I went to a graduate school graduation this weekend. Although it was a momentous day for the graduate, I have to say that for the parents of the graduate, it was hot, boring and endless.
Although the graduates sitting on the floor were being honored for notable accomplishments, those of us in the bleachers also deserved some recognition for our well-polished skills in drop-kicking them out of bed and shoving them out the door. And after that stage passed, we certainly deserve applause for supporting extended adolescence even into our children's 30s.
According to an annual study of "Money Across Generations" by Ameriprise Financial, 93 percent of boomers have provided some kind of support to their adult children. About 73 percent have paid for college tuition, and 53 percent have helped an adult child buy a car.
I think the ability for so many to be so generous to their children is a baby boomer phenomenon. My husband and I aren't alone in coming from families where there wasn't a lot of extra money laying around to pay for things such as college and cars. Admittedly, it was easier for young people in our generation to get jobs that covered tuition. And the $100 I scraped together for my first Chevy wasn't a real hardship, even then.
Still, boomers are helping their adult children at a time when many are struggling to accumulate enough money to finance their own old age. Some 34 percent of boomers told Ameriprise the money they've given their adult children has reduced the amount they have been able to save for retirement. In fact, only 24 percent said their retirement planning includes an aggressive savings plan. Another 24 percent said they are doing the best they can just to stay even.
Despite this, a majority of boomers -- 86 percent -- said if they had to do it all over again, they would still support their adult children financially. And 20 percent expressed guilt about not being able to provide more help.
That's amazingly generous. Let's hope it doesn't backfire on us.