Parents can expect to enjoy a rise in disposable income of more than £3,000 a year when their children fly the nest, a new study has found.
It can be an emotional time for mothers and fathers when their offspring leave home to begin a new, independent phase of their lives by going to university or moving in with a partner.
But new research shows the substantial financial benefits of children leaving home can offer some compensation for the upheaval in the family.
A survey by insurance provider RIAS has revealed that the average British parents pocket an extra £257 each month after their child leaves home. This adds up to £3,084 annually and equates to a whopping £17 billion across the country.
Scottish families enjoy an even bigger boost to their wallets, saving £304 a month, or £3,648 a year. This is more than £500 higher than the annual average for the UK.
Families living in London reap even greater rewards, with £676 of extra spending money every month, or £8,112 a year.
The biggest monthly saving for parents is on groceries, spending an average of £38 less every month. They also save around £23 a month on fuel and £22 on utility bills.
The study shows many empty nesters put the extra time and cash to good use, splashing out on travel and entertainment.
A fifth said they are able to indulge in more holidays since their children have gone, while one in six eats out more often. A canny 14 per cent choose to reinvest the savings into retirement plans. The research also revealed that parents soon get used to treating themselves once their children have flown the nest, with three in five Scots admitting they would not trade their increased freedom and income to have their children back under their roof.
Contrary to their thrifty reputation, however, Scottish parents are some of the most generous when it comes to helping children who have moved out. On average they dole out £176 a month to their grown-up children – nearly double the £97 handed over by parents in the rest of UK.
The amount almost triples for Londoners, who cough up £295 a month – £3,540 a year.
Though almost 600,000 young adults applied for university this year in the UK, only 18 per cent of empty nesters north of the border left home to study. More than half flew the coop to move in with a partner.
It is a difficult time for many families, according to Peter Corfield, managing director at RIAS. “However, it is interesting to see that for some parents this can give them a new lease of life. The extra disposable income allows them to enjoy more luxuries such as holidays and dining out more,” he said.
“There is also a very practical side as well - with an ageing population some parents are also ploughing these savings back into planning for the future.”