Friday 6 May 2016

So when exactly do your kids take YOU for a drink?

I've been asked if I wanted to comment on a study which looks at the 'Age Of Payback' among British families. At first I thought that sounded a bit harsh, but actually what it's looking at is the age at which our children start to treat us to some of the things we have previously bought for them.

No-one needs to tell me how expensive adult children are - we have 4, including our 22 year old (who started his first full time job in January) and then the 2 small boys waiting in the wings. Although the dream is that they'll all get part-time jobs early on and support their own hobbies and pastimes, the reality is not quite so simple, and the need to revise and pass exams and go to College does somewhat get in the way.

The research was carried out by (who would deliver me a car in Manchester for £14 a day, so basically an affordable car hire booking company working throughout Europe). They surveyed over 1000 parents of children aged 18+ and made some pretty interesting discoveries.

26% of parents are still handing over cash now and again to their adult children, while 18% still give their kids a monthly allowance. I'd cringe at this, but after a string of temporary jobs, my 22 year old only found his first full time position in January this year. He couldn't get work without a phone, and having him mooching around the house all day every day would drive all of us insane, so technically we did end up paying him an allowance - or "bailing you out again" as I liked to shout at him periodically...

Incidentally 14% of parents say that they still take their fully-grown kids on holiday – and pick up the bill - providing them with an additional average £165 spending money (how much!?). Sadly not here unless I start writing these sort of paid jobs 2 or 3 times each day kids - don't get your hopes up!

11% of parents said they field requests for money 'most months' and 19% of the time this isn't paid back, even with the best of intentions. 21% said while the children did often offer to pay, they were happy to pick up the bill so the children could save their money. I think we have all been in that position at one time or another, it starts when our little ones are buying sweets with their 20p's...

My youngest is only just 6, but my oldest child is 22 (plus the 3 teenagers), so what I really want to know is - How long do I have to wait before I get to go round to their house, eat all the good food and leave their hot tap running?

Average age at which your children will return some of those favours:

A Pint - 21 On average children buy their parents an alcoholic drink when they're 21. My 22 year old offered to buy me a pint on his 18th birthday, and I regret the fact I made tea and didn't just say 'stuff it' and go for that pint. Don't make that error. The memory of 'not going' is just not as else has yet

Item of jewellery - 22 I can see this happening. In fact I've already been bought jewellery a couple of times by our offspring, so I'm banking this one to offset against something else...

New shoes - 23 Really? Children buy their parents shoes?

Item of clothing - 22 I've been bought socks for Christmas, does that count?

A new watch - 23 I don't wear a watch, so this would be surprising.

Cinema trip - 22 This sounds very doable. My eldest is a big movie fan, although I do think he'd probably rather take his girlfriend.

Day out - 24 This is a broad area. Are we talking coach trip to Paris or 4 hours shopping at the Trafford Centre? I delivered Goody bags to Blog On last weekend for 3 hours with my eldest, maybe even that counts? I drove though, so technically he didn't treat me to anything, although he did let me have half his can of pop.

Meal out - 23 I'm liking this a lot. Cooking for 6-8 people every day is pretty full on, beans on toast is the meal of my dreams. They can take me out any time, even a chippy tea would be great (as long as I can have one of those sachets of ketchup to accidentally squirt all over any white items I'm wearing).

Invited over for dinner - 25 Yeeeay! This is the one I want. It's got to be completely attainable, they owe me surely? I was kind of hoping each child could invite me over once a week, then I can get takeaway on Fridays and ceremonially burn my oven in the garden.

A New Car - 26 Seriously? What world is this? I've never known any child buy their parent a car unless they're off the telly. I can't imagine any of our children buying me a car ever, but I'm open to offers. On the other hand have you any idea how much insurance is for a 26 year old living in Manchester? Maybe buying their parents a car is the only way they can guarantee a lift when they need one...

Holiday abroad - 27 Oh boy am I looking forward to this one! Iceland please!

Weekend away -  26 / Night at a hotel - 25 Cheeky weekend in London? Blackpool? Ramsbottom?

Spa day - 25 I really am long overdue another visit to a spa and actually, it was a great way to bond with my daughter, so I'm totally up for this one...whenever you are ready guys. Just book it and surprise me.

Educational course - 25 I've been on, and delivered, several adult ed courses where we had parents and their children on the course, so I can appreciate this. Starting a course on your own can be scary, encouraging your Mum or Dad to go with you means you also get a moan-free lift!

New item of furniture - 24 I have a bird house which turned out to be indoor use only and 'Not to be used by birds'. Technically decoration rather than furniture, but it's close.

Leant them money for their home - 24 At first I thought this would really be quite unlikely, but if it includes "have you got change so I can pay the window cleaner?". If so then I think my kids have all leant me money from before they could talk...

Truth is that we don't have our children with the intention to get back every penny it cost to raise them, and I think if you really feel like that then you'll probably decide to just keep the stuff and forego the family.

Education keeps our kids poor until they are finished, and then they'll need to pay back loans and university fees. Employment for young people is often on zero hour or part-time contracts, and then the big job of building a home takes years. I remember very well being a young couple with a baby and a massive mortgage (15% interest rate!), jealous of my partner's parents for their fridge full of orange juice and lemonade because it was beyond my reach financially.  I'd help our lot out as much as I could, and I wouldn't want to think they felt obliged to spend on us.

The payback we receive from our children is far more valuable than money. Money never made anyone rich.


  1. It is very scary to read this! Cos I know that my kids will ask me for money even they are in 30s! My mum helps me a lot when we are having our baby! Money is short and parents help a lot!

    1. They do - I think it's necessary to get that start really, it's such a struggle when you are young :)

  2. This is really interesting. And you are right, life is too short and our kids give us the most amazing gift, money could never buy. xx

    1. They do - money just isn't everything. Helps with the bills though :D

  3. I've never really thought of it that way, I don't expect anything back from my adult kids. They are both still at home and my son, 27, pays his way, never spends much money (never goes out) so he's usually the one person in the house with a healthy bank balance and is always good for a loan!! It's often his sister taking advantage of him though, she's totally rubbish with money and always asking or borrowing...but she has treated me to lunch out a few times (probably borrowed the money off her brother!) I've had jewellery and watches but not furniture or cars!

    1. I'd never thought of it that way - I was just looking forward to less washing and cleaning and cooking, and almost felt that would be my reward for all these years of hard work! :D


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