Grandparents become 3GB cash machines

Posted in: Research Last updated: 15 Oct 2008

More than half of grandparents in Great Britain have found themselves having to support two generations of their family in the past six months (57%), according to new research from engage Mutual.

At a time when grandparents should be hoping to enjoy their retirement, they are finding they need to help support family members through the current economic climate. The new findings reveal how grandparents have chipped in to help cover childcare costs (28%), debt repayments (35%) and home costs (33%) in the last half year.

engage Mutual’s 3GB1 research, which looks at the changing financial relationships between family members, asked grandparents how they have supported their families in the past six months. The research was carried out against a backdrop of family budgets being squeezed by rising costs of living, mortgage payments and repossessions.2

key findings

  • as debt levels grow faster than income generated3, more than one third (35%) of grandparents in Great Britain providing financial help to their own children in respect of debts have done so to an average tune of over £1800 in the past six months.
  • with households facing spiralling costs and the menace of repossession, grandparents have even been called upon to help with mortgage payments and home improvements. One third (33%) of grandparents who have provided financial assistance in the last six months have helped to fund home costs.
  • with the cost of childcare rising, grandparents are helping to shoulder the burden more than one in four (28%) grandparents helping their families financially have shelled out an average of £454.20 in the last six months – equating to more than £900 a year.
  • people from the North East are most likely to rely on their grandparents’ pockets with more than seven in ten receiving financial support (74%). In contrast, it is people from the South West, that are least likely to ask their grandparents to pay for living expenses (36%) .

Karl Elliott, 3GB spokesperson for engage Mutual said:

“With rising living costs and debt repayments taking effect, the findings show that the majority of grandparents in Great Britain have had to help their families with everyday living costs in the past six months. As our research reveals, family members turn to each other for financial support in tough economic times, leading to increasing financial interdependencies. ”

“With costs of living increasing and tougher times ahead it is important that people think ahead and save little and often in order to reduce the pressure to make ends meet.”

1 3GB is engage Mutual’s Three Generation Britain research index. Research was conducted by YouGov across a GB representative of 529 grandparents between July 25th and 28th of July 2008. The research explores the financial relationships of care between the generations and investigates shifts in traditional financial provision.

2 the Guardian, 5 August 2008http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2008/aug/05/mortgages.debt

3 Grant Thornton August 2008 http://www.grant-thornton.co.uk/press_room/

engage Mutual Assurance can be contacted on 0800 169 4321 or by visiting www.engagemutual.com

The information contained in this press release is intended solely for journalists and should not be relied upon by private investors or any other persons to make financial decisions.

notes to Editors:
1. engage Mutual Assurance is a trading name of Homeowners Friendly Society Ltd (HFSL), Registered and incorporated under the Friendly Societies Act 1992, Registered number 964F and its wholly-owned subsidiaries, engage Mutual Funds Limited (eMFL) and engage Mutual Insurance Ltd (eMIL). Both HFSL and eMFL are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). HFSL’s Register number is 110072, eMFL’s Register number is 181487. eMIL is authorised to conduct general insurance business by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission and is regulated by the Financial Services Authority for the conduct of UK business. eMIL’s FSA Register No is 485680. You can check this on the FSA’s Register by visiting the FSA website www.fsa.gov.uk/register or by contacting the FSA on 0845 606 1234.

2. engage is one of the larger UK mutuals providing simple, value for money savings, protection and investment products. It currently helps over 420,000 customers of all ages to protect, preserve or enhance their welfare, with some of the most straightforward products on the market. engage prides itself on being a family-oriented, modern mutual, providing products that help enable households of all kinds to plan their finances to help meet their future needs. More information on engage Mutual is available at www.engagemutual.com

3. engage supports mutuality, friendly societies and the regional financial services industry through links with the Association of Mutual Insurers, the Association of Friendly Societies, Mutuo and Leeds Financial Services Initiative.

4. engage Mutual Funds Limited (EMFL) is a provider of the Child Trust Fund direct and in partnership with organisations including Yorkshire Building Society and Scarborough Building Society.

5. engage Mutual has been the title sponsor of the Rugby Super League since 2005 and has extended its agreement to 2010.

6. engage Mutual announced its entry into the health cash plan market in July 2008 following an agreement of partnership with Wakefield & District Hospital’s Contributory Scheme (WDHCS). Further to this, 30,000 health cash plan customers transferred from Premier Health Benefits (part of WDHCS) to engageMutual Insurance Ltd.