Providing financial support for adult offspring – what are the implications?

Parents with adult children living under their roof are spending £1,200[1] more than their Empty nester counterparts each year on everyday household expenditure, bringing the total annual cost of ‘Full nest Syndrome’ in the Uk to £3.2 billion[2].

Meet the Full Nesters, a report from the Scottish Widows think tank Centre for the Modern Family, has delved into the financial, practical and emotional strain placed on parents who are providing room and board for their adult offspring, and explores the impact this is having on the modern family dynamic.


The figures show that more than a quarter of adults aged between 20-34 are still living at home[3], and a fifth (19%) of students are opting to stay at home while studying[4]. The ‘Boomerang kid’ phenomenon is increasingly morphing into a ‘never Fledged Generation’– those For whom the high cost of living and accommodation means they are unable to fly the nest even for a short time.


To cope with the additional cost of having their adult children living at home for longer, the report finds that Full nesters are making greater financial sacrifices than Empty nesters across the board, with some putting their own financial future at risk. One in three (31%) have cut spending on vital items, compared to 21% of empty nesters, while 16% have needed to take out a loan, spent on credit cards or gone overdrawn, against 7% of empty nesters. A third (30%) of Full nesters report that they are contributing less to their savings, while more than one in four (28%) are spending their savings to meet the cost of everyday living.


In contrast to Empty nesters, Full nesters are prioritising their family in the here and now, often at the expense of their futureplans.Almost half (44%) say their current focus is providing for their family, compared to 23% of Empty nesters, while a third of Full nesters (34%) are focused on paying off debt, compared to 17% of Empty nesters. Moreover, many Full nesters are conscious that this could be compromising plans for later life, with a quarter (24%) saying they wish they were able to focus more on preparing for the future.


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