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Kirk Rice Blog

Challenges Facing Multigenerational FamiliesWritten on April 21, 2016 by Peter Sharratt

An independent public policy think tank, the Social Market Foundation, has uncovered some interesting social trends and published them in a report entitled ‘Longer Lives, Stronger Families’*. The findings illustrate the complex choices that older and younger people make as they balance their own future financial requirements with the needs of their families.

Their research shows a marked increase in the number of people receiving inheritances and gifts, with housing assets making up an increasing proportion of inheritances handed down. Some 60% of adults agree with the statement that, “It is better to give children money when they need it than to save it to leave as an inheritance”. In addition, a majority of the public surveyed (60%) agree that ‘It is impossible for younger people to get onto the housing ladder without support from a parent’.

New Social Groupings Identified

The report highlighted a group it refers to as the ‘skipped middle’ consisting of parents in their 50s who see their inheritances diminishing as their older parents use their assets to help their grandchildren with major expenditure such as education, university fees and the deposit on their first home.

Another group, dubbed ‘in-betweeners’, consists of grandparents aged 60-70 who often face the pressure of caring for elderly parents, looking after their grandchildren and in some cases great-grandchildren, whilst continuing to work to ensure they can afford a comfortable retirement.

The research also identified ‘under-pressure retirees’ who, the report concludes, have a delicate balancing act to achieve in providing for their own financial security whilst offering support to future generations as they face life’s major financial events.

These findings highlight a wide variety of financial problems that confront many families, and highlight the need for good financial planning to ensure that each generation is, as far as possible, adequately catered for.

If your family faces similar issues, a financial review could help you put plans in place for the benefit of both older and younger generations.

* Social Market Foundation, Longer Lives, Stronger Families, 2016

Any reader interested in discussing this topic further can telephone Michael Powell on 01344 875000.

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