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Living like Packed To The Rafters

With soaring living costs in Australia, the gang's all here with Jenny Wilkinson, 50, from Alfrods Point, NSW

Catch the latest with from Packed to the Rafters here.

Jenny Wilkinson, 50, Alfrods Point, NSW

Bringing up our four kids to be hardworking, independent adults, I used to worry about how I would feel when they eventually flew the nest. But Elise, 20, Tara, 23, Aaron, 26, and Scott, 27, have shown no signs of stretching their wings any further than the front gate!

Not that my husband Paul, 50, and I are complaining. After a hard day at work, it's always nice to be greeted by one of my girls. 'It's all right Mum, I'm making dinner,' my daughter Elise will often tell me.

Tara hangs out the laundry, helps with the groceries and tidies up for me. 'I'll just watch Deal or No Deal,' I'll smile, settling down with a cuppa.

'How do you cope?' people often ask when they hear we still have all our brood under the one roof. 'We actually like having them with us,' Paul says.

The housework is shared and I don't even go in the kids' rooms these days. If they're messy I simply close the door.

Each Thursday, the kids deposit their contributions into our bank account. They pay between $130 and $150 a week for board and lodging including food, power, water and laundry.

Then, of course, we often have visits from their friends and partners. Last year, Aaron returned from overseas with his Brazilian girlfriend, Fernanda, 25. We were thrilled to have her staying with us.

The kids benefit from the arrangement in many ways. Earlier this year, they could afford a trip to Thailand together. They all have their own cars which they pay for and, when they're ready, they'll start saving for deposits on their own places.

It's a blessing that our kids get along well and enjoy being around us. Even when Paul and I take a break in our caravan down the coast, we usually end up with the family joining us.

But one of our little birds has recently flown the nest – Aaron and Fernanda headed off to Brazil for an extended holiday.

Soon, Paul and I will be going on a luxury Fiji cruise, happy in the knowledge that the house will be looked after. We love our kids and will have them at home for as long as they want to stay here.


question markWhat are Kippers?

With costs of living skyrocketing, many young people are choosing to stay in the parental home far longer than previous generations. Today, one in five people aged from 25 to 29 are still at home, compared to just one in 10 two decades ago. They've been labelled kippers, which stands for Kids in Parents' Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings. Sydney is Australia's kipper capital, claiming the top three suburbs - St Ives, West Pennant Hills and Abbotsbury. Kippers are most common in suburban working families, and numbers are expected to grow over the next few years.

Are your kids yet to fly the nest? Or are you one of those kids who never left home? Share your story amd thoughts below.

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