A 21st birthday gift is usually the last ‘huge’ gift a parent bestows on their child until the child marries, so it’s understandable that parents may wonder what is appropriate. While family finances and the adult child’s needs are important to consider, here are some worthy ideas.
Student Loan Assistance
By the time an adult child is ready to turn 21, he or she may be a junior or senior in college. By then, parents should be able to see how seriously the child has treated their education. While not every parent can afford to pay for their child’s full education, making a large lump-sum payment towards the cost can save the adult child hundreds or thousands of dollars in interest payments throughout their life.
A Vehicle or Other Transportation
In some areas 16 or 18 are the milestone birthdays for receiving a car. However, not every parent believes their child is ready to own a vehicle at that age. Other parents may have bought a used vehicle for one of these earlier birthdays and it is now becoming old and unreliable. Depending on family finances, parents may decide to upgrade or completely replace the 21-year-old’s vehicle. Those who reside in urban areas may decide to gift a motor scooter or a yearly transit pass to make transportation easier for their adult child.
A Down Payment or First and Last Months’ Rent
If the adult child is still living at home but has expressed a desire to move out on their own, helping with first and last months’ rent will go a long way to helping him or her realize their dream of independent living. For the adult child who wants to purchase their first home, help with a down payment can make for an excellent 21st birthday gift. The gift of help in moving out or moving into home ownership can really impress upon the recipient that his or her parents acknowledge and respect that the transition into adulthood is complete.
Help with Utilities or Other Obligations
Heating and cooling costs can be overwhelming to a young person struggling to make it on their own. The same can be said for car insurance, dental work or cellphone charges. If your adult child is struggling to make ends meet, chipping in to help him or her clear off a worrisome bill will be very much appreciated.
While these ideas may seem very expensive, some parents of lesser financial means may decide to help their child by paying a fraction of the total cost. The 21st birthday is often seen as a major milestone into full adulthood and should be marked in a way that the family finds both helpful and appropriate.