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The rise of the ‘Parent-sioner’ – Number of parents in their 60s with children under 18 set to soar over next 10 years

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  • The number of parents approaching retirement with children under 18 predicted to reach nearly one million over the next decade
  • The trend is being driven by unplanned late arrivals (25% of parents who will be in their 60s with children under 18), second marriages (20%), and not finding the right partner until later in life (19%)
  • These older parents say their finances are taking a hit with nearly seven in ten (69%) saying they have been impacted
  • One in six (16%) are saving less toward retirement and a similar number (14%) are dipping into savings as a result of having children later in life

New research from OneFamily has found that the number of ‘Parent-sioners’[i] is set to increase significantly over the next decade. The findings indicate that more over 60s than ever before will have children under 18 and in the next ten years it will rise from circa 400,000 to over 900,000[ii]. These statistics also reflect Office for National Statistics figures, which show a steady rise in the ages of mothers and fathers[iii], with women over 30 now more likely to enter parenthood, than their younger counterparts.

Motivations for having children later in life

Many of these older parents have chosen to have children later in life as part of a second marriage (20%), however a significant number also acknowledge that their later in life arrival was an unplanned surprise (25%).

With the average deposit for a first home now reaching £33,000[iv], the cost of buying a home has had a significant impact, with one in ten (10%) older parents saying they prioritised saving for a home before having children. Finances in general played an important role, with half (48%) of these older parents saying they had children later in life in order to be more financially comfortable.

The financial impact of having children later in life

Having children at any age comes at a high price, however for these older parents, who would traditionally be saving for their upcoming retirement, their ability to put money away has been impacted. Two-thirds (69%) said their finances have taken a hit, with 33% saying they have less disposable income than they planned, a quarter (27%) said they have less savings and one in ten (14%) admitted they have had to cut back on their day-to-day expenses.

Retirement savings in particular take a back seat, with one in six (16%) admitting that they have saved less towards their retirement and 14% are dipping into money they had already saved. This is having a knock on effect on retiring, with 17% of these older parents saying they will put off leaving work.

Nici Audhlam-Gardiner, Managing Director of OneFamily Lifetime Mortgages, commented:

“It’s great to see parents having children later in life, however these bundles of joy come at a high cost. At 60 most parents have seen their children fly the nest, but instead this group of over 60s are still facing the costs associated with younger children.

“With young children living in the family home, downsizing is also not an option. However, there are now many different ways of funding retirement, including lifetime mortgages, where homeowners can take advantage of the large house price rises we have seen over recent years. Over 60s thinking about how to fund their retirement should speak to a financial adviser and explore all the options open to them.”

Read more about OneFamily Lifetime Mortgages

[i] Parents aged over 60 who have children under 18 or parents of children who will be over 60 by the time their child is 18.
[ii] As parents over 60 represent a small proportion of the population, these statistics should be treated as indicative rather than exact numbers. However, according to Opinium Research analysis they suggest an increase over the next 10 years as follows: 452,901 to 914,274
[iii] ONS, Births by parents’ characteristics in England and Wales, 2016:
[iv] Halifax