Cost of emptying the nest tops £2.5k

25 April 2017

  • £2,570 total bill: £1,114 for Uni set-up, £631 for first rental, £825 for first home of their own
  • One in five give adult children cash at least twice a month – totalling £1k-plus each year
  • Despite the outlay, parents display variety of emotions as their offspring fly the nest

Parents face a steep bill to empty the family nest, according to research from Nationwide Savings which shows the cashflow doesn’t stop once their children have left home.

The survey of 1,000 parents of adult children who had left home found that 85 per cent of parents contributed financially towards setting up their offspring’s new start, on average just before they turned 20. And while almost half (47%) of children left the family home by the time they were 18, one in 12 (8%) stayed put in the parental nest past their 25th birthday.

Further education finance:

The cost of equipping a child for university was the highest initial outlay at £1,114, including an average £144 spent on computers, £109 on transport costs, £107 on books and stationery, £106 on mobile phone and call costs and £100 spent on kitchen equipment and bedding.

Rental requirements:

Parents spent an average of £631 on helping their child set up a first rented flat or house, including £135 towards the rent itself, £83 on home furnishings, £61 on kitchen equipment, £58 on food, £47 on bedding and £27 on bathroom essentials.

Bill for buying:

For those parents contributing towards setting a child up in their first owned home, the average bill totalled £825, including £281 towards the initial deposit. They spent a further £80 on home furnishings, £60 on kitchen equipment, £58 towards solicitor’s fees and £57 on decorating and renovations. For some parents, the costs could mount up even further as their children will have done all three – been to university, set up a first rental and bought their own home – costing a combined £2,570.

Parental cash cows?

As well as the initial set up costs, parents continue to give their adult children cash or buy them goods to help them out, with a quarter (23%) contributing once a month and one in five (18%) forking out twice a month or more. On each occasion, the average amount gifted is £44, though one in five (19%) fork out £90 or more.

How do parents fund this finance?

More than half of parents (56%) funded this spending from savings and a third (36%) covered the costs from their normal income. However, some parents put themselves into debt in order to assist their children, with 6 per cent using a credit card, 5 per cent an overdraft and 3 per cent a personal loan.

Parental pay-back!

For many parents, the kids moving out provides the opportunity for a new phase in their lives, with varying results. A quarter (27%) redecorated the house, a third either went on holiday (23%) or travelled the world (6%). One in six (17%) moved house, one in twenty (6%) took up a new hobby and a further 4 per cent got divorced.

However, the positive effects of the move meant two thirds (67%) spent less on food once their child left home, two in five (42%) saw savings on utility bills, a third (35%) saved on phone bills and a quarter (24%) spent less on petrol.

Emotional engagement?

Asked how they felt when their child left home, a third (31%) were proud, one in 20 (6%) were relieved and one in 50 (2%) said they were ecstatic. However, one in ten (10%) were left feeling distraught and a further 13 per cent reported feeling lonely as a result of their offspring flying the nest.

Nationwide’s Head of Savings, Tom Riley, comments: “The significant financial impact of having children is undisputed, but our research shows that parents go on financially supporting their children well into adulthood. Funding those first steps to independent living requires saving, but the earlier you start, the easier it could be to achieve an empty nest and a new lease of life for mum and dad!”

About Nationwide

Nationwide is the world's largest building society as well as one of the largest savings providers and a top-three provider of mortgages in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accounts, credit cards, ISAs and personal loans. Nationwide has around 15 million customers.

Customers can manage their finances in a branch, via the mobile app, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 18,000 employees. Nationwide's head office is in Swindon with administration centres based in Northampton, Bournemouth and Dunfermline. The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.

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