The Science of Parenting

Teaching Emerging and Young Adults about Money | S.11 Ep.6

May 25, 2023 Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Season 11 Episode 6
The Science of Parenting
Teaching Emerging and Young Adults about Money | S.11 Ep.6
Show Notes Transcript

Sometimes our young adult children rely on their parents to be “an adultier adult” when it comes to finances. This episode explores how this life stage has changed in recent decades and how parents can balance being supportive with encouraging independence during this transitional time!

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Mackenzie Johnson:

Hey, Mackenzie Johnson here, coming to you with a special opportunity that the Science of Parenting team has going on right now. We are collecting feedback from you, our listeners and viewers, all about last season, where we were talking about kids and food. We have a short 10 minute survey that we are going to ask about what you thought about last season, what you learned the last season. You have a chance to kind of give us your thoughts on the overall podcast, as well as even an opportunity to submit a topic for us to consider in the future. So your feedback is going to help us make decisions about our podcasts and future content. If you are over the age of 18, if you are a parent or caregiver of a child, and if you've listened to any of the episodes from last season, that's right, even just one, one of those episodes where we are talking about kids and food, you can find the survey link in today's episode description. Or you can also find it on our social media on Facebook or Twitter at the science of parenting. Thanks for listening. We hope you'll participate and enjoy today's episode. Welcome to the Science of Parenting podcast where we connect you with research based information that fits your family. We'll talk about the realities of being a parent and how research can help guide our parenting decisions. I'm Mackenzie Johnson, parent of two littles with their own quirks. And I'm a parenting educator.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

And I'm Suzanne Bartholomae. I'm an associate professor who strives to help people increase their financial security and the parent of a high schooler. Hello, Mackenzie.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I say we are here again. Hello, Suzanne, having a lot of fun this season. Kind of getting towards the end of the season. I'm a little sad about it.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

It's gone quickly.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Right? It has, it's gone quickly. But today we get to move into a different life stage, right? We talked about kind of our kids, not kind of, we were talking about kids. And then we talked about teens. And now talking about emerging adults. So this like, I mean, in between this adultier adult, right? There's like all these things that I feel go into this stage. But I kind of just want to like, let's just dig right in, like what are we even talking about? And we have talked about this idea of emerging adults in previous seasons, right? It's come up a few times. But let's remind our listeners or if this is the first time you're hearing this term, welcome. I love this term. I'm fascinated by it. But so yeah, like, what do we know about emerging adults? One thing actually kind of their main researcher who I know you're going to talk about Suzanne, Arnett, big heart for Arnett, love that. But he described this, I don't even remember in what paper I read about it. For grad school, I did a project in this area. And I just remember the phrase, freedom without full responsibility. It's usually this age range between like, 18 ish, to like mid 20s ish. But freedom without full responsibility is how I remember him describing emerging adulthood. I'm like, yep, I related to that at the time. I was like, I'm an emerging adult.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah, so emerging adulthood, what a description. So Arnett did extensive research in the early 2000s, and came up with this distinct new developmental stage. And previously, researchers had been using milestones like marriage, finishing school, starting a career, to describe adults, but then Arnett thought of, hey, let's just ask the young adults and see how they describe adult status. And it ends up that they're not using those markers as much as they are using more individualistic characteristics. So things like, I'm taking responsibility for my actions, I can make my own decisions, independent decisions, and then also financial independence from parents. That's a big one. And a big piece of his research is what he discovered is that it is its own stage, because young adults are very ambivalent about, they kind of have one foot in adolescence and one foot in adulthood. And they're kind of like, I'm a little bit of both, you know. It's that freedom, without the responsibility. And important to note that there's just a small minority of young adults in that age bracket that you described, that are, they do consider themselves to be adults. And they use the same kind of descriptors that Arnett does, like being financially independent from their parents as an example, but they're just further along. It's a smaller minority, but you know, if you're a parent at 18, you join the military at 18, hey, I mean, you consider yourself an adult.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And I think that I think it's all really interesting. I mean, like I said, I can get dorky about? Well, a lot of things. But I do like this idea of emerging adulthood, fascinated by this stage. And yeah, I think it's really interesting. I think part of it. My speculation, not like the research said necessarily, is how things change over time, right? And so this idea of how that you were saying, they basically used to identify adulthood by these very clear markers, like you got married, you bought a house, you had a child, right? And then now it's this kind of more, not as clearly measurable, or like, as clearly defined, I feel like part of that is almost like changing of the time. You know, but part of it is hopefully just kind of this acceptance of like, it's just different. Like, it just looks different.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah, I mean, yeah, right. I mean, we've change. Families look different from generation to generation, depending on the environment and what's thrown at them. And I think certainly, young adults today have had a lot more financial challenges than those in the past.

Mackenzie Johnson:

It is, it's a different, it can be a different reality. And we don't need to say whether like, better or worse, right? Like, no judgement. We don't need to add value to it. Yeah, yeah, measurement as much as just like, let's talk about how it is. How it can be different, how it is different. And I think, you know, as we were talking about emerging adulthood, and all the fascinating things about it, even just thinking about all the different ways that an emerging adult can, quote unquote, look, right. And so I mean, we did kind of come up with a list of like, okay, someone might be going into the workforce. Someone might be in trade school. Someone might be working full time in a career, but live at home. Someone might be a traditional, like, might be a college student. Someone might be taking a gap year. Someone might have kids, but be financially dependent on their parents, right? There's all these different ways emerging adulthood can, quote unquote, look for somebody. And I think that's part of the thing that fascinates me about it is like, it's muddy. It's ambiguous. It's, I don't know, just it's in between of like, half in and half out, like you said.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah, well, I mean, that's the family, right? There's so many configurations of the family system, and young adults are part of that family system. And they make it either they put their own stamp on it, whatever that might look like. Mom and dad are paying for my cell phone bill, but I'm paying for my own rent, you know. I'm helping with tuition but so are my parents. They're helping with tuition.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Absolutely. And yeah, and you're right, you're getting into this, like, of course, what we're going to dig into, like what we want to in the episode of this financial component of it, right? So emerging adulthood is fairly new in the research of like a developmental stage of a family and somebody's development as just a human person. But there's also this financial, there's these financial things that go into it. Right. And so whether someone is a college student, or like we said, all those examples, in trade school, going into the workforce, military. There's all these financial things that come with this half in half out, right, that's like, freedom of choice, but not full responsibility of choice financially. And so I mean, we did, we were like, as just even talking about, it's like, okay, it could be this, it could be this. So we talked about student loans, like a huge financial decision that happened in this emerging adulthood stage. It might be the first time leasing or renting or paying room and board, credit cards, all kinds of credit cards, and maybe no longer filtered out by their parents. There is vehicles, maybe they've had jobs but it might be the first time they're actually managing that income from that job, right. Wedding planning often happens in the stage. And I think part of, so yeah, there's a lot of financial stuff that happens here and you pointed out, with long term impact, right? The potential impact of these decisions can be long term, like can set the stage really for adulthood.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah, yeah. So the financial decisions have much bigger consequences. And we've talked about this in the previous episodes that, you know, we're trying to through parenting, financial parenting, and socialization, trying to set them up for success, so that when they get to these more consequential decisions, that they're ready for them. But certainly, I mean, just the credit card example, that if you, you know, young adult gets a credit card, they don't pay their bills on time, then all of a sudden their credit rating declines. And then all of a sudden opportunities, we know that employers and landlords will check credit reports, and they could get boxed out of opportunities as a result. So yeah, it's such a critical time that they're either going to be on this path to security or instability, you know, and so, as parents, we all want them to be on that path of security.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, well I think also this idea of the like, financial independence in emerging adulthood, right. We talked about the freedom, but not the responsibility. And so that idea of are they financially independent? Like, aren't they and there's layers of that, like you said, like maybe they pay just their cell phone, maybe they pay their room and board, maybe they still get a weekly allowance. There's all these variations but that idea of financial independence, you know, what can you tell us about financial independence in emerging adulthood, I guess?

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Okay, so as researchers, the way we measure it is, are they taking full control of their financial life? So are they earning their own income, making their own living? Are they paying for their rent, their housing, whether it's a mortgage or rent? Are they paying their bills? And then are they managing their money? So that's kind of financial independence is just taking full control without any help.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah. And so in emerging adults, I mean, in emerging adulthood, I would say, for a lot of emerging adults, by that full definition, I still say us. I'm really not an emerging adult anymore, but I still really identify with this. But I feel like a lot of emerging adults really, necessarily by that definition, might not fully. But those layers come in, right, like, well, I pay for this, I pay my own rent and I buy my own groceries and my parents help me with this. Or right, I feel like there's a lot of layers in there for emerging adults.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah. And it's not real clear cut for parents, you know, in terms of like, what's the norm. Every family is going to have a different set of expectations and norms of what kids should or should not like, what kids should be paying for and what they should be paying for. And just like Lenore, parenting a toddler, or, you know, or a four or five year old and we're thinking about, like, developmentally, where should they be? Are they on time? This is a lot less clear in terms of, you know, what is financial independence and are we doing the right thing? And are we helping them or are we hurting them?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah. So it is money. It is yeah, confusing, muddy, ambiguous, like, Hey, your children are now over the age of 18. And for a lot of people we're like, we made it and it's like, but hey, it's really confusing here. Okay.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

It is. What is normal, air quotes, right?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And I think that it's nice to kind of understand, you know, like we always say, gather the information so we can make our own decisions around this. And you actually talked about some really interesting research around this. There's this idea of trajectories that you were talking about. Tell us about those.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

For financial independence. Yeah. And there hasn't been a lot of research on this but this was a study that had, it was a longitudinal study, really strong modeling that categorized young adults into four groups in terms of their financial independence, and the first one was being consistently independent. And that was about 20% of the young adults in their sample. And basically, at 18, they left the house and pretty much cut ties with their parents, you know. And then there's quickly independent and so this group kind of starts out independent, and then the support from parents quickly declines. Okay, so they're quickly independent. So and then gradually independent, they more steadily step towards independence. Okay. All right. So they start out with support, but then as they age, they kind of age out in terms of independence. And then consistently supported and that's like, they never cut ties with their parents. Okay. And that's about ties being financially. Yeah, financially. Exactly. Yeah, exactly. So, yep. So the largest group is that quickly independent, where they start out dependent on their family, and then they quickly become more, they receive less support from their parents. Yeah. Okay. I love your imagery. Yeah. Yeah. So still

Mackenzie Johnson:

My brain is figuring, like topography, like a hill versus a mountain versus a cliff versus a flatland almost. Because the first one was consistently independent. Right? Like they have been riding on this plane, right, like pretty always, right? Like they are in the flatlands of Iowa on consistently independent, right? So that was trajectory number one. Trajectory number two was quickly, right, was quickly independent. Yeah, that might be like our city sat on a hill for a long period of time and then there's a big hill at the end where we went to quick financial independence, right. Sledding. have financial ties with parents but then they're quickly becoming independent. Yeah. And that's the largest group right there. Okay. And that's the biggest group that's sledding. Okay. And then so I'm like word picture for number three, then this one was gradually. Right? Okay, so, yeah, like a long, slow, decline over time. Like, this is getting intricate, but I'm like sea level, like, slowly to sea level.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah, a little bit longer duration. Yeah.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah. And maybe there's hills in there, right? Where like, at certain points, it's like, well, we're connected. I worked on this, but then I moved back home, right? Or I was like, I'm doing this part but I could use assistance with this part right now. But so that connection stays longer until the independence at the end. And then our fourth category, remind me.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah, and this is the longest duration and pretty much, that's the consistently supported group. Okay. And I hope I said that earlier. But yeah, so they pretty much have support with housing and bills, and, you know, whatever their bills are from their parents.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Okay, so that's like living in the mountains in my mind. If I'm going on this elevation imagery that I have. But it is, right, never sledding down that hill into independence. And so, but that idea of consistently and so that is, so our largest group are our sledders. No, right? Our quickly?

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yep, yep. I think that's how you describe it. Yeah.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Okay. I'm like, gotta keep track of my own picture here. Yeah, what else can you tell us about these groups then? Because you, that's the largest group but there's outcomes associated with this, right? Like positive benefits or what did they see happens?

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Well, and that's what I love about this research is that they have linked, they've linked the groups to financial well being outcomes. And it's the quick, consistently independent group so that group that is at a younger age becoming independent from their parents financially. Yeah. In terms of like their subjective and objective measures of financial well being, they tend to be lower. They tend to be the lowest.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Like lowest financial well being.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Mackenzie Johnson:

In other words, in terms of if we think about what we've talked about in previous episodes around the support offered, and how soon you have financial experiences, right? That like some of these things, if we go from, now I'm an adult and I'm cutting those financial ties, those opportunities to learn with the safety net of your parents, right, we lose some of that, which does have an impact on our financial well being.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah, yeah. So and the modeling, the modeling looks at different factors that would predict why people are in these groups and are in these trajectories. And so typically, lower socioeconomic status, individuals are in that quickly independent, or consistently independent group. So the ones that are launching a lot sooner, like 18 years old, yes. Versus like the gradually independent group, called the two middle groups, the quickly independent and the gradually independent, are more likely to be going to pursue a degree in school, and maybe their parents are also maybe have higher levels of education than that other group.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Opportunity, yeah, the opportunity of what their families are able to provide looks different, which impacts the rate at which their trajectory. That makes sense.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Right. Right. Right. And that gradually independent group, they're pursuing education but they're not maybe getting as much support from parents like for tuition. And so they end up, the study found that they ended up with more student loan debt. So that also sets your trajectory in terms of financial well being if you're leaving school with a lot of loans versus someone who doesn't. So but it's early research.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Also gets an education.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So I think it's fascinating research. There hasn't been a lot done on it.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, a preliminary look at this idea. But a cool, yeah, a cool look at it, nonetheless, a cool way of looking at this idea. And so using that information, you know, for ourselves as parents, the idea of like, okay, we understand that emerging adulthood is just kind of half and half out, right? Freedom without full responsibility, we can understand that. It's not just you. This stage is defined by that. Not everyone's going to experience it the same way but that confusion and muddiness is a part of it. Which means that as parents because our child, our emerging adult child, is in this gray area like that means we're kind of in there, right? We're in there in our parenting in this gray area of like, well, they're kind of doing their own thing, but kind of still not. Right. And so I do, I think it's important for us to acknowledge that as we think about financial parenting for our 20 year old, for our 26 year old, for our 18 year old, you know, whatever age that it can come with this gray area. And that can mean some, I almost want to say discomfort for us, right, like this unknown of should I or shouldn't I, is really a big question that we have as parents in this stage. And should I do this? Should they do this? Should I kick them off the cellphone plan? Should I make them go get blank? And we ask a lot of these questions, and so many things influence it? Like how we answer those questions, right? Like our income and financial stability, the way that we were raised, right, like what our parents did with us. And I think that's something else that's really interesting. You know, you mentioned earlier that this has changed, like the stage of emerging adulthood has changed over time because of society. Right? Like, emerging adults now are having a different experience than emerging adults 20 years ago. And I think that when we're parenting an emerging adult now, if we had a different experience, I think it can leave us with this feeling of like, feeling really torn about it, right? The ambiguity of I don't know if I should or shouldn't. But I also think there's just this value sometimes, this pull of like, am I supposed to be sending them off to go do it themselves or am I supposed to be supporting them? Yeah, I kinda just want to hold a little space for that for a minute of like, it can feel weird. And that's not your fault. Um, yeah, I don't know.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

It's a natural, I think, conflict because we are parenting for independence but we have to keep our eye on the prize that we're also parenting for the best for our children in terms of financial security and well being in particular, that's the topic. And so to accept the fact and parents have, over time, have accepted the fact that economic independence or financial independence is coming slower for this generation because of a lot of structural issues, things like low wage, more expensive housing, you know, lower housing stock of affordable homes. And also that, you know, there's a greater financial investment that's required to become a mature adult in terms of finances. So compared to a generation ago, which we had talked about, that a high school education would get you a job that would have a living wage that you could afford to support a family and maybe buy a house, right. And today, it's not the same. You know, maybe two jobs are required, and maybe you're not buying a house until much later in life. So there's a lot more structural things going on. We had the great recession, we've had the pandemic, so every generation's had its own challenge. Every ... has its own own challenge. But yeah, so back to that natural conflict between, you know, wanting to make our child independent versus wanting to have the best for them. So I would just, you know, recommend to parents that your goal is not just independence, it's also well being, and that it's okay to keep financial ties, if that's, you know, and you might be conflicted, but in the long run, by being supportive, they're going to be better off. And that's okay.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And that's okay, I'll say, and that's the thing is, I don't even think it's like, this is what we should do as much as, hold that space for yourself as a parent of this is unfamiliar territory for me. I've never, even if I have a child who's older than this child, I've never been through this with this child. Or I've never made these decisions with this distinct set of circumstances, even if I made a, quote unquote, similar decision three years ago, or two years ago, or 10 years ago. And so I do think it's important for us to think about, as we think about, like, how do I coach and parent my emerging adult financially, like holding that space for, okay, I might feel a little torn. I might feel like this is different than what I had. But it's also okay to just hold that of like, my experience was this, that might not be my child's experience. And that can bring up difficult feelings. Hold space for that, too. I don't know. And I just feel like there's a lot of values here and there's a lot of each of us for our own reality. And I guess that's kind of where I'm going back to is like this idea of a pluralistic approach. There's not one way only to financially, to teach your emerging adult about financial independence and financial well being and to help them get there. There's more than one way and we can hold that space in that there's going to be some muddiness here, and that each of us is going to make the best decision we know how. Each of us is going to take this information and make the best decision we know how for our own family. Even the, should my child come back and live with me decision, right? There's this whole, quote unquote, movement of boomerang kids, right? They go to college and then move back in or they move out and then have some kind of financial hardship and move back in. And I think it's not necessarily always just as clear cut as, should I let them. Maybe I physically don't have the space and so it would be detrimental to both of us. Or maybe I can't afford it. Or maybe I can, but our relationship is strained. Or maybe I can and I've got plenty of space and I'm lonely. Like there's so many situations and context when we make that decision. And so just acknowledging like, hey, it's alright, it feels weird, but you get to choose and make that decision, informed decision, regardless of the judgment or the shoulds. For your own family and your own situation.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah, I think I think that's really well stated that there is such a plurality and the one point we're missing also, is that for those parents that are listening who don't have coachable children that, you know, I don't think we've acknowledged the child that maybe jumps right into independence and makes decisions to maybe be an early aged parents, you know, get married early. That looks very different in terms of, you know, maybe what we've been talking

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, well, and it's not all within what we about. do as a parent is within our reach of control. But ultimately, we do not control our emerging adult. They are an adult. Yeah, not the full, right, they're kind of a need an adult here, adults sometimes, but, yeah, you're right. Like, some kids are just like, hey, I've already decided I'm not asking for your input.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

I went out and bought a car. Hi, this is my new car. And like what?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Right. And ultimately, that's not your decision. Your realm of influence can be different for your child than I have for mine, right? It looks different, because every kid is a part of the mix. One way.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Right. Exactly. Yeah. Right. And so that was kind of the point I wanted to make. That is definitely bi-directional nature of influence between parents and kids and kids and parents, you know, and so kids moving back into the household, you mentioned, you know, maybe there's not enough room. And you know, there's definitely evidence that having kids in the household can be a strain, can be a financial strain, you know, and so, there are so many factors that go into it.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Well, I even know a family that there was a gap, right? So they're like a blended family. And so they have a tagalong, I mean, I use the term tagalong, a child with a large age gap from older siblings. And so there was like a child in school in their home and an adult sibling. Like, they literally were like, you can't move in because this isn't working because we have a young child. Right. And so there's just so many different situations. But yeah. But go ahead.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

As I say, but one thing I will say is that over time, parents have embraced the idea that there are going to be financial ties over, you know, longer than the age 18. You know, and that's regardless of income, then parents are willing, they're increasingly willing to help their adults, young adults, children, yeah, adults, young adult children. And so I think the data is like 22% of all, you know, regardless of age, 22% of adults receive financial support from their parents. Yeah. So that's a fifth, you know, so there's. And it goes both ways, too, right.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And I think that's important to understand of our culture, right? Like, over generations over time, there is this shift in one, we saw a new developmental stage literally called emerging adults, but the shift of this acceptance of that, right. And so understanding that like, it's not just you, right, there are other people and other families experiencing this. I do think one of the great things that I mean, always I'm referring back to that CFPB, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, it's like, okay, we're like there's a million ways to do this, not just one way. But there is also strategies and information so one of the things that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau talks about with emerging adults is they say, when our kids are younger, financially we provide a lot more direction and instruction. As they get older, particularly in emerging adulthood, our role shifts to reflection and feedback on their financial decisions. So I love that, more reflection and feedback. So as they are looking at maybe leasing a car, a car loan, or whether or not to fix a car or right, whatever those financial decisions are, our role in emerging adulthood becomes reflection and feedback. I can even share, you know, I've shared before I have a younger sister who's in this emerging adulthood stage, and they kind of hit a financial, her and her fiance hit a financial hiccup recently and I did kind of, I'm not her parent, but I did feel a little bit of that role of it wasn't my job to say, you shouldn't do that, or you can't do that. Right. But to be more supportive of, okay, what happened with this financial hiccup, like, what happened here? How can we prevent it from happening again? What are we learning? How do we, you know, but that processing part felt more appropriate than, that wasn't a good idea. Right, that wouldn't have been very helpful probably.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah, yeah. Well, that good feedback for your sister, right? I mean, for her to have that reflection and for any young adult. But yeah, I think that, because financial independence and because it's become a longer period, a more prolonged period, and we as parents can have, we can have a more influential role for a longer period of time. And so we can offer that reflection and feedback on decisions. And, you know, this podcast season, we've been talking about financial well being in those building blocks, and so financial knowledge decision making, there's personal traits, like executive function, and then habits and norms. That's what we're trying to build with them and where we can, you know, kind of point them in the right direction for okay, you're thinking about buying a car? Have you looked into how much you can afford? What's going to be your payment per month? Do you know? Are you going to pay cash for it? Are you going to try and buy a car? So really giving them feedback about a decision they're trying to make. And they should hopefully, you know, if they're open to it, hopefully they'll put those critical skills to use, which, again, are like the ability to find information, use it, and then act on it, which is where we're trying to socialize them to.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. Well, I mean, you're always just wrapping it back in. That's exactly what we're talking about. Right? Yeah. And those are the places I mean, there's lots of places, but those are the places where that reflection and feedback, we do have a role when our children are open to it, our adult children, right, that sometimes feels silly to say. Yes, when our adult children are open to that feedback, that is a role we can have. There was also this really great, some of these really great strategies, which we're going to dig into here, which some of you might remember from previous seasons, based on self-determination theory, which I'm a geek for, but around self-determination theory and becoming financially independent, or self sufficient. So they talked about it as in parenting financially, autonomy supported, which is like how do we support their independence. Competence, right, their actual skills and what do they know how to do that they feel confident in. How do we support their competence? And how do we support them with relatedness or connection. So those were the three categories of strategies. And I wanted to dig into these. So if we can, let's go with autonomy. So some of the examples they gave were providing choices in how to make financial decisions for your emerging adult. Well, you could, we're talking about cars, you could lease. You could get a car loan. You could save up until you can pay cash. You could, like helping them outline the options that would support their independence. You're not telling them you need to do this as much as like, Okay, I'm gonna help you find the choices within your options. And then another one for encouraging that autonomy supportive thing, is encouraging independent money management. So encouraging them to practice those skills of paying bills, of knowing their interest rates, of knowing when things are due, of having the knowledge they need. And so those are things that we can do to support their financial independence from the aspect of like, autonomy or independence.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah, yeah, that's a perfect description of it. And you know, as parents, it's kind of hard to not express our opinion sometimes. And especially if we see our child going down the road, we're like, oh, that's not going to be a good ending. And so yeah, but autonomy is so important, but to be able to do it in a supportive way, I think will make them, feeling supported versus feeling thwarted because thwarted is the other like, end of the perspective of like, okay, you know, I feel like my parents are supporting my decision and I can express myself as who I am. versus no, they're just subjecting me to their opinion. And now I feel like I can't be who I want to be.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, yes. Well, and so this other part I feel like really taps into a lot of your knowledge and expertise. I mean, all of them fall within your knowledge and expertise, with this competence, right? What they actually, the skills they have. So the examples they give for being a competent, supportive parent for financial self sufficiency, encouragement of setting and achieving financial goals, right? Helping them say, like, Oh, you'd really like to purchase this thing? Let's set a goal for that. How do you want to do that? How much are you planning to save or work towards that? Are you planning to work extra hours to get it, you know, helping them set and achieve those goals? Giving them positive feedback on their financial behaviors. I thought that's like a man positive feedback. We've been talking about that at every age, not just financially, right. These are just general parenting skills of, hey, look at that, you've been saving for this for a long time, and you did it. You've got it now. Or you like, holy cow, you went through a lot of research or exploring to figure out what the best option is, and look at the good deal you got, right. And so giving them that positive reinforcement. And then the third example they give is just that belief, like genuine belief in your child's financial capability. You know, encouraging them of like, hey, you know what, yeah, maybe you haven't bought a car before, but you have made financial decisions before. I know you can make a decision. Let's talk about how you make that decision. And I think that belief, support, yeah, it's literally about supporting their competence. Like, you can do things, you can do hard things, which is good for an emerging adult who maybe isn't feeling so sure.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah. And when we look at like, personal traits, in the whole, you know, how do we build financial well-being, that self-efficacy, the financial self-efficacy is really what this taps into when it comes to competence. So you really want to build up your young adults' feeling of competency. So you want to encourage them to either improve their skills or follow through on skills they already have to strengthen them. And not point out, oh, well, if you buy that car you're probably going to get it repossessed, you know. I mean, that you're going to fail at what this is, that's going to completely undermine the way they feel and that's not our job as parents. We, you know, want to help them feel like, oh, yes, I'm competent. I can achieve this goal, you know, versus oh, I don't know if I can do it.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And there is a difference between helping them understand a potential consequence, and labeling that as like, what is going, like assigning it to them of like, okay, well, let's understand what will happen if we don't, right, if we can't afford it, is very different than like, if you buy that car, it's gonna be repossessed. Right? Yeah. They're very different approaches that both give your child information about what could happen but one is supportive and one is story.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah, right. Exactly.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Okay. And then there is this one more that talks about this connectedness. How do we support their connectedness. And so it talks about having a genuine interest in their financial situation, that it's something we talk with them about even, right? That we let them know, I care about how you're doing with your finances. Encouraging their ability to cope with financial difficulties. That might be financially but they also talk about even just being empathetic in times of financial strain. So there may be financial support and that connectedness, but it could also just be like, you know what, this is hard. This sucks that this unexpected cost came up and you're not ready for it. Like, this is hard. You know, and just whether or not that's something we help them resolve financially, but even just showing up for our kids. That connectedness, peace, that warmth, right, like we talk about in general parenting, that's there.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah, I mean, you said it, whether it's finances or any, really any domain, it's the quality of our parents, the quality of our parenting and the quality of our relationship with our child, and how connected we are, how supportive we are. You said warmth, affection, just making them feel like, you know, the people that I care about care about me. You know, versus the people I care about, they're really acting like they don't like me very much, because they're, you know, because they're not interested. I brought up the issue of maybe wanting to live on my own, and then it just got kind of brushed away, you know, or I got poo pooed by the idea of wanting to pursue something. And yeah, that's an icky feeling for anybody.

Mackenzie Johnson:

That is, and so yeah, we love these. I love these strategies. One, we know I love self determination theory. But this idea of thinking about, we're like, okay, there's a million ways through parenting and emerging adulthood financially, lots of different approaches. And there are some strategies that can be helpful, and that can help build your parent child relationship. Because yes, even though they're an emerging adult, you still have one. They're still your child, you're still their parent. And yeah, that we can understand our role in this realm and whatever situation our child is as an emergent adult, that our role can be reflection and feedback here.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Right? Yeah. And it's a balance between all of them. Right? I mean, you want them, you want them to have autonomy, you want them to be competent, and you want to be, you know, and you want to have a connection with them. So there's a lot that's going into it, as we say about most things.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Well, and as you said, also, I mean, you said it earlier, but I want to highlight it because I'm like, I almost feel like I zoomed past it when you said it, but yeah, balancing also, like you said, the independence with the security because sometimes those don't always go hand in hand, right? If we shove our child into financial independence, right, like you talked about with the trajectories that might affect how secure they are, versus if we can kind of gradually support them, that might help them end up more secure in the long term. And so we are, based on our own situation, that's another huge balance we're having there.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah, it is. And if you have more than one child, it's, you know, gonna look different for each of your children. And we talked a little bit about that, you know. I have a sister who was always very independent, left the home early, got married early, had children early, and her financial stability was much more precarious because of those decisions. Right? But my parents' tie to her financially also ended up being stronger, because she needed help.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And it is, it can look so different. In the end, yeah, whether or not as the parent that was their decision about the independence versus stability, that's not always within the parent's control, because this is an adult child. Yeah. So there is, there's all kinds of things that we've got, you know, rolling through here. There's a lot of space for grace in emerging adulthood. There's a lot of muddiness and unclear about should, shouldn't, but that there are opportunities that we can continue to help them and their financial capability. And all the other good words, right. I'm like financial capability, we've learned financial socialization, financial well-being financial independence, we've learned a lot of good words, a lot of finance words this season.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah, yeah, and the point, I guess, the most important point is as parents, to keep your eye on the prize, that you want your child to be independent, but you want them also to be financially secure. And if that means, it's okay if that means you're going to continue to support them into adulthood. And as we know, 22% of adults are still getting help from their parents in one way or the other, so it doesn't stop. Parents, that's the one thing we don't, parenting never stops.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Goes on, just keeps going on, doesn't it.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

It really does, it really does.

Mackenzie Johnson:

So you get to decide how you're parenting financially in emerging adulthood. So this brings us to our Stop. Breathe. Talk. space with our producer, Mackenzie DeJong. I know she has a question because she talked about it earlier. I'm not sure what she's cooked up here.

Mackenzie DeJong:

Um, so my question actually is more of a request for a conversation. Which is directly tied to what you were just talking about. So Mackenzie, at the beginning you said, well, I'm not sure. I feel like I'm an emerging adult. But for those of us that are maybe in the sandwich generation, so we're the ones with, you know, we have parents that are supportive of us, or we have parents, right, period. And then we have kids or we have nieces and nephews, in my case. Just navigating the financial realm. I mean, the world that we're in right now anyway is just kind of crazy, but navigating being in that sandwich generation as an adult. So how do we as the emerging adult, who also maybe I have kids, or I feel like, oh, I'm at this point where I am kind of financially independent, but what advice would you give to those people, which I'm assuming we have lots of listeners are in that world, what advice can we give them in terms of navigating being in that sandwich generation as an emerging adult? That was hard to say apparently.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Can I have a clarifying? Yeah, I want to make sure. The way I'm thinking about it is, the group we're talking about is I maybe have financial dependents, like children, while I may be somewhat financially dependent on parents, is that fair?

Mackenzie DeJong:

Yeah.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Okay. So yeah, in this ambiguous, muddy stage of dependence and independence, half in half out, as we've said. Mmm hmm. That's a tricky one. Anything come straight to mind for you, Suzanne. All right.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

That is, yeah, that is a tricky question. I think as an emerging adult, I hate to use the word responsibility but, you know, realizing that your decisions have consequences and that you do need to take responsibility in terms of understanding how they impact your children and how they impact your parents. Yeah. That, you know, generationally we are all connected. So the economic stress of grandparents can seep to parents that can seep to the emerging young adult, to even the grandchildren. I know, that's a tough one.

Mackenzie Johnson:

It's an important part. I agree, Suzanne. Yeah, acknowledging the like radiation, not the radiation, but like the ripple out of the impact that that financial situation, our financial situation has to our family members there. Go ahead.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

No, I'm thinking, you know, like, Mackenzie D., you know, thinking about you, let's say, you as an emerging, I know you're older than an emerging adult, but you know, that your parents age, you know, they're probably thinking about retirement, but they also want to be supportive of their children and their grandchildren. But then, you know, do you put your own needs above, like your children's needs above your needs. And so I just feel like there's some responsibility of someone that is accepting assistance from their parents, even if they're a parent, like that sandwich person, then they need to understand the ramifications. I guess I'm just repeating what I said.

Mackenzie Johnson:

No, but in a different way that adds understanding to it.

Mackenzie DeJong:

One side of the question that I maybe didn't clarify was like, how can we, it's kind of like the picture of the two kids with a house and the fence and we're in that sandwich generation. I feel like I'm, you know, I have my parents' support, but I'm also feeling the pressure of, you know, what is around me, and maybe what I'm seeing around me, and what society maybe says is where I'm supposed to be at and that is maybe part of it where I was kind of looking at the people around us. Like what's expected if we're supposed to have the house, but you know, in our financial times that it's really hard to buy a house.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Okay, the two words that came to mind, luckily, they stuck around when you gave further explanation, that they still applied, I think. I think one, grace, and two, clarity. So I think grace and like giving yourself permission to be where you're at. Right? And like to be wherever your parents are, to be where, right? So like, as you said, retirement. Okay, my parents, even though my friend's parents could support them in this purchase, my parent can't, or even though blank blank, right? So like the grace for ourselves, for our parents, and then yes, if we do have like dependents, right, if we have children, then the grace for our kids of like, what's the experience that they're having? And so I think grace is a part of this. Also not passing the judgment along to future generations and to people around us of like, well, I have this so you should have this. And then, yeah, I think also clarity around expectations around what is and is not appropriate, the communication piece of that. Yes, if your parents are in a like, you know, limited income situation, whether that's retirement or whatever, of like, okay, once this happens, we will not be able to support you in this way. Or there will come a time when x but like, having that communication and clarity around that, I think is important. And then the other thing I want, that I don't feel like we tapped into in this episode, is even though the ending phase of emerging adulthood is not particularly distinctive, like now you're not an emerging adult, you do move out of emerging adulthood, right? So when particularly up for debate, Suzanne, you can disagree with me. I would say financial independence in particular is like a main marker of moving out of that emerging adulthood. And so once you, right, no longer depend financially on your parents in those capacities. We do eventually move out of emerging adulthood. So I would say like, it's not all parents. If you have children and you're an emerging adult, just because you're, quote unquote, young, you're not necessarily an emerging adult. I don't know.

Mackenzie DeJong:

I feel like we brought up more questions than answers, right? Barb, thanks for that. That was one of the questions Barb kind of sent through and then I've been thinking about it the whole whole time you've been recording of like, okay, well, like, what about those people in the middle?

Mackenzie Johnson:

And there is, there is. You can be both an emerging adult and a parent. Like, we're talking about parenting emerging adults, but you can be both too. Yes.

Mackenzie DeJong:

So thanks.

Mackenzie Johnson:

You're like, question you responded, but was it answered? But I'll say, an important conversation, right? If nothing else, we're bringing our attention to the diverse, the different experiences that each of us can have as parents, yeah, and who we're parenting and all.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

And also, I guess, as a conclusion to that is that communication is the best thing for all relationships. And being very clear, like you said, clarity, but also just being clear about expectations and gratitude, and, you know, for support when you do get support, and acknowledgement, maybe to yourself and others.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, yeah. Awesome. Good. Good words to wrap it on.

Mackenzie DeJong:

I'll leave you so I don't bring any more stress here.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, no more hard questions. You have to go. Oh, thanks, Kenz, you're not so bad. You're not so bad. We give you a bad rap. But thanks for listening in today. I feel like we really just kind of, I mean, obviously talking about emerging adults. But we talked around like an ambiguous stage in a lot of ways, because there is a lot of ambiguity. But yeah, who are emerging adults? What are the financial things? Right, a lot of stuff is happening financially in this stage and how do we understand and support our kids in this stage through those financial decisions that they're making? And so hopefully, you got some strategies, understanding what our role is here, and that we know there's a lot of different ways, right? There's not just like, this is the way you must parent financially. It's not you should or you shouldn't, that's not always the answer. The answer is taking in the information to make a decision so that you can balance like you said, that independent, financial independence for them, and that financial security in the long term, and making that decision within your own reality.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah, so great summary of the episode. So our next episode, we're gonna wrap up the season on kids and money, and we're gonna be talking about raising good consumers.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And I like this idea of consumers. I'm excited to talk about it, though I am a little sad. It'll be the last episode of the season.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Oh, yeah, I know. It's like we could have eight more episodes on this topic. But smart consumers is a great one to end on.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Right. And I'm like, I think that means we could just keep talking and keep going now. Oh, but so join us next week. But thanks for joining us today on the Science of Parenting podcast. Don't forget that you can email our team specific parenting questions that you might have. You can reach out to us at parenting@iastate.edu because we love getting your questions.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

So come along as we tackle the ups and downs, the ins and outs, and the research and reality all around the Science of Parenting.

Anthony Santiago:

The Science of Parenting is hosted by Mackenzie Johnson, produced by Mackenzie DeJong, with research and writing by Barbara Dunn Swanson. Send in questions and comments to parenting@iastate.edu and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For the full non-discrimination statement or accommodation inquiries go to www.extension.iastate/diversity/ext.