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Quarter of parents financially support grandparents

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Almost a quarter of parents have financially supported their own mothers and fathers in the past 12 months, according to research from Standard Life.

The study found that some 24% of grandparents received a financial top-up from younger members of the family, on average receiving £2,251 each.

The monetary top-ups were most commonly used to help with ad-hoc expenses such as shopping (16%), holidays (10%) and utility bills (9%).

Some grandparents have also found themselves helping their own parents. In the past 12 months, 17% of grandparents provided the “great grandparent” generation with an average top up of £1,819.

However, a separate Standard Life report found that the majority of grandparents (62%) would not turn to any family member if they needed financial help. Only a third (34%) of grandparents said they openly discuss finances with their family, while a quarter (25%) only discussed money when it became necessary.

Of those grandparents who do talk about money with their family the top six topics for discussions are about wills (32%), current monthly expenditure (19%), current budgeting (19%), current savings (18%), potential inheritance (18%) and insurance (18%).

Julie Hutchison, 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.”

Five key conversations that families should try to have with older generations:

1. Do they have a legally binding will? Where is it? (Only 18% of people have discussed their will and 64% have not discussed inheritance at all with their family)

2. If they were incapacitated, who would have power of attorney to make decisions for them? (Only 10% of people have discussed power of attorney with their family)

3. Do they have a pension that gives them enough income? Will it still pay out to their spouse if they die? (Only 13% of people have discussed pensions with their family)

4. Are there ways they could better manage their cost of living and do they need help finding better deals on monthly bills? (1.8 million pensioners in the UK live in poverty [Age UK] yet only 38% of grandparents in Great Britain say they would turn to family for financial help)

5. What kind of care provision is in place in case they can no longer look after themselves? (Only 2% of adults have ever helped their parents with care bills)

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