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 would be happy to help. Marie started speaking nervously about needing to help her daughter Amy decided 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 how as 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.
Her thinking became clearer when I continued to ask questions. “Could Amy not work on line to get the information she needed after 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? “ She realized her own financial fears and past were being transferred to her daughter.
As we wrapped up our ten minute phone, Marie said to me, “I knew what you were going to say. I will have her call you.”
Whether she calls me or not, I realize the issue is multi-sided. My concern for my client is that she is taking care of herself and that she is not trying to make financial decisions for others as she is learning to make them for herself. Finally, her daughther at 22 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. She needs the freedom to discover her own keys to financial success.
There are many first time graduates out there and their parents. If you are a parent, point your adult child in the right direction. In the meantime, setting an example may be the best thing you can do.

Christine D. Moriarity, CFP