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Balancing family and finance

A recent Australian Institute of Family Studies report found that around 20% of people in Australia live in a “multi-generational household” with more than one generation of related adults living under the same roof1. Children are also waiting longer to leave the nest, with more than 40% of children in their early 20s – and almost 20% in their late 20s – still living at home.

Caught in the middle

For some time, baby boomers have been ‘caught in the middle’ caring for elderly parents while continuing to raise or support their own children or grandchildren. And with many children of Gen X parents now reaching adulthood but choosing to stay home, it’s becoming more and more common for a family household to include grandparents and/or adult children. While some elderly parents are sharing a home with their grown-up kids, this data suggests the overall trend is being driven by young adult children sticking around for longer. 

Why is it taking longer for adult children to leave the nest?

A big factor is financial - in particular housing affordability. The rapidly rising cost of property has put home ownership out of reach for many younger Australians. The average house price in Sydney today is 13.3 times the average full-time annual income and Melbourne is 9.9 times higher than the median household income2. This may explain why Gen Y has become more preoccupied with spending on people and experiences over buying property3.

The issue of being able to afford a home isn’t just one for the 20-somethings. Even when others have taken the leap and purchase a property, housing affordability can drive them back to their original family home, sometimes with their own young children in tow. This ‘Boomerang’ generation includes around 1 in 4 Australian adults who have moved back home at some stage4. Research shows that 26% of all households have an adult child living at home5.

Striking a balance with family and finance

While it’s natural for parents to want to help their children, extra financial commitments can limit spare cash available to put towards retirement savings. This can result in working for longer and delaying retirement, or living less comfortably during retirement, with less money on hand to spend. 

How can you make sure your retirement plans don’t get derailed by the extra family commitments?

  • Take a look at your investments. Is your portfolio still geared for growth? If you’re planning on working for longer you’ll want to make sure your investments match your life stage not just your age.
  •  Take a look at your budget: what extra expenses are you incurring? Can your children contribute by paying rent and/or putting money towards household bills?
  • Have a good idea of how much money you’ll need in retirement. As a rule of thumb most people need around 70% of their take home pay to maintain their current lifestyle in retirement.
  • Get your head around your financial options when it comes to Aged Care. If you are currently living with older parents, it makes sense to understand the costs involved and your options for paying for Aged Care.
  • Use the sale of your home to boost your retirement: The downsizer contribution allows you to put money from the sale of your home to add to your super balance and increase your income in retirement. This is a type of contribution to super that anyone over the age of 55 can consider after selling your home. Read more
  • Picking up a side hustle to boost income: picking up some casual work could benefit to help combat the rapidly increasing cost of living. Find out more

We’re here to help

Make sure your spending and saving is on track to help you reach your long-term goals. Call us on 1800 620 305 to book an appointment with your financial adviser today.


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This is general information only and does not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation or needs. Seek professional financial advice, consider your own circumstances and read our Financial Services Guide, any relevant product disclosure statement & Target Market Determination, before making a decision. Call us or visit our website for a copy. 

Issued by Aware Financial Services Australia Limited (ABN 86 003 742 756, AFSL No. 238430), wholly owned by Aware Super (ABN 53 226 460 365) whose trustee is Aware Super Pty Ltd (ABN 11 118 202 672, AFSL 293340). For customer service please call 1800 620 305.

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