Aussies prefer stay at home option when it comes to helping their children

Older Australians are facing conflicting demands when it comes to supporting their children and enjoying their retirement.

New research from AMP reveals that despite recognising how hard it is to buy a house and wanting to help financially support their children, seven out of 10 people aged over 65 said they were unwilling to greatly compromise their lifestyle to do so.

The research found that contrary to popular opinion, four out of five older Australians recognised their children faced harder or similar financial challenges compared with their situation at the same age.

Staying at home

However, notwithstanding financial incentives to downsize, four out of five of those surveyed who were aged over 65 said they did not want to downsize to release funds to their children, but almost half of those aged 50-plus would consider passing home equity value to their children if they could stay in their family home.

The federal government’s downsizer scheme allows those aged 55 or older to contribute up to $300,000 (or 600,000 per couple) from the sale of their house tax free into their superannuation fund. According to the latest data, only about 60,000 people have taken up the scheme.

However, they are happy to have their children stay and live at home for longer.

A Melbourne University report found just over half of young men (54 per cent) and 47 per cent of young women aged 18 to 29 years old are still living under the same roof as their parents.

According to the AMP research, the top 11 things retirees would consider to support their children financially are:

  • provide accommodation, 20 per cent
  • pay bills, 15 per cent
  • curb lifestyle spending, 12 per cent
  • delay or avoid aged care, 11 per cent
  • avoid going on holidays, 10 per cent
  • share subscription services, 9 per cent
  • downsize or relocate, 7 per cent
  • contribute to their mortgage, 6 per cent
  • sell investment property, 3 per cent
  • sell the family car, 3 per cent
  • delay retirement, 3 per cent.

More support

AMP retirement director Ben Hillier said retirees who wanted to give money to their children needed more support and assurances that they would not outlive their savings.

“As housing unaffordability and cost-of-living pressures rise, Australia’s burgeoning retiree population faces a growing dilemma – how do they help their kids financially, while also fully enjoying their retirement years,” he said.

“Unlocking different options for financial support, beyond accommodation, starts with older Australians having greater comfort with their own finances. We know, for example, far too many retirees are unnecessarily fearful their savings won’t last their lifetime.”

Mr Hillier said providing retirees with the financial confidence that their savings will last should improve their lifestyle and give clarity as to how they can help their children.

“This confidence can be built in a number of ways, including increasing financial literacy and knowledge through education resources and financial advice, and through the use of solutions that provide greater assurance on lifetime income,” he said.

“Given retirees’ attachment to the family home, it’s also clear that as an industry, we need to explore new ways to help retirees unlock capital from their home, without the need to downsize or compromise their long-term wellbeing.”

AMP surveyed 2000 Australians aged 50 years and over, and 30 years and under, about attitudes to retirement and intergenerational wealth transfer for the report.

Do you think the younger generations are struggling financially? Do you help your children out? Why not share your experience in the comments section below?

Also read: Am I eligible for the downsizer scheme?

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.


  1. And if, as a full pension recipient, you downsize and end up with a chunk of surplus funds which you hand over to your kids, that’s gifting and Centrelink will deem you to still have that money for 5 years. See what that does to your pension. Much as I’d like to help my kids, I’m not doing it at the expense of my own financial stability.

  2. All this downsizing that been spruiked by the governments and different sites, even YLC and no one mentions about all the added expense of downsizing.
    You sell and you pay commissions, legal fees, inspection reports etc. You buy and you are charged State Taxes and pay more legal fees and inspection reports etc. Then there’s moving costs. Storage costs. Added costs for possible short term rental or even long term rental if you decide to build. Added fuel costs. Legal fees. Building inspection fees just to be able to bid at auctions etc etc.
    Add up all these costs and more and it will eat into a very big chunk of your initial selling price. Could add up hundreds of thousands of $’s being spent just to downsize. And that’s not including any loses buy Centrelink cutting pensions due to increased assets.
    So don’t be hoodwinked by Governments. Think very carefully.

  3. Want to get elderly retirees out of their large hoses and into 1 and 2 bedroom units and retirement villages?
    Here is how to do it.
    1) Scrap the CGT exemption for any main residence acquired after 19 Sept 1985.
    2) Scrap the assets test exemption for the family home for the age pension. The assets test limit would them be the same for everybody, i.e the non-homeowner rate.

    That will get retirees out or their large family homes quick and smart.

    • Peter, those two “how to’s” would not work, because No 1. would hit the Downsizer with a possible huge CGT if they tried to downsize. No 2 would probably cause the owners to lose their Pension through No Fault of their own, Bought the Property in, say 1970, for Approx $35,000, now “valued at” $2.5M, just because Property Values have increased over that period, but it is still their Primary Residence as it has been since original purchase.

      Therefore you are advocating well and truly crusifying any Pensioner who wants to Lice Their Life Out in Their Own Home, irrespective of where they live, and if your perceived value is “in the High Range”!!!

  4. Can I put it more simply . Although I have a modest unit and don’t need to downsize .But if I had a larger home why should I move from somewhere I have lived for many years . Downsizing would mean most likely moving away from family, friends, neighbours, familiar shops, parks, services, not to mention doctors and other medicinal practices .
    and factor in the costs as mentioned previously .I would have to be mad.

  5. When I was approaching retirement, I started looking around for somewhere to retire.
    It took me almost two years to find my dream home to retire in. I love the Location, the Views etc.
    Some would say that it is too big now, 275 square metre Living, 4 Bedrooms, 2 Bath Rooms, Lounge, Dining Room Kitchen, Family Room. an additional Sun Room Outside and an Office / Study.
    Bur I am Happy here, It was where I chose to Retire, and if I were forced to “downsize”, by the suggestions of Petercalo, I would no longer be where I chose to retire, and in amongst total strangers, and possibly far from Family and Friends,

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