40% of Empty Nesters Report They’re Still Paying Kids’ Expenses

Nearly 40% of surveyed “empty nesters” with an average age of 49 still support their adult children financially on a variety of expenses, including mobile phone plans, rent payments, groceries and student loans. This is according to a survey recently conducted by 55places.

“While empty nesters may taste newly-found freedom, their wallets still seem to be tethered to their children,” the survey results say. “According to respondents, nearly 40% are still financially supporting their children in some way. Of those, parents still spend an average of $254 per month on their child or children.”

Among the top expenses that respondents said they contribute to for their adult children, the most prominent examples include mobile phone service plans (24%), rent payments (19%), groceries (18%) and student loan payments (15%). Even though these respondents are still paying for some of their adult children’s expenses, 86% of them believe that their children will be “financially independent” at some point within the next two years.

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However, while having all of their children moved out of the house provides a degree of financial relief, issues related to retirement savings or the necessity to continue making a monthly mortgage payment still persist among many empty nesters.

“Overall, empty nesters said they are saving money since their children moved,” the survey says. “Exactly 50% said they are saving more for retirement, but 23% said saving for retirement is still their biggest financial stress since becoming an empty nester, which was followed by making the mortgage payment (17%).”

Also affecting the amount of continued financial support is that compared with prior generations, millennials stay at home with their parents for longer periods of time. Nearly half of the survey’s respondents describe that their kids lived at home with them “longer than they expected,” and expectations regarding the age at which children would move out did not often conform to reality.

“The average age parents expected their children to move out was 21, but 49% said their child was 21 or older by the time they actually left the nest,” the survey says. “What’s even more surprising is how many kids are moving back in after they moved out. According to respondents, 38% had their child move back in and nearly 60% think their child or children will move back in again at some point.”

The survey was conducted from June 28 through July 12, 2019, and surveyed 1,860 empty nesters. 61% of the polled respondents were female and 39% were male, with the average age of all respondents being 49 years old. 77% of respondents identified themselves as married.

Read the full survey results at 55places.

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