Here’s a scary finding. The Bank of Mum and Dad is now the nation’s fifth largest mortgage lender just behind our four major banks according to a study by Mozo[1] .  Almost one in three families offer financial assistance to help their adult children buy a first home, with the average lend sitting at $64,206.

That’s a lot of cash to help your grown-up son or daughter into their first home. As a whole, the Bank of Mum and Dad have lent $65.3 billion to their children. But for the parents involved it can be the start of a new beginning – for everyone.

Kids are staying at home longer

As a guide to how universal the pattern of kids lingering longer at home can be, earlier this year Australian media covered a story about a New York couple, who had taken their 30-year old son to court just to try to get him to leave the family nest[2]. It goes to show how desperate some parents can be to reclaim their life after decades of raising children.

As many as two out of five 20-somethings still live at home here in Australia. But with one in 20 adults aged in their 40s still living at home, the time may come for mum and dad to give their offspring a gentle nudge out of the door.

When does the rent-free ride stop?

To be fair, some parents relish having their older children living at home. But that’s not always the case.

And it’s perfectly reasonable that wannabe empty-nesters may be eager to downsize to a more manageable, lower maintenance home. Perhaps this explains the largesse of some parents helping their kids buy a first home.

Achieve your downsizer goals

Separate research from Finder found that some parents believe the rent-free ride at home should stop when children turn 19. That’s pretty young when you consider housing costs – and the fact that plenty of 19-year-olds will still be completing their education.

But by the time your adult child is in their mid-20s, it can be reasonable to charge board. Not only can this be the X-factor that encourages them to move out and leave you free to pursue your plans to downsize. It may also mean you’re not shouldering your offspring’s lifestyle at a time when planning for your retirement wealth really should take precedence.