Leaving the Phone Nest: When Are Your Kids Too Old for the Family Phone Plan?

No matter your child’s age, there will eventually come a time when they’ll need to move to their own phone plan. But when and how do you make that change?

There are a few things to consider when choosing phone plans for your family: are you paying for your child’s cell phone? On shared plans, how much data is everyone using? What is your child’s (or children’s) cell phone use really costing you?

Trends: More Parents Keeping Kids on Their Plans

Polls suggest more and more parents of adult children are keeping them on shared plans to save money. While many children are paying for their own phones and usage by age 18, a recent survey says that 51% of parents who keep their adult children on their plans chose to do so because it saved everyone money.

These new trends would suggest kids are never too old for family plans, as long as everyone is paying their share and the arrangement works for everyone. However, 29% of parents polled continue to pay for their kids’ monthly phone plans even after kids have moved out.

Who Benefits From Cost Savings?

Shared plans can offer significant savings opportunities, especially if the children on your plan are using larger amounts of data that would be expensive on an individual plan. However, if your kids are older and are paying for part of the plan, it’s worth considering who is really benefitting from those savings.

It’s great if you’ve decided to pay for or subsidize your child’s phone costs by keeping them on a shared plan, but if they’ve agreed to pay their share, choose a wireless provider like U.S. Cellular which lets them track and measure their data usage. If you are on a shared plan with lots of data, but your child is the only one using it, they are the only one benefitting from the savings on your plan.

When the Family Plan Ends

As we’ve seen, the when and why for kids leaving the family plan can vary greatly – but if your children stay on the plan into adulthood, there will still come a time when it no longer benefits everyone involved, such as when they have their own family.