September 24, 2023

Two-fifths of people over 50 have spent their own savings to help their children, with some giving over £10,000.

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Nearly a third have given their children up to £5,000, and one in ten has donated more than £10,000 from their own savings, according to new research from Unity Mutual.

Each month, 11% of people over 50 spend more than £500 helping their children, and 30% spend up to £100 a month.

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Generous generation: 58-year-old Jill Hay (pictured left and right with her family) worked part-time to look after her grandchildren.

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It comes after a separate Savills report last week showed people over 65 owning a record high of £2.6tn in clean housing while many young people struggle to climb the housing ladder.

However, cash transfers are not the only way people over 50 provide support to younger family members.

The study showed that they are also generous with their time: one in ten is fully occupied with childcare.

Fifteen percent of those over 50 years of age help with childcare up to 30 hours a week, and 25 percent provide up to 15 hours a week.

For those over 50 still working, 42% donate up to three weeks of annual leave to help with childcare.

A similar proportion admit they have changed their retirement plans to help their children, and two-thirds say they would sacrifice their financial stability for them.

“I went on a part-time job to look after my grandchildren”

Jill Hay, 58, sacrificed her financial security to take care of her grandchildren.

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Jill quit her job in 2010 for twelve months to take full care of her first grandchild as her daughter returned to work after maternity leave.

This was a period when she did not pay National Insurance contributions due to lack of income. Not having enough years of NI contributions can affect how much government pension someone is entitled to.

Jill Hay, 58, sacrificed her financial security to take care of her grandchildren.

Jill (right) with her daughter and grandson, whom she quit her job to take care of her children.

Jill Hay, 58, (pictured right with her daughter and grandson) sacrificed her financial security to provide childcare.

Then in 2019, Jill quit her job again, this time to take care of both her elderly mother and her two younger grandchildren at the same time.

She adds: “I decided to work part-time so that I could help my daughter and her husband take care of the children. Most of my annual leave will be dedicated to helping my grandchildren during the holidays.”

As a result, Jill, at age 58, finds herself with little savings and a gap in retirement contributions of several years.

I worry all the time, even waking up at night thinking, “How will I manage when I retire?”

Worries about her finances have taken a toll on Jill, who says she suffers from anxiety, stress and recurring bouts of depression.

“I often feel hopeless and a sense of failure,” she says. “This is definitely not the life I imagined.

“At this point, I hoped that I would have my own house, savings in the bank, regular nice weekends and peace of mind knowing that I have financial security.”

“Retirement fills me with dread,” she continues. “I worry all the time, even waking up at night thinking, ‘How am I going to cope when I retire? and “How can I make a financial contribution, as I am doing now with a government pension?”

Ben Pierce, director of insurance at Unity Mutual, said: “Our landmark study of people over 50 shows for the first time not only the extent of long-term support they offer their children, but how much their finances are tied to their offspring.

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“We see that millions of people, based on our research, regularly give to charity out of their own savings – and because of the countless hours of childcare they put in.”

A survey of 2,000 British parents over 50 also found that one in four did not think they would ever stop supporting their children.

More than half say they didn’t expect to continue helping their children at this age, and two-fifths fear their children will never be able to stand on their own two feet.

Do you make financial contributions to help your adult children? Contact [email protected]