Parents are shelling out nearly $17,000 every year to help their adult children, survey says



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A parent’s job is never really over, they say. But these days, instead of simply dishing out some hard-won wisdom or offering to babysit the grandchildren, 47% of American parents are forced to help their adult children financially, according to a new Savings.com survey.

After the past few years of inflation, the average amount parents spend helping their adult kids is pretty shocking. Even though Savings.com’s survey measured 1,000 parents with a median income of only $50,000 to $74,999 annually, the average parent spent $1,384 per month, or $16,608 annually, on their adult kids. That’s about 27% of the average annual salary in the U.S. in 2023.

Paying for food (77%), cell-phone bills (64%), and rent (58%) are the most common ways U.S. parents help their adult kids these days, according to Savings.com’s survey. Unsurprisingly, Gen Z, or those born between 1997 and 2012, receive the most support as adults. But 21% of parents were still helping millennial (aged 28 to 43) and Gen X (age 44 to 59) kids.

The often career-derailing impact of the pandemic, burdensome housing costs, declining stigma around living with family, mental-health issues, and even overly protective helicopter parents have all been blamed for Gen Z and millenial’s financial struggles. 

There’s certainly been a failure to launch for many: Nearly half of all Americans aged 18 to 29 were living at home in 2023, according to a Harris Poll for Bloomberg—that’s the highest level seen since World War II.

That’s not great for parents, considering the average age they wish their kids would reach financial independence is 25. On top of that, 61% of adult children that live with their parents don’t contribute any money toward household expenses like rent and food, according to Savings.com’s survey. 

This financial strain has led to issues for many parents. Some 58% of parents said they have sacrificed their financial security to help their adult children. A January Pew Research study also found 36% of parents said that helping their kids financially has hurt their own finances, with some delaying retirement.

Despite the burden, parents are still willing to help their kids at any age. On average, working parents who support adult children spend 2.4 times as much on them as they do contributing to their own retirement accounts. And 61% of parents said they’d be willing to live a “more frugal lifestyle” to continue supporting their adult children, while 46% said they’d even withdraw money from their retirement accounts.

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