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4.4 million 'chadults' being financially supported by their parents; at an average of £47,000 each

Press release: 27/06/2012

  • Parents don’t expect their grown-up kids to become financially independent until they are 38 years old on average

  • 1.6 million ‘chadults’ still live at home with their parents

4.4 million grown-up kids(1) in the UK are receiving financial support from their parents, according to the new Cost of a Chadult study from protection specialist LV=. Once they turn 21 and reach adulthood each of these ‘chadults’ costs their parents £47,324 on average during their adult years(2).

British parents are regularly helping to pay towards their grown-up children’s basic living costs including bills and rent, at an average of £2,103 per year or £175 per month for each chadult(3). On top of this, parents are spending an additional £9,476(4) on average per child on big ticket items over the course of their adult lifetimes, such as helping to get them on the housing ladder, further education, holidays, or paying towards a wedding.

Earlier this year, LV=’s Cost of a Child Report(5) found that the cost of raising a child from birth to age 21 totalled £218,024, and today’s findings show that it doesn’t stop there, as a generation of chadults (aged 21 and over) rely on financial assistance from their parents late into adulthood. The new research discovered that it isn’t just those on the right side of 30 that need help from their parents as it isn’t until age 38 that parents on average expect their chadults to be financially independent, and 28% of parents currently supporting chadults expect to always provide financial assistance to their children.

Grown-ups who haven’t flown the nest

Of the 4.4 million chadults in the UK receiving financial support from their parents, 1.6 million live at home. Of these over half (58%) are in their twenties, a third (29%) are in their thirties and one in ten (12%) are over 40. The overall cost of financially supporting a chadult that lives at home is significantly more, with parents spending £55,447 over the years on average(6).

The average age of a first-time buyer in the UK today is 38, and this is predicted to rise to 41 by the year 2025(7). So it is perhaps not surprising that a third (33%) of parents with chadults living at home cite their children not being able to get onto the property ladder, and not wanting to rent, as the reason. Nearly one in five (18%) say their children are living at home because they have not been able to get a suitable job since leaving education, and 12% say their adult children are home again following the breakup of a relationship. One in ten (10%) say their children are living at home because they have a lot of debt that they need help paying off.

Parents feeling the financial strain

Nearly half of all parents who support chadults (42%) admit that they struggle financially as a result, but say they are happy to do so because they are their children. A further 12% say that they are unhappy about the financial support they offer as they feel like they don’t have a choice.

A significant financial strain is being put on parents supporting their adult children, with nearly half (44%) saying they have been forced to raid their savings, and 10% having spent all of their savings.

Almost a quarter (24%) of parents supporting chadults say they have gone without luxuries such as holidays because they can no longer afford them, and one in ten (10%) believe they will have to delay their retirement as a result of the financial support they give to their children.

Mark Jones, LV= Head of Protection, said: “Bringing up a child is expensive and for millions the cost doesn’t stop there. Young people are leaving university with large debts, youth unemployment is at a record high and property is unaffordable for many. So it is likely we will see a growing number of adults who continue to depend on their parents financially.

“Many of these parents won’t have considered how their kids would continue to cope if they could no longer support them financially. Discussing their financial situation with a professional adviser and looking at all the options available, including life cover and income protection, making sure policies are put in trust for children where appropriate, and having an up-to-date will in place, can provide invaluable financial security for families.”

Breakdown of parents spending on chadults

Table one: shows the areas of regular expenditure parents are financially supporting chadults with and by how much on average per month.

Expenditure

Average spend per chadult per month*

Average spend per chadult per month for parents who have chadults living at home*

Day-to-day expenses e.g. food, utility bills, rent

£32.83

£46.85

Their children i.e. grandchildren

£28.96

£30.27

Regular allowance

£20.56

£24.64

Car e.g. insurance, petrol, running a car, speeding fines

£18.51

£26.01

Clothing

£13.25

£22.14

Medical e.g. dentist, opticians, prescription costs and other

£9.95

£15.74

Travel e.g. train tickets, bus pass (excluding personal car costs)

£11.26

£18.12

Socialising e.g. cinema, going to the pub, eating out

£10.49

£15.59

Other regular expenditure

£29.41

£24.84

Total monthly cost

£175.22

Table two: shows the big ticket items parents are financially supporting chadults with and how much on average parents spend over their child’s adult years.

Expenditure

Average spend per chadult*

Average spend per chadult for parents who have chadults living at home*

New home e.g. deposit, stamp duty, survey fees

£2,782

£1,313

Education costs e.g. university tuition fees, fees for vocational course and postgraduate education

£1,985

£2,006

One off significant financial gift

£1,458

£762

Wedding expenses

£1,236

£674

Debt e.g. student loan, credit card and overdraft debts

£800

£887

Other big tickets items e.g. new car, TV, laptop, ipad

£760

£888

Holidays

£455

£487

Total spend

£9,476

£7,019

Notes to editors

The LV= Cost of a Chadult study was constructed through research carried out online through an omnibus survey between 21 to 24 May 2012 by Opinium Research on behalf of LV= (total sample size was 2,012 UK adults over the age of 18).

Within the research a chadult was defined as a child aged 21 or over who is receiving financial support from their parents for items such as day-to-day living expenses, money towards a new home, wedding, car, education or their own children.

Further research was also conducted online from a custom study looking specifically at parents that have children aged 21 and over who they financially support. It also looked at parents that have children aged 21 and over whom they financially support and who live at home. The research was carried out 21 to 28 May 2012 by Opinium Research on behalf of LV= (total sample size was 1,052 parents that financially support their children).

(1) Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 2,012 UK adults aged 18+ between 21 and 24 May 2012, results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria. 177 respondents aged 21 and over said ‘yes’ when asked if they receive financial support from their parents. This equates to 8.8% of the total sample of respondents. When multiplied by UK adult population of 49,969,000 (ONS, 2010) this gives us 4,395,881 chadults. 65 respondents aged 21 and over receiving financial support said they live at home with their parents which equates to 3.23% of the total sample, when multiplied by the UK adult population figure this is 1,614,307 people.

(2) The average parent of a chadult is estimated to spend £175.22 per month per child on everyday costs. This equates to £2,102.64 per year. The average age at which parents expect to no longer support their chadults is 38. £2,102.64 per year multiplied by 18 years gives a total of £37,847.57 as the lifetime regular expenditure cost of a chadult past the age of 21. Plus an average per-child spend of £9,476 on big ticket items over a chadult’s lifetime = an overall cost of £47,323.57

(3) Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 1,052 parents who financially support their children aged 21+ between 21 and 28 May 2012 and asked them how much they spend on their children per month for a number of different areas. A total per-child monthly spend on all of these areas for each parent/respondent was calculated. A per-child average was produced for all parents with chadults living with them and for those with chadults who do not live with them. An overall per-child average was then calculated based on the national proportions of these groups.

(4) Respondents were asked to estimate how much they spent on their children aged 21 and over for a number of “big ticket” items and asked to give an average for each child. Average response per respondent was £9,476, counting all saying “don’t know” or “not applicable” as zero.

(5) The Cost of a Child Report calculations, from birth to 21 years, were compiled by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) on behalf of LV= in December 2011 and are based on the cost for the birth to 21 year period to December 2011.

(6) For children still living at home, parents spend a monthly average of £224.20 per child on every day costs, and £7,018.76 on big tickets items. £224.20 a month to age 38 (18 years) = £48,428.20 + big ticket item spend of £7,018.76 = £55,446.96.

(7) Research commissioned by LV= in 2012, carried out by the Centre of Economics and Business Research. This report presents Cebr’s analysis into the long term trends in the average age of first marriage, first childbirth, and first time home buying. This analysis assesses how average ages have changed over time, and presents Cebr’s estimates of how these trends could develop by the years 2020 and 2025.

About LV=

LV= employs 5000 people and serves around five million customers with a range of financial products. We are the UK’s largest friendly society and a leading financial mutual.

When we started in 1843 our goal was to give financial security to more than just a privileged few and for many decades we were most commonly associated with providing a method of saving to people of modest means. Today we follow a similar purpose, helping people to protect and provide for the things they love, although on a much larger scale and through a wide range of financial services including insurance, investment and retirement products.

We offer our services direct to consumers, as well as through IFAs and brokers, and through strategic partnerships with organisations such as ASDA, Nationwide Building Society and a range of trades unions.

LVFS is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, register number 110035. LVFS is a member of the ABI, the AFM and ILAG.

Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF. www.LV.com.