Helping Others: Young Adults

I just got a call from a client who I have worked with over the years. Today she sounded especially stressed as she requested my help for a few minutes. I assured her I had some time and would be happy to help. Marie started rambling that she needed to help her daughter Amy decide whether to consolidate her loans or not. I asked her why she was taking it on herself to make the decision. Amy “just got a full time job and is too busy to take care of these financial decisions. And she is asking me what to do about her 401k as well.”

When I asked her for the facts, she did not have them all. And wondered how she was going to get them. I explained that since Amy was an adult, only Amy could request all of her student loan information be sent to her. Without it, there was no way to make a decision. The same was true for Amy’s 401k.

I slowed down her stressed demeanor by asking more questions. “Could Amy not work on-line to get the information she needed after her work hours? Didn’t Marie still work a part-time job in addition to her full time work? Was Marie the best source of solid financial information for Amy?“ As she thoughtfully answered my questions, she began to get a clearer picture on how her own financial fears and past were being transferred to her daughter.

As we wrapped up our ten minute phone call, Marie said to me, “I knew what you were going to say – sometimes people have to help themselves to learn. I will have her call you.”

Whether Amy calls me or not, the issue is multi-sided. My concern for my client is that she take care of herself. Second, that she is not trying to make financial decisions for others as she is learning to make them for herself. Finally, her daughter at 23 is old enough and mature enough to hold a professional job, rent an apartment and take basic care of herself. Money management is a life long skill that any adult child needs to learn. Allow your child to learn his or her own keys to financial success.
In the meantime, setting an example may be the best thing you can do.

Christine D. Moriarity, CFP