Personal Finance

How grandparents give ... and give ... and give to their grandchildren


And you thought raising children was expensive and time-consuming. Now, new data from TD Ameritrade shows that being a grandparent can also come with a price tag.

Grandparents spend an average of $2,383 a year just to benefit their children’s children, including toys, school supplies, college savings, even extracurricular lessons.

Here’s how it broke down:

▪  19 percent contribute to college savings

▪  55 percent contribute to clothing

▪  58 percent contribute to toys

▪  39 percent contribute to non-cash gifts

▪  42 percent contribute to cash gifts

▪  27 percent, to school expenses

▪  16 percent, to vacations

▪  38 percent, to meals out/entertainment

▪  14 percent, to extracurricular activities

▪  10 percent, to allowance/payment for chores

It’s not just money that grandparents contribute, however.

Well over half of millennial parents say their parents provide at least an hour of child care or help running the household each week, and the average grandparent went all out, spending 48 hours per week on tasks including primary child care, babysitting, homework help and transportation to after-school activities.

The (hopefully grateful) parents estimated that the grandparents’ support came to $300 per week on average, which could add up to as much as $15,600 per year.

And the help provided wasn’t because the millennial parents were strapped either, said David Lynch, managing director and head of branches at TD Ameritrade.

“Millennials are waiting until they are financially secure to have kids, far more than their parents did,” he told CNBC.

But, he added, this is a generation burdened by student loan debt and stagnant wages. About 25 percent of millennial parents receiving hourly support and 18 percent receiving financial support say they couldn’t afford their current lifestyle without that help.

Grandparents seem more than willing to do so. Forty percent said their adult child didn’t ask for help — they were the ones to offer it — and 43 percent said they did it because “it makes me happy.”

The survey polled 1,004 millennial parents and 1,014 grandparents with millennial children.