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Parents forking out thousands after children leave the nest

Parents of children approaching adulthood can expect to spend £2,500 easing their offspring out of the family nest, research suggests.

A survey of parents whose children have grown up and left home found 85% contributed financially to their children making a new start.

The £2,570 average bill includes £1,114 to equip their child with the items they need for university, £631 helping their child set up in their first rented flat or house and another £825 forked out when their child wants to buy their own home.

The survey from Nationwide Savings found that while nearly half (47%) of children had left the family home by the time they were 18, one in 12 (8%) stayed put in the parental nest past their 25th birthday.

As well as the initial set-up costs, many parents surveyed said they continue to give their adult children cash or buy them goods to help them out.

A quarter (23%) contribute once a month and one in five (18%) fork out twice a month or more.

On each occasion, the average amount gifted is £44, although one in five (19%) parents give £90 or more.

More than half of parents (56%) fund this spending from savings and a third (36%) cover the costs from their normal income.

But some parents put themselves into debt to help their children, with 6% putting the cost on a credit card, 5% dipping into an overdraft and 3% using a personal loan.

Nationwide's head of savings Tom Riley said: "The significant financial impact of having children is undisputed, but our research shows that parents go on financially supporting their children well into adulthood."

For some of the 1,000 parents surveyed, their children leaving home also marked a fresh start for them.

More than a quarter (27%) said they had redecorated the house, while one in six (17%) moved house, one in 16 (6%) took up a new hobby - and a further 4% got divorced.

Two-thirds (67%) of parents saw their household food bills reduce after their child left home, two in five (42%) saw savings on utility bills, a third (35%) saved on phone bills and a quarter (24%) spent less on petrol.

Asked how they felt when their child left home, a third (31%) were proud, one in 10 (10%) felt distraught and a further 13% reported feeling lonely.

One in 16 (6%) said they had felt relieved - and one in 50 (2%) said they were ecstatic.

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