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Revealed: How much an adult child living at home costs you per year (and how to get

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No rent, food magically appearing in the fridge and the washing done on demand — it’s little wonder some adult children choose to stay in the family home.

But in an alarming trend, more and more young adults feel like they have little option but to live in the family house because the costs of moving out are so high. 

Rising rental, food and energy costs — not to mention house prices — have made it increasingly difficult to save for a deposit.

A staggering 3.6 million people aged 18 to 34 still live at home. That is 28 per cent of people within the age range, according to official data. 

Grown men are far more likely to share a roof with their mum and dad — a third of all men under age 34 live at home, compared with around a fifth of women.

Family ties: A staggering 3.6 million people aged 18 to 34 still live at home. That is 28% of people within the age range, according to official data

Family ties: A staggering 3.6 million people aged 18 to 34 still live at home. That is 28% of people within the age range, according to official data

It means millions of parents are living with a greater financial burden for longer as they swallow the added costs. It can be difficult to start demanding rent after decades of having them under your roof, particularly if they are camping out in their childhood bedroom.

But how much extra does it really cost to have them around the house? How much rent is fair and what is the best way to help them get on their own two feet? 

Money Mail crunches the numbers and asks professional financial planners the vital questions.

Calculations for Money Mail by investment group Bestinvest by Evelyn Partners have found that, on average, parents fork out an additional £3,684 each year (£307 a month) on energy, food and water bills when one grown-up child lives at home.

That adds up to an extra cost of £62,628 if their child stays under their roof from the age of 18 until they are 34. This rises to £6,252 a year for two adult children living at home (£521 a month).

Alice Haine, personal finance analyst at Bestinvest, says: ‘Naturally, many parents would welcome the return of their adult children, but they may change their mind when they spy their beloved offspring munching their way through the kitchen cupboards, enjoying long, hot showers and piling laundry into the washing machine.’

Food is the single largest expense. The average monthly food budget for two adults in the UK is £415, according to analysis of official figures by data group NimbleFins.

This includes £320 spent on groceries and £95 on takeaways and eating out. However, for three adults, this jumps to £622 a month — £480 on groceries and £142 on food prepared out. That’s an extra £207 a month.

You will also have to contend with higher energy costs. The average annual energy bill is currently £1,690, or £141 a month, according to the Ofgem Energy Price Cap. 

This is based on a medium-sized home with two to three occupants. However, if one or two adult children return to the family home, the cost can jump to £2,365 a year, or £197 a month. That’s an increase of £56 a month.

No rent, food magically appearing in the fridge and the washing done on demand — it’s little wonder some adult children choose to stay in the family home

No rent, food magically appearing in the fridge and the washing done on demand — it’s little wonder some adult children choose to stay in the family home

While water bills can differ by region, the number of people living in a home can have an impact, too. 

The average monthly bill for a household of two is £34, according to major water supplier Southern Water. Add in an extra occupant and that jumps to £44, or £51 for an additional two people.

In reality, the overall cost of having your offspring at home could be far higher, says Ms Haine: ‘After all, if someone is part of your daily life, a parent might feel inclined to make ad hoc purchases and buy gifts for their offspring.

‘While tapping into the Bank of Mum and Dad by taking advantage of free lodging can be financially beneficial for the adult child, it can have a detrimental impact on their parents’ budget and their future savings and investments.’

Parents whose children have left home don’t really expect them to return, so they may not have budgeted for the extra costs.

Charging an adult child rent, or a contribution towards bills, can generally be a good idea, says Ms Haine. But how much?

A survey by Comparethemarket last summer found that more than half of parents charged their children some form of rent for living at home beyond age 18. But instead of truly paying their way, the payment is more of a token gesture.

On average, they charged just £25.55 per week — which works out as £110.71 per month.

This is far lower than the average rent in the UK, which is £1,223 per month, after rising 7.2 per cent in the last year, according to property website Zoopla. The highest average rent in the UK is in London where landlords charge £2,121 a month, while the North-East has the lowest monthly rent at £695.

Parents were found to fork out an additional £3,684 each year on average on energy, food and water bills when one grown-up child lives at home

Parents were found to fork out an additional £3,684 each year on average on energy, food and water bills when one grown-up child lives at home

While you could technically charge the going rent in your area, that may not be wise, as it could hamper your child’s ability to save up and ultimately move out. 

Ms Haine says: ‘A rent that just covers the financial burden of having an extra person in the house shouldn’t be so onerous that it delays their ability to save up, move out and live independently.’

You can calculate the added cost yourself by monitoring any increases in your bills and in the cost of the weekly shop.

Alternatively, you can charge £307 a month, which according to Ms Haine should cover the extras on energy, food and water.

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Read More: Revealed: How much an adult child living at home costs you per year (and how to get

2024-06-18 21:00:46

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