Twenty-five percent of teens surveyed recently by Junior Achievement USA and the Allstate Foundation said they think they will be 25-27 years old before becoming financially independent from their parents, up from 12 percent in 2011. Given the job market and a mountain of student loan debt, they're likely right.

This can be disastrous for parents. At a time when they could be ramping up savings for retirement, funds have to be allocated to the kids.

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Here's how to help, without hurting your finances.

Protect yourself: If you co-sign for a credit card for your child, make sure the bill is paid. "Don't jeopardize your credit," says Katie Coleman, an Ameriprise financial adviser in Melville. Don't link bank accounts. "If you link accounts, the bank will pull money from your account if your child overdraws. This won't teach your child the consequences of their actions," says Coleman.

Place limits: "They should contribute to household expenses," says Mark Kravietz, managing director at HighTower's MK Wealth Management in Melville. Charge below-market rent.

Discuss their goals and a deadline for achieving them. Be clear on who'll pay for what. "Put the agreement in writing," advises Rakesh Gupta, a professor with the business school at Adelphi University in Garden City.

Benefit from the experience: Says Stuart Ritter, a certified financial planner with T. Rowe Price in Baltimore, "Use their time at home to help them understand the importance of smart saving, spending and investing. You'll set a strong foundation for their financial future."