particularly high. There is also a consensus
against bailing adult children out of debt when the debt is from
“How do individuals determine when to help others and when to allow them
to be independent? We found that people must examine their own financial
status and make decisions about how to assist their family members based
on their ability to do so, the real needs of their parents and children
and a look down the road at how each party will be able to deal with
change and unexpected pitfalls,” said Timmermann.
Among the tips listed in the publications are the following:
Begin with an understanding of where you are in your life.
Knowing your own assets, income, existing debt and obligations for the
future will help you determine if you’re in a position to help others.
Start with taking care of your own needs first. It is helpful
to pay down debt and secure your retirement income before endeavoring
to provide assistance to family members.
Reassess as you go along. Changes occur; be sure to continue to
monitor your own financial picture.
Don’t just give more…give for. If you decide you can give, do
so with a stated goal or objective, especially those that are
Make your legacy a family conversation, not a family secret! Open
communication among the generations goes a long way toward avoiding
feelings of suspicion, anxiety and resentment.
Click here to download a copy of Preparing
for Family Financial Responsibilities Across the Generations or
The full study, Multi-Generational
Views on Family Financial Obligations, is also available for
The MetLife Mature Market Institute®
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