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4m retirees help out in cost of living crisis

  • Over 20m UK adults say they have helped family and friends financially in last six months 
  • 4.3m retired people have helped friends and family 
  • The main reasons people gave money were to help with day to day costs and bills
  • The average amount given £8,400 while those helping grandchildren give £15,000 on average

Research from pensions and retirement specialist LV= highlights how millions of people have helped friends and family financially in the past six months.
The LV= Wealth and Wellbeing Monitor* – a quarterly survey of 4,000 UK adults – reveals that many people struggling with everyday living costs are turning to family and friends for support.

The research reveals:

  • 39% (20.7m) UK adults say they have helped family or friends financially in the past six months
  • 35% (4.3m) retirees have given money to their family or friends in the last six months
  • The average amount given in the last six months to help family and friends is £8,400. 15% gave more than £10,000

The main reasons people gave money was to help with day to day costs and bills

People are helping family and friends with a variety of costs including:

  • 42% day to day costs
  • 37% help paying bills
  • 17% helping pay loans, credit cards, debts
  • 13% nursery, childcare and university fees
  • 12% Mortgage and rent
  • 11% buying a house


Thousands have been given to help out 

  • The average amount given in the last 6 months to help family and friends was £8,400. 15% gave more than £10,000
  • Retirees on average gave £7,000 with 2% giving over £50,000
  • Mass affluent people – those with assets of between £100,000 and £500,000 excluding housing – are even more generous. They gave £13,000 on average with 6% giving more than £50,000


The bank of gran and grandad

  • Those helping grandchildren gave £15,000 on average, while 10% gave over £50,000 
  • The main reasons grandparents helped out grandchildren financially were to help with day to day costs (43%) and help with bills (37%)
  • One in four (24%) grandparents gave money to help their grandchildren buy a house

“LV=’s research highlights the rise in the cost of living is affecting millions of people. A third of young adults (18-34) and families with young children are struggling financially. Many are turning to family and friends to help for day to day expense such as utility bills, housing costs and childcare."
“One striking aspect is the extent to which grandparents are stepping in with thousands of pounds of support and helping grandchildren with housing deposits in addition to everyday expenses."

“It’s understandable why grandparents want to help their family and pass wealth down through the generations. When doing this, there are a number of options available, each with different advantages and disadvantages."

“Gifting money early can reduce inheritance tax liabilities and a grandparent can gift up to £3,000 a year without being added to the value of the estate. A couple could therefore gift £6,000 a year. If some or all of it was invested in a pension it would get tax relief."
 “Grandparents interested in helping a grandchild save for a house could consider saving into a Lifetime ISA (LISA). Only the child/grandchild, as the account holder, can open and manage their LISA but it’s possible to gift money to an account holder to pay into their LISA.”
Clive BoltonManaging Director of Protection, Savings and Retirement at LV=

Saving for a child or grandchild: the options:
Parents have several options when saving for a child or grandchild. Choosing the right one can make a big difference.

Contributing to a pension
Although most people won’t set up a pension until they reach working age, a pension can be started as soon as someone is born. In addition, any contributions made by a parent or grandparent, which can be made directly to the plan as ‘third party contributions’, will be treated for tax relief purposes as if they were made by the beneficiary themself. 

This means that contributions paid to a ‘relief at source’ scheme will receive tax relief of 20% (£20 for every £80 net contribution) as long as the gross contributions do not exceed the beneficiary’s relevant UK earnings for the tax year. In addition, where a beneficiary has paid income tax at a higher rate, they will be able to claim the difference directly from HMRC through self-assessment - i.e. a further 20% for a higher rate (40%) tax payer. 

Although a child under the age of 18 is unlikely to have relevant UK earnings, total contributions up to the ‘basic amount’ of £2,880 net (£3,600 gross) can be made each year and will still benefit from tax relief.

Although pension contributions can be one of the more tax efficient ways to gift money to a child or grandchild, the drawback is that money is likely to be inaccessible until they reach 57 (normal minimum pension age is rising from 55 to 57 in April 2028). Some people may therefore want to find other ways to help family where there is more chance that they will be around to see their loved ones enjoy the money.

Lifetime ISAs (LISAs)
If the child/grandchild is between 18-40, helping them save into a lifetime ISA (LISA)* can be beneficial, especially if they are trying to raise a deposit for a first home. This is because the Government will add a 25% bonus to deposits of up to £4,000 a year (i.e. £20 for every £80 deposited). However, if withdrawals are made for any purpose other than purchasing a first home, a tax penalty of 25% (i.e. £25 on a withdrawal of £100) will apply unless the individual is terminally ill or aged 60 or above. Since the tax penalty exceeds the initial bonus, it is normally not the most tax-efficient investment if the penalty is likely to be incurred.
* Note that only the child/grandchild, as the account holder, can open and manage their LISA but it’s possible to gift money to an account holder to pay into their LISA.

For those who want more control over how money is spent, setting up a trust can help ensure any investment is used appropriately. There are a wide variety of trusts that can be used to meet individual requirements. 


Notes to editor

* LV= surveyed 4,000 nationally representative UK adults via an online omnibus conducted by Opinium in June 2022. 

**The information given here is based on our understanding of current legislation and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) practice, which can change.