Some millennials are slow to fully leave the nest, but there’s at least one instance in which that can work in their parents’ favor: the family cell phone plan.
Nearly half of smartphone or mobile phone owners with children 18 or older (49%) have kept their adult kids on the family cell phone plan. And 53% of those parents say that the child pays some or all of their bill, according to an online survey commissioned by NerdWallet and conducted by Harris Poll.
Splitting the cost of a cell phone plan among family members can save everyone money — a lot of money.
Depending on the plan and the carrier, a family of four can save $15 to $25 per person, per month, on a shared plan versus an individual plan. That adds up to between $180 and $300 per year for each family member.
» MORE: Best cell phone plans
This isn’t a case of millennials mooching off their parents. More than half of parents who have or had an adult child on their plan (53%) said their child helps pay the bill.
When parents and their progeny do go separate cellular ways, it’s typically initiated by the child. Among parents who previously had a child age 18 or older on their family plan, 65% said the child chose to leave the plan. Reasons for leaving included wanting to pay for their own plan (24%), changing to a different mobile service provider (19%) and starting a plan with someone else, such as a significant other (17%).
Of the parents who previously had an adult child on their family plan, 17% said they removed their child from the plan to lower their cell phone bill, and 15% said it was because they wanted their adult child to be financially independent.
Note: Parents surveyed were asked to think of their youngest child when responding, if they had more than one child on their plan. So the average reported age is likely on the low side.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of NerdWallet May 19-23, 2016, among 3,010 U.S. smartphone owners ages 18 and older; of those, 730 have or previously had an adult child on their family shared cell phone plan. This online survey was not based on a probability sample, and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Maitri Jani.