A generation of parents can no longer afford their adult children!

That’s the takeaway of a new survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education. They interviewed more than a thousand people with adult children, meaning kids over the age of 25, and they found that more than half of those parents now provide some kind of financial assistance to their kids, like helping them pay bills or letting them move back into the house. Also, because of that support, 26% percent of parents said they’ve gone into debt, while 7% percent of parents said they’ve had to postpone retirement.

Cliff Zukin is a professor of public policy at Rutgers who says this is a problem that’s been gaining steam for a while. In fact, since the recession began, more than a million adults over age 25 have been forced to move back in with their parents and experts worry this trend is creating a “vicious cycle” in our economy.

Think about it: Many recent college graduates can’t find jobs because people more than twice their age won’t retire and many adults over age 60 say they can’t afford to retire, because they’re supporting their kids longer.

So, here’s Zukin’s advice if you find yourself one of the 59% percent of parents with adult kids at home:

First: Encourage your kids to take jobs outside their chosen profession. The thinking is that the sooner your kids find a job, any job, the sooner they can get on their own feet.

Also: Practice “tough love” with your kids, by setting an expiration date for your support. It can be anywhere from a few months to several years. Zukin says the point is to let your kids know you won’t be their permanent “piggy bank.”