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Over 4 million UK adults continue to get financial help from their parents long after flying the nest

27 February 2013

Research from Gocompare.com has found that over four million* adults are continuing to make withdrawals from the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad' long after they've moved out of their parents' home

While many of us seek our independence at a young age - 43% of those surveyed said that they flew the nest in their teens - it seems that financial independence may not come till a lot later in life.

One in ten of the adults surveyed admitted that they still get help with their outgoings from their mum and dad, despite no longer living with their parents. This rose to 26% in the 18-34 year old age bracket. And men (12%) are more likely than women (8%) to continue receiving financial support after they move out of their parents' house.

However, almost half (46%) of those who still receive help with their outgoings admitted that they have argued with their parents about it.

The reasons given for continuing to get help from mum and dad with outgoings were:

  • 38% said that they did so because they couldn't afford to pay for themselves
  • 39% said that their parents insisted because they like to help
  • 13% claimed they asked their parents to help because they wanted to spend their money on other things
  • 24% said that their parents started helping them and just haven't stopped
  • Parents of those that have flown the nest aren't just called on to lend some quick cash though; they also moonlight as their children's financial advisers, with 12% of adults saying that their parents still try to tell them what to do with their money (this rises to 28% in the 18-34 age bracket and 13% in the 35-54 age bracket).

Although almost a third (31%) of ‘independent' adults who continue to get financial support from their parents hoped to be able to ask for this to stop in the next 12 months, 24% expected the assistance to last another two to three years. Others are quite content to receive parental pay-outs for the long term, with 8% saying they would only ask their parents to stop if they brought it up; 24% only if their parents tell them they want to stop; and 12% insisted they'd never ask their parents to stop paying some of their bills for them.

John Miles, business development director at Gocompare.com, said: "It's worrying that so many people continue to receive help with their outgoings from their parents; suggesting that they aren't able to manage their household budgets. But while many see this support as a short-term solution, plenty of those we asked seemed quite happy for their parents to continue bailing them out for the foreseeable future.

"So while mum and dad may offer more lenient lending criteria than most banks and building societies, it's not surprising that there seems to be an ‘emotional APR' attached, with almost half saying that they argue with their parents about receiving money from them."

Even though not everyone who has left home relies on their parents for on-going support with their outgoings, more than a quarter (26%) of all the adults surveyed said that the first place they would go for help in a money emergency is to their parents. And with 14% admitting that their parents don't know how bad their finances are (27% in the 18-34 age bracket, 18% in the 35-54 age bracket), more parents may soon be called upon to provide pocket money for their grown up children.

John continues: "Some outgoings are unavoidable, but the cost of many of these - such as gas and electricity, car insurance, home insurance, credit cards and mortgages - can be reined in by regularly reviewing what's being offered by different companies, and switching to a better deal. If we all take the time to make sure we are receiving the best possible deal on our essential household services, we may get one step closer to true financial independence."


Notes to editors:

On the 28th September - 1st October 2012, Vision Critical conducted an online survey among 2,008 randomly selected British adults who are Springboard UK panellists. The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

* The 2010 ONS mid-year Population Estimate for UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland was 49,122,400 adults (18 years or older).  91.52% of those who took part in the survey said that they didn't live with their parents/relatives. 91.52% of 49,122,400 is 44,960,012. 9.54% of those surveyed who no longer lived with their parents/relatives said that they received help with their outgoings from their parents. 9.54% of 44,960,012 is 4,289,185 = over four million