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Thursday, 5 July, 2001, 15:23 GMT 16:23 UK
The cost of 'grown up' children
Pay packet
Average board paid by children to their parents for their upkeep is a measly 20 a week
By Sarah Toyne, BBC News Online personal finance reporter

If you are juggling the onset of grey hair with the never ending demands from your offspring, or wondering whether your home has become the local hotel, researchers may have the perfect answer - and know the reasons.

According to new research, children between the ages of 16 and 25 who are still living under the family roof are paying a measly 20 a week on average to their parents for their upkeep.

And only 65% of those in paid work pay any upkeep at all - even though they earn enough money to divert some of their cash away from clubbing and into washing powder.

In addition, parents are also forking out for a wide range of additional extras, such as transport. Apart from running a taxi service, parents also provide home comforts from toiletries to the latest electrical must haves.

While only 10% of parents make regular payments to their children, most parents offer irregular "hand outs" and "loans", which are not necessarily paid back.

It seems that many of Britain's youth are less independent-minded, and rather Mummy's boys and Daddy's girls who are unprepared to cut the financial umbilical chord.

North south divide

The situation is even worse for parents who live in the south.

The research by Sandra Hutton from York University and Jenny Seavers from Leeds Metropolitan University suggests that young people living down south are less likely to make board payments than up north.

This is not due to parents in the south having greater incomes than those in the north or whether the children are in paid work. According to the researchers it is down to cultural differences.

Providing a taxi service is just one of the many ways parents help their children
They do not spell out what these differences are, but it could be confirmation that people are much more friendly and helpful north of Watford.

Whether you have girls or boys could also have an impact on your resources.

Between the ages of 16 and 17, men are more likely than women to have no income at all. They are also less likely to have income from employment at that age, but the reverse is true by age 23-25.

And, it could be worth waiting. Incomes are similar for women and men until they are 23. But in the following two years young men on average men earn 55 more a week than their female colleagues.

Mother knows best

Getting on the right side of your mother if you are still living at home is vital to your financial well being.

Mothers make 70% of regular payments or hand-outs to children.

Boys may offer more income for parents to tap into in the long-run, but they are also more reluctant to leave home.

Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics have revealed that more young men are living at home into their thirties.

While 50% of young women have flown the nest by the time they reach 21, more than 74% of young men are lapping up home comforts - evading responsibility until they are 25.

Even when they are 30, 12% are still happy to be tied to their mother's apron strings.

The one comforting factor from the research is that it concludes that as parental income declines, children's contribution to the family home increases.

Maybe children living at home is not a bad idea after all. Anyone for early retirement?

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