Adult kids reaping the digital benefits of living at home — even after they leave

Here’s an interesting new stat for you: More than 40% of parents pay the cell phone bills for their adult kids aged 18 to 35. Twenty-nine percent of them do so even after the adult child has moved away from from home.

I have to say, this one really shocked me. I just find it hard to understand this one — and I can only imagine what my parents’ faces would have looked like if I had ever asked them to pay for my cell phone. I can tell you this — they would have said no. And I really thinkĀ  they would have been right to do so. It’s one thing for an adult child to benefit from the family landline while living at home (I certainly did this). It’s entirely different for a parent to pay a bill that is clearly not a household expense. Even if the adult child’s phone is part of a family plan, they should still be responsible for their portion of the bill.

And how about this? It doesn’t end at the cell phone bill. Some parents are paying for all the digital goodies that keep their adult children entertained:

  • 17% pay for mobile wifi access
  • 12% pay for streaming video accounts like Hulu and Netflix
  • 10% pay for music services like iTunes and Spotify

All of this (including the cell phone) adds up to about $108 every month, or almost $1,300 per year. That may not sound like a huge amount of money, but it’s certainly not insignificant.

I have to say, none of these services are necessities of life. If a 30-year-old can’t afford these services, maybe he or she should learn to live without them for a few years. When I was in my early twenties, some of these services didn’t exist. But I did pay for my own cell phone — and I had my own account at the video rental place (remember those?), even when I was living at home.

All the stats in this article come from a poll by Harris Interactive as reported by the Wall Street Journal.