MONEY Kids and Money

Why Daughters Are Better Than Sons — At Least Financially

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Both cute, but the one on the right may cost you less later. Tripod—Getty Images

If you're raising a girl, congrats. A new survey finds that in adulthood, daughters are less likely to bleed parents dry—and more likely to provide free care.

Ever wonder when your kid will move out of the house for good and stop treating you like an ATM?

If that kid is a boy, you may have longer to wait than if you’d had a girl. After age 18, daughters are less likely than sons to move back home or need a financial hand from mom and dad, according to a new survey conducted by Harris Poll for Yodlee Interactive, a digital financial services technology company. And not only are those grown-up daughters more financially independent, they are also more likely to provide care for their aging parents down the road.

In the survey, 41% of adult men with living parents report getting funds from mom and dad to cover expenses. Only 31% of adult women with living parents say the same. Unsurprisingly, aid is more common among young adults: Of those 18 to 34, three-quarters of men and 59% of women say they receive financial aid from their parents.

But that help lingers for many. Of 34- to 45-year-old men, 35% still get parental help, while only 18% of their female peers do.

Perhaps women have been conditioned to getting less financial support. A study from the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research found that boys are 15% more likely to get paid for doing chores, and a new survey from Junior Achievement USA and the Allstate Foundation found that 70% of boys get an allowance, compared to only 60% of girls.

When do I get my guest room?

Parental help doesn’t end with handouts. Men are more likely to room with mom and dad, too: 32% of adult men do, vs. 25% of women, and that can be costly. A report in the Wall Street Journal found that hosting a child over 18 can run $8,000 to $18,000 a year.

A Pew Research analysis of 2012 U.S. Census Bureau data found that millennial males were more likely than their female counterparts to live with their parents. A full 40% of men ages 18 to 31 did, vs. 32% of women that age.

The Yodlee survey found that this trend extends to other generations. Among 35- to 44-year-olds, 32% of men are still spending nights in their childhood bedrooms, while only 9% of women are. Of those living at home, the most common reason cited by sons was un- or underemployment, while daughters listed taking care of their parents.

A sliver of good news for parents of sons: By age 45, these stark differences in financial independence fade, with males lagging only a few percentage points behind females in these two areas.

Traditional roles persist

Still, the advantage of having daughters persists in other ways: Daughters easily out-perform sons when it comes to supporting aging parents. Sons are almost twice as likely as daughters to say that they will not back up their parents emotionally by doing things like calling or visiting. Close to 60% of daughters provide that support, while just under half of sons do.

Sons’ redeeming quality? They are slightly more likely to help subsidize their parents’ living costs than daughters are, even as women are more likely to be the caregivers. This role is long-established. A study published in the Journal of Applied Gerontology last year found that women were more likely to care for parents, assist with their personal needs, and help with chores, errands, and transportation.

Finally, if you have a son, don’t expect your daughter-in-law to fill the gap. Yodlee’s survey found that you’re out of luck on all facets of support from in-laws, male or female.

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