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Parents who are in retirement give their adult children $6,800 a year on average so they can live more comfortably, a new study has found.

The Merrill Lynch retirement study found that 48% of Americans ages 50 and over say that they are "willing to overextend themselves financially to give their children a more comfortable life."

The study found that about half of retirees who gave money to family members felt they had an obligation to do so, and 80% of them also said they felt that it was the right thing to do.

On average, adult children received the most help from retired family members, while siblings were given an average of $4,200, parents $3,600 and grandchildren $1,800 over a period of 12 months.