More than one in 10 millennials and Gen Z adults expect financial help from mum and dad - but there's one quick check you can do to make sure you're not paying more than you have to

Parents could be spending £550 a year supporting millennial and Gen Z offspring

A close up of a woman looking at a pile of receipts
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New research has revealed that one in 10 young adults expect their parents to help with bills and subscriptions. But there's an easy way to check you're not shelling out more than you have to...

Parents will know all about the financial challenges that come with having dependants, from the motherhood penalty to worrying about how much energy bills will cost when trying to keep the house warm for the family.

But even after the kids have grown up and moved out, research has revealed that a third of young adults still rely on their parents to cover regular payments.

The study from telecommunications company Virgin Media O2 found that TV streaming services (35%), phone bills (32%) and utility bills (30%) are some of the top subscriptions that Gen Z and millennial adults (aged 18 to 35) are relying on their parents to pay for.

In addition, it was revealed that parents who do help their adult children pay bills typically contribute £46.10 a month, which amounts to over £550 a year.

The majority of the 1,000 young adults polled felt their parents' financial support was necessary, as they estimated their bills have increased by £154.49, on average, in the last 12 months alone.

Meanwhile, 45% said that money went further in their parents' generation than it does now, with 55% believing it is harder to get on the property ladder now than it was 10 years ago. More than one in 10 (12%) said they expect their parents to help them financially.

However, 26% of young adults confessed to feeling guilty about taking money from their parents, and 38% worry they might cut back their financial support in the next year.

A person taking money out of their wallet

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Top 10 bills young adults have paid for by their parents

  1. TV streaming services
  2. Housing costs
  3. Phone bills
  4. Utility bills
  5. Insurance policies
  6. Car insurance
  7. Delivery services
  8. Clothes
  9. Sports subscriptions
  10. Music streaming services

But it's not all young adults that are relying on the bank of mum and dad. In fact, a large portion of those surveyed provide financial support for their parents instead. 37% of 18 to 35-year-olds pay for some of their parents’ bills or subscriptions, according to the research.

TV streaming services and utility and phone bills are among the most common things the younger generations cover for their parents.

The study was commissioned to warn parents they could be overpaying on their children’s phone bills, amid the news that smartphone overpayments (when network providers don’t fully or automatically reduce bills once the cost of the phone has been paid) exceed more than £530 million a year.

A man pinching his forehead while looking at financial documents

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rob Orr, chief operations officer at Virgin Media O2, said: "In the current economic climate, people can ill afford to waste money paying for phones they already own.

"Whether you’re getting support from the bank of mum and dad, or helping your kids, we’re urging everyone to check you’re not being charged for a phone that’s already been paid off.

"Many parents across the UK will be paying for multiple phone contracts, so it’s crucial they avoid the pernicious practice of smartphone overpayments."

Rob added: "With the cost-of-living crisis continuing to bite, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re only being charged for what you owe."

If you're concerned you may be paying more than you should for your or your family's phone bill, you can use O2's overpayment calculator.

In other news, we've revealed the cheapest way to heat a room and how many hours a day your heating should be on. Meanwhile, Martin Lewis has shared why energy bills will be higher for some families over winter - despite the price drop - and how families can get £205 free cash to put towards Christmas.

Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.