2018 report: what stay-at-home adult children cost Aussie parents

Key facts

  • Aussie parents spend a combined $235 million each week on adult children living at home
  • 7 in 10 adult children live at home because they are saving or can’t afford to move out
  • 1 in 10 parents admitted stay-at-home kidults were a strain on the family budget

Aussie parents are shelling out a collective $12.2 billion every year to support adult children who fail to leave the family nest, according to a recent Mozo survey.

With property prices remaining unattainable for many young Aussies and the cost of living going through the roof, financial pressure means 31% of Aussies over 18 years old are still living at home.

Mozo’s survey looked at the impact these adult children are having on their parents lifestyle.

Why adult children aren’t leaving home

While there are a number of reasons adult children don’t immediately leave the family home, including cultural norms, location and close family ties, financial factors - they were trying to save money or simply couldn’t afford to move out - accounted for a huge 68% of children over 18 choosing to stay at home.

Reason for adult children staying at home

“These findings go to show that its not laziness or dependency on their mums and dads keeping young Aussies at home. The unfortunate truth is that for many young adults, moving out of the family home simply isn’t financially possible, whether that’s because they can’t afford to, or because they’re prioritising saving,” said Lamont.

Impact of stay-at-home kids on Aussie parents

The good news for cash-strapped young Aussies is that more than half of parents are happy to help, and don’t mind having their children live at home. More than 30% of parents said they were happy to have their kids live at home while they were saving for bigger financial goals.

How Aussie parents feel about their stay-at-home kids

“Overall, it seems Aussie parents are pretty understanding about their kids’ needing to live at home. We all understand that it can be tough when you start out on your own and parents want to help give their kids the best start possible,” said Lamont.

On the other hand, not all parents are so thrilled with their situation. Nearly 1 in 10 said having their adult kids live at home was a financial strain, and concerningly, 3% admitted to resenting their adult children who failed to move out.

The cost of a stay-at-home child for parents

For some parents, having their adult children live at home meant tightening the budgetary belt. But just how much are Aussies shelling out on their stay-at-home kids?

Looking at costs associated with offering kids accommodation at home, such as internet, transportation and power, one quarter of parents spent between $51 and $100 to support their adult children, while slightly more than that spent up to $200.

Nationally, parents are shelling out a huge $235 million a week on their adult children - about $12.2 billion every year.

How much stay-at-home kids cost Aussie parents

How stay-at-home adults contribute to the household

But while having an extra mouth to feed at home might cost a little extra, that doesn’t mean stay-at-home kids aren’t contributing.

Only around 1 in 5 kidults pay full or partial rent, and 14% help out with household bills, but kids are finding other budget-friendly ways to earn their keep, with nearly 60% helping with household chores or other non-financial tasks.

How stay-at-home kids help out

“From walking the dog to babysitting younger siblings, through to doing the grocery run and cooking dinner, there are plenty of ways adult kids can help parents out without having to cut into their hard earned savings,” said Lamont.

Tips for parents of stay-at-home kidults

If your adult child is still living at home, here are some handy hints to help the whole household keep the peace.

  • Set the rules. Your kids may be adults and able to run their own lives, but there’s nothing wrong with having a set of rules while you’re all living under the one roof - it’s one of the secrets to getting along with flatmates. So, take an hour or two to sit down with your kidult and lay some ground rules about things like chores, cleanliness, and privacy.
  • Be realistic about your budget. While you want to help your kids as much as possible, it’s important not to put too much strain on your own budget. Factor in daily living costs and saving for retirement before deciding if you can afford to support your adult children full-time. If not, you might need to compromise, by having them help out with groceries or pay reduced rent while they save.
  • Help keep your kids on track. To help your kids save more effectively, you could suggest setting savings goals, help them to find a side hustle or look for ways to help them streamline their budget. If you’re serious about them building up their emergency fund, you might make one of the rules of them living at home that they need to save at least 50% of their wages every week.
  • Try to be understanding. Sometimes, living with your adult children is bound to be stressful or annoying. But a little understanding and open communication - on both sides - goes a long way toward a harmonious household.

Savings strategies for young Aussies living at home

If you’re living at home in order to plump up your rainy day fund, then make sure you’re getting the most out of your time being rent-free. Here are some tops saving tips to get you well on your way.

  • Stick to a budget. One of the dangers of living at home without paying rent is that budgeting skills sometimes fall by the wayside. But having a budget - and sticking to it - is vital to being able to plump up your savings balance. So put one in place sooner rather than later!
  • Cut back on little luxuries. We all have habits we like to indulge in, whether it’s buying lunch and coffee every day at work or our collection of Netflix, Stan and Spotify subscriptions. But while you’re aiming to save, it’s worth thinking long and hard about what little pleasures you can afford to give up or cut back on.
  • Look for more income streams. If you’ve trimmed all the fat on your budget, the next step may be to increase the money coming into your account. Look for a side-hustle like selling your unwanted clothes online, writing freelance articles or picking up odd jobs on airtasker.
  • Set concrete goals. A great way to keep on track when it comes to savings is to work towards a larger goal. Whether that’s a dollar figure or some other target, the important thing is that your goal is specific and you give yourself a time frame. For example, you might want to save $2,000 by the end of the year, or save enough for a home deposit in three years.
  • Choose the right tool for the job. You wouldn’t try to eat soup with a knife and fork, right? Having the right tool for any task makes it a hundred times easier. So make sure you’re getting the most out of your savings stash by sticking it in a high interest savings account to grow.