How to support your adult children (and save your money)

Supporting your adult children is something loving parents naturally want to do. But, depending on the type of support your adult children want, it can put your own financial wellbeing at risk.

If your finances are robust enough to help fund their lives and make their journey easier, you’re in a privileged position. After all, it is satisfying to know your hard work and success can ease financial pressures on your children.

But there are many ways to support your adult children that don’t need you to spend big.

Share your car

Maintaining a vehicle can be expensive. To save them the expense of car maintenance and registration, is there an arrangement you could make regarding car sharing that would suit you both? Make sure you’re not inconvenienced when you need your car – and be sure to set ground rules and boundaries. If they use it, they should keep it clean and filled with petrol if they can afford it. And the money they’ll save on insurance, registration and other car maintenance costs can be money used to pay off student loans, or a mortgage, or save for their first home.

Just be sure to add them as a driver on your insurance policy.

Free childcare

If you have grandchildren, offering a couple of days of free babysitting keeps them out of costly childcare – and that can make an enormous difference to a family budget. Don’t let it interrupt your own social connections and hobbies but see if you can find a middle ground. The aim is quality time with the little ones you love while reducing the financial pressures on adult children trying to keep up with rising living costs.

Do some cooking

If your adult children are busy working, studying and looking after children, their busyness can lead to expensive choices in their household. By offering to shop and cook for them (they can foot the grocery bill), you can take the time to consider budget-friendly recipes and help stock their fridge and freezer so they can avoid falling into the trap of resorting to last-minute supermarket trips, or pricey takeaway deliveries.

Add them to your health insurance

In Australia, adult kids can be covered by their parents’ health insurance until the age of 31, under certain circumstances. The good news is that it doesn’t cost much extra to include them on your policy – but the savings for them can be significant. Plus, you get the peace of mind that comes with knowing their health has the best possible protection.

Do you support your adult children? How much does it cost you? What ways do you support them that don’t cost a cent? Share your stories in the comments below.

Read more: Bank of Mum and Dad: Know the risk of being a guarantor

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday
Claire is an accomplished journalist who has written for leading magazines and newspapers, such as The Sunday Age and Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Women's Weekly, Marie Claire, Rolling Stone, Australian House & Garden, GQ, The Australian, Herald Sun, The Weekly Review, and The Independent on Sunday (UK).


  1. Isn’t this just another case of adult helicopter parenting? I realise that there are different ways of raising children but surely the main objective is to raise children who are resilient can stand on their own two feet and find their own independent and productive course in life.
    I am sure there are many examples where children from loving families but of very modest means who needed to take their own lives in their hand have been very successful in their careers and married lives and numerous others still attached to the apron strings into adulthood who remain dependent on their parents forever.
    Maybe one of the reasons baby boomers are envied by younger generations is that they grew up at a far less plentiful time than those of later years and had to quickly become independent.

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