Interactive Investor

Bank of Mum and Dad funding more than home deposits

5th January 2022 08:35

by Rebecca O'Connor from interactive investor

Share on

Poll by interactive investor reveals how parents are helping adult children with financial support.

Buying a first home may be the biggest of financial milestones for young adults, but the Bank of Mum and Dad is being called upon in myriad other ways, according to a poll by interactive investor, the UK’s second-biggest DIY investment platform.

Helping with university costs (58%), allowing adult children to stay at home, rent-free (50%) and buying a car or helping with car-related costs (46%) were all more common ways of financially supporting adult children than contributing to a deposit for a home (42%).

More than a quarter (28%) had made a payment into a savings account and 23% had made a payment into their adult child or children’s ISA, the poll found. Although lagging by some margin, a forward-thinking 10% of respondents said they had contributed to their adult children’s pensions. Non-financial help in the form of things such as valuable childcare, was offered by 14%.

If you have adult children, have you…? (Tick all that apply)

Helped with university costs


Bought them a car or helped with car-related costs


Allowed them to stay at home, rent free


Contributed to a deposit for a house


Contributed to their pension


Made a payment into their ISA


Made a payment into their savings account


Helped in non-financial ways, such as childcare


Not helped financially or non-financially


Note: figures are % of respondents. 1,403 respondents answered a poll conducted on the interactive investor website between December 7 and 12, 2021. Source: interactive investor. 

Becky O’Connor, Head of Pensions and Savings, interactive investor, said: “There is a lot of attention given to how the Bank of Mum and Dad can help with buying a first home, but this unofficial institution is busy in many other areas of financial support for adult children, too.

“More than half of respondents had helped with their adult children’s university costs and allowed them to stay at home, rent-free. A large proportion had also helped with car costs, as well as house deposits.

“The high percentage of older people helping out their adult children reflects a depressing reality: that it is difficult, if not impossible, to manage these life milestones without any parental help.

“The poll suggests that the younger generation is strained financially, dependent on their parents for many ‘big ticket’ costs that would be beyond their ability to save for.

“Parents have become the gatekeepers to their children’s adulthood; the wealth level of the previous generation ultimately determining which milestones are achievable and which are not.

“That’s just those whose parents are able to help, of course. The scale of the assistance also demonstrates how the odds are stacked against those whose parents can’t help when it comes to wealth accumulation.

“It’s an economic dependence that can have practical and emotional consequences, both for the parents, who may not have foreseen having to support their children quite so far into adulthood, and for the children, who may want to be financially independent, but find they cannot yet manage it. It also has social consequences, for instance, through young adults delaying having children or choosing not to go to university.

“Among those parents who are able to help, it’s heartening to see payments into pensions and ISAs feature among the responses – a recognition that there are other ways to assist beyond leg-ups on to the property ladder and where the rewards might not be reaped for decades to come.

“A pension top-up, although perhaps less welcome than a lump sum that can be used in the here and now, could be extremely valuable one day.”

interactive investor recently launched ii ‘Friends and Family’, allowing ii customers to gift up to five people a free subscription to ii, for just £5 extra a month.

These articles are provided for information purposes only.  Occasionally, an opinion about whether to buy or sell a specific investment may be provided by third parties.  The content is not intended to be a personal recommendation to buy or sell any financial instrument or product, or to adopt any investment strategy as it is not provided based on an assessment of your investing knowledge and experience, your financial situation or your investment objectives. The value of your investments, and the income derived from them, may go down as well as up. You may not get back all the money that you invest. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser.

Full performance can be found on the company or index summary page on the interactive investor website. Simply click on the company's or index name highlighted in the article.

Get more news and expert articles direct to your inbox