By timestaff
September 24, 2007

by JEANNE FLEMING, PH.D. and LEONARD SCHWARZ

Question: My husband and I have been planning to retire early. The thing is, our 28-year-old daughter, who is something of a late bloomer, still relies on us financially. Once we retire, we won’t be able to help Nora nearly as much. I think we should continue working until she’s self-supporting, but my husband says no way – we’ve already done enough. Please tell him there’s no time limit on being a good parent!

Our answer: While it’s true that there’s no time limit on being a good parent, the clock is running out on Nora’s being a child. Your obligation was to feed her, shelter her, educate her and teach her right from wrong while she was a minor. Now it’s her obligation to support herself and not stand in the way of her parents’ retirement – and happiness.

Yes, we know that 50 is the new 40, 20 is the new 14, and kids are leaving the nest later and later. But since your child is old enough to run for Congress, it’s not unreasonable to expect her to take responsibility for paying her own way in life.

If Nora needed your help because she’d been sick, say, or because she was completing a degree, that would be different. But Nora is just a late bloomer. And one thing late bloomers can’t do is expect Mom and Dad to keep working indefinitely while they take their time blossoming.

So do yourselves and Nora a favor: Help your daughter grow up. And enjoy that early retirement.

P.S. It makes no difference that your retirement will be “early.” What matters is how old Nora is, not how old you are.

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