(The opinions expressed here are those of the author, a columnist for Reuters.)
By Bobbi Rebell
NEW YORK, Feb 6 (Reuters) - The Bank of Mom & Dad is busy these days.
Millennials with kids of their own say they received $11,011 in financial support or unpaid labor, on average, from their parents in the past year, according to a recent study by TD Ameritrade.
All told, that adds up to $253 billion worth of financial assistance.
David Lynch, managing director and head of branches for TD Ameritrade, says the generation of young adults aged 18 to 34 faces a different set of financial challenges - most notably, sizeable student loans and stagnant wages.
In other words, these are hardly slackers with their hands out looking for a free ride. In fact, millennial parents tend to view parental support as a tool toward their financial independence - and not a way to delay adult financial responsibilities.
In fact, 56 percent of millennial parents are grateful for the financial help, according to TD Ameritrade’s research, although a quarter say they feel embarrassed for the handout.
Chelsea and Kirk Johnson of Lehi, Utah, consider themselves financially independent, yet they borrowed $5,000 from Kirk’s parents for a down payment for a new home.
Chelsea, 26, estimates that they are subsidized by about $7,000 annually from their parents, including babysitting, various family meals and a trip to Disneyland.
But they have also drawn up a contract to re-pay the money for the down payment, so that it can be used for Kirk’s five siblings, as needed.
John Tarnoff, author of “Boomer Re-invention: How to Create Your Dream Career After 50,” is not surprised that millennials are leaning on their parents to get “launched.”
As long as grandparents are in sound financial shape for their own retirement, Tarnoff noted they can be in a great position to support millennial offspring.
His advice is to take unexpected occurrences into account, including losing a job early or a debilitating health-related event. The older generation may be in a bit of denial about their own needs, Tarnoff added.
In addition, be sure to be using the money you gift or lend as a teaching tool so that the younger generation stays on a path to independence.
That opinion is shared by Kirk’s mom, April Johnson, who sees any financial support she gives her children as an investment in their future.
“Sometimes it just takes another year or two to get over the hump,” April said. “We talk to them about it as we go.” (Editing by Lauren Young and G Crosse)