Are you sacrificing your retirement for your adult children?

April 27, 2024 BY

The team at Muirfield Financial Services has been helping pre-retirees gain financial security and more certainty over their financial future for three decades.


Research suggests that around half of Australian retirees feel the urge to subsidise their adult children’s lifestyles.

Besides the obvious help with utility bills, insurances, and one-off costs such as cars, parents often help provide a leg-up into the housing market.

It’s natural to want to ensure your children’s financial security, regardless of their age, but is it possible to do so without sacrificing your retirement situation?

We say yes (within reason), it’s better to live a legacy than to leave one, but consider these points first:

Retirement Affordability

Whether you are approaching retirement or already retired, any gift you consider should be within your means.

The primary goal is to leave yourself enough capital so that you can comfortably generate adequate income for your retirement.

It’s not poor parenting to consider your own needs too!

As a rule of thumb, we suggest gifting no more than 5 per cent of your retirement wealth.

Clearly, there will be outliers, such as those who are more elderly, thus needing less capital to see them out, or perhaps those with greater wealth who can afford to gift more.


Gifting cash to family carries no tax implications; however, when gifting assets like property or shares, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) considers it the same as selling the asset, which could attract capital gains tax and/or stamp duty.


Gifting is defined as giving away assets or transferring them for less than their market value.

Limits are the same for both singles and couples. If you gift less than $10,000 within a single financial year and no more than $30,000 over five consecutive financial years, Centrelink will disregard these gifts.

Any gifts in excess of the allowable amount will be assessed as an asset (and, where applicable, subject to the income test) for a period of five years from when the gift was made.

Estate Planning

When considering a gift to one child, it’s important to be equitable to all of your children.

Whether you gift an equal amount to all children, keep a ledger, or more formally document it in your Will, it is important to have some record of the gifting that is clear and easy for others to understand.


It’s natural to want to assist the kids, and it’s true: you’ll always feel responsible for their well-being.

But think of yourself too – you’ve earned your retirement! By discussing your needs with your financial adviser, you can set realistic retirement goals that include helping your children, if necessary.

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