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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - More than half of parents in the United States are helping, or have helped, support their adult children who have been hit by high unemployment and stagnant wages, according to a new survey.
The online poll showed that current economic conditions are discouraging young adults from leaving home and forcing those who have already gone, so-called boomerang kids, to return.
"Parents are continuing their (financial) involvement longer than we expected," said Ted Beck, the president and CEO of National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), a nonprofit group that educates Americans about personal finance.
About 60 percent of parents questioned in the survey commissioned by NEFE and Forbes.com, said they are helping their adult children who are no longer in school financially. Half are providing housing and nearly half are helping with living expenses.
For an increasingly number of adult children, the mood is bleak. Two-thirds of adult children, aged 18 to 39, who are not in school said they faced tougher financial pressures than previous generations, according to the poll of 700 adult children and 400 parents with grown children.
And nearly one-third of parents agreed that they had it easier to find their financial feet, than their children do.
Parents are helping their children out of genuine concern, and because they do not want to see them struggle.
"The general sentiment is that financial pressures are higher for this generation," said Beck.
But he added that parents who make sacrifices to help their adult children should be cautious about their own finances.
"If you are taking on extra debt or delaying retirement to help your adult child, you could be making a mistake and putting your own financial future in jeopardy," Beck warned.
Boomerang children can also pose other problems for their parents.
Thirty percent of parents said they had given up privacy since their adult children moved back home, while more than a quarter have taken on added debt, and seven percent have delayed retirement.
But the poll also showed that 42 percent of adult children living at home are helping with the cooking and cleaning and many contribute to the cost of groceries, utilities, rent or mortgage.