It's only natural that parents want to help their children succeed in life, but many may be jeopardizing retirement in doing so.
In fact, parents are spending twice as much on their adult children than they are putting away to live out their golden years, according to a recent study by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave.
So what's a parent to do? Experts believe kids should start learning about finances when they are young. Parents also need to take a hard look at their own habits.
The Merrill Lynch study found that 79 percent of parents continued to give money to their adult children, age 18 to 34. That includes things like college and weddings, as well as everyday expenses such as cellphone services and groceries. They spent a total of $500 billion annually, compared with the $250 billion they contributed to retirement accounts, the survey found.
"That is really staggering," said Lisa Margeson, who oversaw the research as head of retirement client experience and communications at Bank of America, which owns Merrill Lynch.
"There is certainly an emotional aspect to this," she added. "You want to provide for your kids.
"At the same time you want them to become financially independent," Margeson added. "But when you combine those emotions with money, parents really risk making financial decisions that can comprise their financial future and their children's."