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79% of parents still 'family bank' for grown-up kids

(CBS) — From Ashton Kutcher to Bill Gates, there’s a growing list of notable figures who say they will not be leaving an inheritance for their children. For the average American, there might not be much to leave behind when faced with the choice between supporting adult children or saving for retirement.

Parents are choosing to cover the costs of groceries, rent and cellphone bills for their adult kids.

A recent study from Merrill Lynch found that 79 percent of parents continue to serve as the “family bank” for their grown-up children, paying for big-ticket items like college and weddings, but also for smaller, everyday expenses. Parents of adult children contribute $500 billion annually — twice the amount that they invest in their own retirement accounts.