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Nearly half of parents financially support adult children, survey says

by Marko Florentino
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About half of U.S. parents with adult children provide them with some sort of financial support, a new survey from Savings.com revealed. 

According to the survey, in 2024, 47% of parents with adult children provide financial support, which is a similar rate to last year. Parents with adult children who have a disability were not included in this survey. 

Parents providing financial support give an average of $1,384 to their children monthly, which is about double the amount parents contribute to their own retirement on average. 

Of adult children living at home, 61% do not contribute anything for household expenses, such as rent or utilities.

Of the parents supporting their adult children, 77% help with grocery and food expenses, 64% assist with cellphone payments, 58% help with rent and 56% assist with health care. 

The report indicates that the nearly $17,000 a year parents provide for their children could make things more difficult when it comes time for parents to retire. 

“This is money that parents could be spending on their own expenses, vacations, and contributing to retirement,” the report says. “In fact, it appears that helping their kids is visibly harming their retirement savings.”

One factor is that young adults simply don’t make as much as their parents. According to 2024 Bureau of Labor Statistics, adults aged 20-24 have a median weekly income of $758. Meanwhile, adults aged 55-64 earned $1,388. 

Another factor is young people are struggling to buy homes. The cost of housing shot up between 2020 and 2022, according to federal data. Although housing prices have subsided some in the last 18 months, interest rates have remained high. 

“For some, it’s tempting to simply say that today’s young adults are just mooches and that a strong foot in the rear will launch them into normal, independent adulthood,” the Savings.com report says. “That may be gratifying for parents who are tired of footing the bill, but it doesn’t solve or even properly describe the economic factors at play, such as rising housing costs. The economic forces working against Americans of all ages may be greater than any one family can solve.”

There is also data showing numerous young adults aren’t relying on parents. For instance, a January 2024 survey by Pew found that 45% of adults 18-34 are completely financially independent. While just 16% of adults ages 18-24 said they are independent, 67% of those ages 30-34 said they have financial independence. 

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