Avoiding the failure to launch into financial adulthood

No parent wants their child to experience the failure to launch and end up living in their basement until their thirty-five. Failure to Launch is a common way to describe a young adult who is struggling with the transition to adulthood.

One of the common reason a young adult fails to launch is because of money. Lack of it or not knowing how to manage it. Many parents want to soften their child’s entry into the real world, but at what cost? Let’s break down some of the ways you can prevent the failure to launch syndrome from occurring.


It mind sound a bit cliche, but young adults need passion in their lives. In fact, we all need a bit of it. Passion combats failure to launch by letting us be participants rather than observers. Passion comes in all shapes and sizes and doesn’t necessarily need to be your job. You may find passion in helping others, cooking, music, art, a particular career field, sports, chocolate, video games, movies, etc. The list is almost endless.

The key is to harness that passion and let it help drive and motivate you. As parents, we can be supportive of a child’s passion. We need to reinforce the idea that life is not about “likes” on a social media platform, but about real, meaningful connections to people and activities.


Let’s face it. We use money all of our lives. Yet only 1/3 of states require their students to graduate having taken a personal finance class. Formal education is just one way we increase our knowledge. A lot is learned from family and friends too.

Failure to launch into what has recently been coined “emerging adulthood” has a lot to do with money. Children learn by example, so it essential to be a good one and involve them in money discussions. Money shouldn’t be a taboo topic. If you’re bad with money, how do you think your children are going to handle it?


You can explain the cost of a new device, your choices for paying for it (in full or payment plan), the reoccurring charges each month, and how many hours someone would have to work to covers these costs you’ve just successfully navigated a money conversation with your child.

Taking a money discussion further, does your child know how much you make? What your rent or mortgage costs? Discussing these real-life examples help them better understand money, and what things cost and how they are paid for. As pre-adults, we don’t really care about them at all. That was one of the benefits of being a kid, no adult responsibilities. But if these details are always hidden and never discussed, how would we ever be able to handle them when presented?


If all of your parenting and coaching fails to help your young adult launch, more drastic measures may be needed to push them toward independence. Tough love is often the category this type of parenting falls into. Tough love’s end game is ultimately the person’s welfare. If a child is unable to launch, you may need to enforce stricter boundaries. If they fail to take responsibility for their actions, a clear consequence must occur.

It’s painful to watch someone you care for fail and have to face the consequences, but sometimes it the jolt of reality they need. Enforcing a curfew, deadlines, schedule, etc. may be the structure they need to be successful. You do not want to continue to enable someone who is facing a failure to launch.


Although we want our children to move out, live on their own, and be successful, there could be some benefit for their extended stay at home. Set clear expectations, like pitching in with house chores, including cleaning and cooking. This work helps build some skills they will need on their own.

Consider charging them rent. It’s another one of those items they will need to handle on their own someday. It’s money that you can choose to save for them, so they have a cushion when they finally launch. It could be about spending some extra quality time with your child. Having them living at home gives you the undivided opportunity of their time.

Once they are out of the house, they may not always be available. This time might help you develop a deeper relationship.


In any of these steps of overcoming a failure to launch, you need to have clear communication with your child. They need to understand how long or how much support you are will to give. Setting these clear expectations helps them plan for their exit. It doesn’t mean that once they move on that emotional or moral support will stop. You might stay on as their financial accountability partner to help guide them with their money. You may simply offer resources like books or articles they could read to increase their knowledge on a particular topic.

The key is to have them understand that even though your monetary support has ended, you are always available for a talk or questions. This might be the safety net they need to launch successfully. As parents, we have an obligation to fulfill our parental responsibility. To teach our kids to function independently and raise a person who contributes to society. It doesn’t mean we need to support them financially forever.


We all want to live a balanced life. As a parent, we often experience peaks and valleys in our own life. Many factors can contribute to what can feel like a roller coaster ride, things like our work, health, loss, and stress are just a few. As our children grow and experience these things for themselves, we need to help guide them, and let our own experiences act as an example. They will experience their own speed bumps along the way, and it’s our job to help smooth them out, but eventually, they need to navigate on their own.