49% of millennials (23-38 year olds) have provided financial support to their parents, according to research from M&S Bank.
This increases to 54% for the younger Gen Z-ers (16-22 year olds), who have supported their parents more than any other age group.
The bank argues this insight debunks common misconceptions about the bank of mum and dad, illustrating that modern family finances and intergenerational support is much more complex than stereotypes might suggest.
On average, 23-38 year olds have given £1,161 to family members over the last 12 months to help with their day-to-day finances, compared to £871 from 16-22 year olds, £756 from 39-54 year olds, £498 from 55-73 year olds and £563 from the over 74s.
When it comes to financial support across the family, interestingly, a higher percentage of people want to receive help and advice with their financial decisions (28%) than cash handouts for every day expenses (19%) or one-off larger payments (11%). This was particularly the case for younger generations, with 34% of both Gen Z-ers and millennials saying this is important.
However, in the past 12 months 82% have provided family members with financial support for things such as days out or paying a bill, with people giving £828 on average to support family members in the last year.
Paul Stokes, head of products at M&S Bank, said: “Despite common perceptions about the bank of mum and dad, what we are seeing is that the ‘family bank’ works both ways, with people ‘depositing’ and ‘withdrawing’ from the family finances at different times in their lives.
“While millennials or Gen Z-ers may be boomeranging back to live in the family home at some stage in their adult lives, with parents often supporting their children to get a foot on the property ladder, this support is not a one-way street with many younger generations also helping parents, and other family members. It also works across generations, with siblings now more commonly purchasing property together.
“Our findings contrast with the common narrative that financial support in families only flows one way, or that it’s all about the money, with many keen to hear about the financial learnings of both older and younger family members.”
The M&S Bank research found that emotional support was the most important way in which families help each other (for 67%). The majority of millennials and Gen Z-ers also expressed that they would like more emotional support from their families, with the highest percentage in the 16-22 age bracket.
Stokes added: “Our insight shows that while millennials are often portrayed as taking from the bank of mum and dad, each family actually has their own unique approach when it comes to both financial and emotional support, be it through advice or helping with everyday costs, one-off larger payments or collaborating together to achieve a common financial goal, like property ownership.”
Looking at the role of siblings, it was clear that we rely on them far more in our early years. The financial support provided by brothers and sisters was particularly key for 16-22 year olds (17%) and 23-38 year olds (20%). With increasing age, people were less likely to say they looked to their siblings for financial support.
Kay Neufeld, Head of Macroeconomics at the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), which authored the research report, said: “The research clearly demonstrates that as lifestyles and family models evolve, so do financial realities among family members. While parent-to-child support continues to play an important role, the report shows that there are also significant financial flows from children to parents as well as between siblings. From the cost of care and housing to simply helping out with ongoing bills, many older family members are grateful for any financial support they receive.
“When times get tough, however, more traditional family roles prevail with the research showing that people are four times more likely to rely on their parents during financial hardship than on their children.”