Bank of Mum and Dad: 44% of parents subsidise the lives of their adult kids

Posted: 11 November 2020 12:17 pm
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From buying a home to bankrolling holidays, the "Bank of Mum and Dad" remains open for business according to new research by Finder.

A new nationally representative Finder survey of 1,011 respondents, 445 of whom are parents with children over 18, revealed that a whopping 44% of Australian parents help their adult kids financially.

The research found that 23% of parents subsidise the cost of their adult child's groceries while 17% allow their kids to live at home rent free.

Almost 1 in 7 (14%) help out with bills including broadband and mobile, while 1 in 10 (9%) provide free childcare for their grandchildren.

When it comes to property, 7% of parents have chipped in for a house deposit. Around 3% have gone guarantor for their child, with a further 3% even contributing towards mortgage repayments.

Graham Cooke, insights manager at Finder, said that it's surprising to see just how many "kidults" receive financial help from their parents.

"It seems that parents feel responsible for ensuring their kids are on a sound financial footing, no matter how old they are.

"Thousands of first home buyers are reliant on their parents to get on the property ladder, with mum and dad helping with everything from house deposits to mortgage payments.

"Many parents want to help their kids enter the housing market while conditions are favourable – the combination of low interest rates, price dips and government schemes won't last forever," Cooke said.

South Australia has the highest proportion of parents who support their adult kids financially, with over half opening their wallet (54%), whereas just 34% of Western Australian parents do the same.

Cooke warned that parents' generosity could hurt their own standard of living in retirement.

"If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that parents need to make sure they have an emergency fund set aside for their own use – you never know what might happen.

"Helping your kids is how many see the job of a parent, but mum and dad need to make sure they aren't putting their own financial position at risk in the process.

"The last thing anyone wants is the Bank of Mum and Dad to go bust," he said.

How have/do you help out your adult kids financially?
Paying for groceries23%
Free rent17%
Paying for bills (broadband, energy etc)14%
Provide free childcare9%
Paying for car-related costs9%
Paying for transport8%
Paying for some or all of holidays7%
Paid for part or all of car7%
Charging board/low rent7%
Loan money for a home deposit7%
Paying for / subsidising tertiary education6%
Other5%
Helped with wedding costs4%
Going/went guarantor for their home loan3%
Help them pay their mortgage3%

Source: Finder survey of 445 parents with children aged 18+, October 2020

How parents can safeguard their financial position:

  • Don't dip into your emergency account. It's important to have your own funds that you don't touch, even to help out your kids. You never know what life might throw at you, and it's crucial to have a financial fallback just in case.
  • Make informed decisions. If you go guarantor on your child's mortgage, make sure to do your research first so you're aware of the risks. It can be worth consulting a mortgage broker or financial planner beforehand to ensure you have the right information.
  • Set up a payment plan. Family and money don't always mix. If you lend money to your kids in the form of a "loan", draw up an agreement first so repayment expectations are clear from the start.

Hoping to enter the market? Check out our tips for first home buyers or compare home loans for low deposit borrowers.

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