Hopefully our kids have enough consumer savvy to know what is realistic and what is too good to be true — which means that deep down, they should know the family cell phone plan will have to end one day.

It’s going to be a big change for them, so I recommend doing it gently and with plenty of lead time. To soften the blow, you may want to make a big, heroic gesture like buying a brand new iPhone for them. iPhones have a tendency to reboot bad attitudes, which may justify spending $1,000 on one if you want to make your life easier — but make sure it’s a quid pro quo.

Young adults need the resources to be solid breadwinners, and that includes more than just the cash they save on a family plan. Having an emergency credit card is a vital part of being an adult (especially for pet owners!) and timely payments on a phone plan build credit. 

Family car insurance presents the same dilemmas as family phone plans. Let’s say Janey or Johnny has been on the policy since time immemorial, and it saves them a lot of money because of the homeowner’s insurance tie in. Well, their individual insurance rates are going to stay high if they don’t start taking out their own policies.

Cutting the cord is a form of tough love: It’s going to be very tough for you to push your little baby bird from the nest — but like the bird, a fox will probably eat you and your baby will have to fend for itself.