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When Parents Are the Emergency Fund

By June 17, 2020No Comments

Financial fallout from the pandemic is hitting millennials hard — and many will soon turn to their parents for help, if they haven’t already.

Before parents ride to the rescue, financial planners urge them to map out a strategy that doesn’t just plug a short-term need but also makes sense in the long run.

“Often the heartstrings will get pulled — ‘I really have to help them!’— but it can be detrimental to the parent,” says certified financial planner Jeffrey L. Corliss of Westport, Connecticut.

(Of course, financial aid can flow the other way, as many millennials help support their parents. I’m addressing parents here, but most of the advice applies to kids helping their folks as well.)


Even before the pandemic, millennials had lower median incomes, far more debt and a much smaller slice of the nation’s wealth than boomers had at the same age. Millennials — usually defined as those ages 24 to 39 — are more likely than older generations to have lost jobs or household income because of the pandemic, various surveys show.

“I’ve already seen clients coming in, worried about their kids,” says CFP Deborah Badillo of Miami. “‘They’re going to lose the house! What can I do to help them?’”