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KIPPERS: Have you got some at home?

Have you ever heard of a KIPPER? Perhaps you have one or two living under your roof. Don’t worry; they’re not a rare type of marsupial.

They’re likely to be your own sweet adult children who have earned the term.

KIPPER stands for Kids in Parents’ Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings, and it relates to adult children who are still living at home with their parents, even after finishing their schooling, and at an age where they can work and be independent.

Why are they still here?


As a parent of adult children, it’s about keeping your kids close, both in relationship and proximity to you. According to some studies, most parents find that having KIPPERS in the house is a great experience. They enjoy living with their adult children and the opportunity to build deeper relationships with them as adults.

The problem is that this can begin to add a financial strain at a time when you may want to start adding to your retirement nest egg seriously.

The other issue is that perhaps your adult children don’t feel financially equipped or able to leave just yet, which may be equally concerning.

So why are they still here?

A couple of years back, we experienced the Coronavirus Pandemic. This meant a lot of adults lost their jobs and even their own businesses during the downturn. This caused a huge gap in momentum to build savings.

Even earlier than this pandemic, the property market was already beginning to soar sky-high. Now, with interest rates being what they are and the cost of living being, frankly, quite ridiculous, we can begin to understand the desire to crash back on Mum and Dad’s couch.

Nearly 1 in 4 (23%) of adult children aged 20-34 continue to live in their parents’ homes, according to the latest Australian Census data (1).

Are your KIPPERS turning you into a NETTEL?


It’s one thing having your children’s financial future to worry about. But what about your own? There may be a chance that if you find yourself with a KIPPER in the house, then you may be turning yourself into a NETTEL.

A NETTEL is short for “Not Enough Time To Enjoy Life”. This means as you near retirement age, you may still be handling extra costs, such as more mouths to feed and even your car being used more frequently.

Having your adult children stay in the house for longer than anticipated may also cause you as a parent to delay your own big financial decisions, like moving to a smaller, more manageable house, going on a holiday, or even retiring.

Prepare your KIPPERS for Independence and Financial Confidence


So, how do you handle a KIPPER, or in other words, what can you do to ensure your adult child is financially independent for their own good and for yours?

First of all, make sure that as adults in your household, your children don’t take without giving their share. Perhaps you could go through the household budget with them and consider charging rent each week to cover costs. Depending on your child and their situation, maybe they are not financially ready to contribute a lot.

It could be that instead, they may be willing to contribute in other ways, such as providing a meal each week or helping with some household jobs that need to be done.

Encouraging your child to find work so that they can be financially helpful is important. It can sometimes be difficult, when you know your child and love them, to feel like you are pushing them too hard or perhaps even pushing them away. It is helpful to remind yourself that it is not about wanting to be rid of them; it is about wanting them to establish themselves in the world and become financially equipped and independent as their own people.

This is one of the best gifts a parent can give a child, to send them into the world feeling as though they are ready and resilient enough to take on what life might throw at them.

Be open with your communication about finances and timelines. Involve them in the regular chats about the budget and bills that are coming in to help educate and prepare them about what things cost. Discuss a potential timeline or pathway for leaving the nest and embarking on their own adventure, and remain positive when you talk about what their next step might be.

Seek professional advice

For expert financial planning advice, get in touch with Elliot Watson Financial Planning today at 02 4038 1623.


Ref: (1): Young People living with parents: AIFS.

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Elliot Watson

Elliot Watson is an award-winning Certified Financial Planner with over 15 years' experience. He is passionate about helping people grow and protect their wealth.

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