/ Money

Should parents be paying for their adult children?

Family finances

The financial impact of having kids is well documented, but it appears supporting children well into adulthood is becoming the norm.

A new survey by Nationwide suggests that 85% of parents pay towards the cost of easing their offspring out of the family home, shelling out as much as £2,500. This includes the cost of helping children to buy items for university, or contributing towards a deposit on a property.

A fair portion of parents also fork out money on a regular basis thereafter, with 18% saying they hand over cash twice a month or more. Some even put themselves into debt to do so, with 6% using a credit card, 5% dipping into an overdraft and 3% taking out a personal loan.

Are you still supporting your children into adulthood? How long do you expect to be doing it for?

Doing it for the kids

It’s often suggested that millennials have it tougher than previous generations to secure themselves a stable financial footing.

Many find it tougher to reach the first rung of the property ladder than their parents did. The stats suggest that more parents are giving their children a leg-up as a result.

Last week, a Social Mobility Commission report suggested that one in three first-time buyers now receive a financial gift from family members.

Spiralling tuition fees might also be a reason why more parents are helping finance their children’s university studies too.

On the other hand, many parents may feel they’ve paid their dues for the first 18 years of their child’s life, and it’s now up to their offspring to support themselves. After all, learning to manage your own finances is an important part of becoming an adult.

Empty nest

The survey also touched on the emotional side of children fleeing the nest – 10% of parents surveyed felt distraught and a further 13% reported feeling lonely. In some cases, these handouts may double up as a bribe to ensure the kids still visit.

For me, a free meal or two was always enough motivation for me to go home when I was a struggling undergraduate.

What’s your attitude towards passing on money to your children? Is it ever worth putting yourself into debt? Are there are any reasons you wouldn’t support your kids, even if you could afford to?


This is one of the most interesting convo,s so far -good thinking Joe- highly controversial (dont tell me Which is becoming radical -no of coarse not ) Where do you stand -sticker in back of the car-spending the kids inheritance—and enjoying it or Judge Judy- STILL at home with your parents- get a job –NOW !! or are you getting yourself into debt because your kids dont know the value of money and you are left with an old-age of struggling and hardship – which you have already paid for in your younger years with hard work . and thought all through it- well my old-age will be more peaceful. Then we have have the poor -they just wish they had the option even their kids are in dead-end jobs on very low pay with zero chance of rising up the ladder and the ever present chance of the company shutting down its branch,s which is happening here at an alarming rate. With the young male suicide rates the highest they have ever been in this country as they see no end in sight except leaving it. Yes this is an excellent convo I just wish Which would produce more of REAL life instead of comic features as lack of money, job, home somehow takes away all the laughter. So good-on ya, Joe as they say in Australia.


Children are family whatever their age. Ours have worked hard at their education, their jobs, and made their way in life in responsible ways. We care about them and they also care about us. We’d rather give them any help now if they need it, and if we can do it, rather than have them wait until we are dead and buried. That way we can enjoy it with them.

Family support is important, we believe. You never know – we might need them to support us one day 🙂

Nick A says:
11 April 2017

The generation with children in the 18-30 range are the last generation to have good pensions, good equity in our properties and our University education was largely free. Many of us will have already inherited from our baby boomer parents. Meanwhile our adult children are leaving University with £50k of debt, much less prospect of a long term career and with an impossible task to get on the housing ladder.

Of course we should be helping them out.


I think Nick A has summed it up very well. I cannot think of a single reason not to help one’s offspring and others in the family if resources are available. It doesn’t necessarily have to be money. Practical and material help can be just as useful. From personal experience I know this can be challenging in some circumstances, especially if people are wanting some emotional response in return or feel uncomfortable propping up what they consider to be an uncongenial lifestyle, but anything other than unconditional support is likely to lead to greater tensions and anxieties in due course.


It would have been clearer if I had written “parents” instead of “people” in line 4 of my comment above.


Be careful of tax implications before helping your children out by making sure you read the link provided in red in the header above ie Inheritance Tax Planning and Tax Free Gifts. Also useful: saga.plc – Tax and Giving Money to Children.


If you have to bribe to ensure the kids still visit, stop the payments right now and organise your will to ensure that everything you have goes to charity.

Interesting question, should parents be paying for their adult children? Does it say something about our society that we’re asking it at all?

Millie Wood says:
11 April 2017

I don’t see why children should be helped financially after they leave the nest it’s up to them to finance their careers their parents have taken care of them from infancy now they must sand on their own two feet. They should not expect their parents to continue to fund them once they have decided what they want to do with their lives


It is surely for many not a question of what children expect, but of what parents choose to do. I don’t see family ties suddenly terminating when they reach a particular point in their lives, whether by age or independence. However, I am probably coloured by liking our children, seeing them as friends as well as offspring, and finding helping them a pleasure. As John intimates above, it may be money, emotional support, physical help, diy, lending a car…….