Brits Spend Almost £10,000 A Year Supporting Families

Posted in: Research Last updated: 06 Sep 2006

As financial pressures lead to women waiting longer to start a family1, new research by Engage Mutual Assurance reveals that the average breadwinner is spending £9,648 a year on supporting their family, with children reducing their parents’ personal spending money by more than a third (39%).

In a month that has seen the costs of education, utility bills and house prices soar, the latest 3GB research2 from Engage exposes the financial sacrifices made by Britons to support their families. Engage Mutual Assurance asked a representative sample of over 2,200 people how much they spent in a month supporting their families3.

Parents shelling out on kids

  • The average family breadwinner spends £804 a month supporting their family, over nine times more than they spend on themselves (£85)
  • Men are living up to their traditional role as family provider, spending £907 a month on supporting their loved ones, compared to women who spend £709.
  • 45 to 54 year olds, with children approaching adulthood, are spending the most on their families, forking out £1,017 a month.

The cost of kids remaining at home

  • Despite recent findings from Engage defining a new ‘BOMAD’ generation of adult children over 25 still ‘Banking on Mum and Dad’, parents with children under 25 spend, on average, almost twice as much supporting their families than people with grown up kids (£1,017 compared to £590 a month).
  • Once the kids move out of home, parents see their family outgoings nosedive from £1,018 to £699 a month.

South West families cost most

  • Despite coming second in the family spending poll, Londoners, who allocate £981 a month to their families, contribute the lowest proportion of their monthly income to their families (28%).
  • Families in the South West cost their breadwinners the most (£1,070 a month) and the highest proportion of their salary with half (50%) of their monthly pay packet going to support relatives.

The cost of kids remaining at home

  • Despite recent findings from Engage, once the kids move out of home, parents see their family outgoings nosedive from £1,018 to £699 a month..

‘Me money’

  • Parents with children under 25 spend, on average, 39% less on themselves4 than people under 25 yet to start a family. The average adult under 25 spends £123 a month on clothes, going out and personal grooming, where as parents spend just £75.
  • Interestingly, retired grandparents treat themselves the least, dedicating just 21% (£51) of their monthly income to personal luxuries.

Karl Elliott, 3GB spokesperson for Engage:

“As our 3GB research highlights, meeting the changing needs of modern families means making major financial sacrifices which affect lifestyle expectations, and often leave the breadwinner with just half of their monthly income. We can’t stress enough the importance of planning well in advance for the future by saving little and often as early as possible – particularly when the costs associated with dependents of all ages are considered..”

“Regularly investing small amounts in tax efficient accounts means savings can build up over time without paying more tax than is necessary. With younger generations increasingly turning to the parents for support, having money set aside means unexpected expenses can be accommodated.”




1 BBC News Online, February 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4728950.stm

2 ‘3GB’ is the Engage Three Generation Britain research index. Research was conducted by YouGov across a GB representative of 2,200 adults (including 731 parents with children over the age of 25, and 1,269 people with living parents) in July 2006. The research explores the financial relationships of care between the generations and investigates shifts in traditional financial provision.

3 When estimating the cost of supporting their families, respondents were asked to consider expenditure on: rent on a family home; mortgage on a family home; savings and investments for family members; servicing debt of family members; utility bills for the family home; money given to family members; running the family home (food and groceries for my household); cost of care for family members; funding children’s education; and any other expenses.

4 When estimating the amount of money they spent in a month on themselves, respondents were asked to consider expenditure on: hair cuts, clothes, socialising, sports, hobbies, entertainment, cosmetics, and other personal expenses.