One in three retirees is forking out an average £4,320 a year to assume the financial burdens of other family generations, new research shows.
Those who provide help are supporting on average three other members of their family at a time – usually children, but also grandchildren and their own parents.
Handouts for food and travel are most common, but pensioners also often pay university fees or help others to buy homes, the research by financial giant Prudential found.
Generous pensioners: Many retirees are funding food bills and university fees of family members (Sources: Shutterstock and Getty)
Its survey among 1,000 people planning to stop work this year showed nearly a third give members of their extended family some £360 a month on average. Nearly one in five give family £500-plus a month.
Women are a bit more open-handed than men, providing an average £374 a month to family members, compared with men who give £349.
More than half of retirees willing to offer financial support say their children are the recipients, but a quarter give money to grandchildren and a tenth help out their parents.
Some 27 per cent are giving family members money for food and travel, while 23 per cent are funding university fees and living costs, and 22 per cent are helping someone get on the housing ladder.
Prudential found a further quarter of retirees said they had families, but don’t support them financially. The rest replied that they did not have any dependants – which could still mean they have children, just not any that require support.
Stan Russell, retirement income expert at Prudential, said: ‘Increasing financial pressure faced by people of all ages, such as the cost of university education and the rising cost of buying a home, means that providing financial support to family members continues well in to retirement.
‘While it’s understandable so many people want to financially support family members, it is important to make sure they have enough money set aside themselves to cover their own living costs and don’t put their retirement at risk.’
Prudential’s other research among this year’s retirees found one in five will be weighed down by debts worth an average £33,900.
That’s a 40 per cent higher debt pile than last year – although the annual figure tends to be volatile, after soaring to £38,200 in 2012 but falling to £18,800 in 2016.
Prudential found that some of the reasons for racking up debt were that pensioners were trying to help children with house deposits and grandchildren with university fees.
The firm also found that this year’s retirees expect an annual income of £19,900 – a 10 per cent jump on last year after bumper stock market returns helped to boost retirement pots.
Average expected retirement incomes – including money from state and private pensions, savings and investments – have now risen consistently since 2013 when they hit a low of £15,300, according to the annual survey.