Parents help the "grandparent generation" financially

The Momentum UK Team 28 November 2013

In the past 12 months, almost a quarter of parents (24%) have provided financial support to their own parents, according to new research from Standard Life

On average, those who helped out the so-called “grandparent generation” have given £2,251 per parent. The top three expenses that grandparents needed help with were shopping (16%), holidays (10%) and utility bills (9%).

However, despite the research indicating that plenty of grandparents are strapped for cash, it also revealed that many are uncomfortable talking about it. More than 3 out of 5 grandparents (62%) said that they wouldn’t turn to a family member for financial help. Only a third (34%) said they openly discuss finances with their family, and 25% said that they only discuss money when it becomes necessary.

Of those who do talk about money with their family, the top three topics were bills (32%), current monthly spending (19%) and current budgeting (19%),

The research also found that grandparents are also helping out their own parents financially; 17% of grandparents helped out the “great-grandparent generation” in the last 12 months, with an average top up of £1,819.

This research is a challenge to the commonly held belief that the older generations hold a larger share of the nation’s wealth, and are supporting their children.

Julie Hutchinson, Standard Life Family financial expert, said:

“The fact that some people, even if they are grandparents themselves, are providing financial support to their parents these days shows the two-way traffic in terms of how money is moving around. It’s not all about the trickle-down effect and inheritance planning.

“Many older members of the family clearly find it difficult to ask their family for help, even if they are finding their income has fallen below the cost of day to day living. That’s why it’s important to try to talk about money as a family, to share worries and to tap into any help that is available.”

Sarah Willingham, personal finance expert at, added:

“It is no wonder that a quarter of parents helped their parents out financially in the past 12 months. Utility bills are sky high, the cost of the weekly grocery shop is on the up and a basic pension pot just isn’t enough to keep up with the rise in the cost of living.”