About Half of US Parents Still Paying for Adult Kids

Survey finds working parents give twice as much to adult children as to retirement savings
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2024 9:03 AM CDT
Almost Half of US Parents Cover Adult Kids' Bills
Parents are feeling the stress in juggling financial support with retirement savings.   (Getty Images/JackF)

Parents who financially support adult children are in the norm. Nearly half of US parents—47%—financially support an adult child in some way, according to a new survey conducted by Savings.com. As housing and food costs have risen, the likelihood of a young person moving out on their own has fallen. As CNBC reports, millennials and members of Generation Z not only have lower wages than their parents did at the same age, after adjusting for inflation, but also have larger student debt. Members of Gen Z (those aged 18 to 27) are particularly in need of help, according to the survey, which found parents help Gen Z children cover at least three bills on average, Quartz reports.

In some cases, parents are stepping in to help with rent, groceries, and phone bills. But some are also covering health and auto insurance, tuition, leisure, even vacations. This leaves parents in a tough spot. The survey found parents hand out $1,384 per month to at least one adult child on average, which is "twice as much as what working parents contribute to their own retirement savings, or about $609 a month," per Quartz. Some 58% of parents say they've sacrificed their own financial security, up 21% from a year earlier. The online survey of 1,000 US adults (excluding those who support disabled adult children) found the majority of adult children living at home—61%—don't contribute to household expenses at all.

"For some, it's tempting to simply say that today's young adults are just mooches," the survey reads, per the Guardian. But that "doesn't solve or even properly describe the economic factors at play." It acknowledges the need to "contend with a changing labor market and rising prices so that American parents can plan for retirement without stressing how their children will make ends meet." The survey follows another by the Pew Research Center, which found 59% of parents financially support an adult child. It also found a third of adults aged 18 to 34 were living with a parent. That broke down to 57% of those aged 18 to 24, 21% of those aged 25 to 29, 11% of those aged 30 to 34, per CNN. Notably, some 74% of parents described the arrangement as positive or somewhat positive. (More Generation Z stories.)

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