Selfish youngsters putting their grandparents in debt?
Remember when grandparents were white-haired old crinklies who patted your head as you shared a sickly butter-coloured sweet? Remember when parents were the people you tried to get away from, to make your own way in the world?
Unfortunately, it seems parents and grandparents these days can’t get rid of their money-sucking adult leeches and new research suggests that up to 1.7 million grandparents and parents could be forced into borrowing money in order to help out their cash-strapped progeny.
The research, by Moneysupermarket.com, found that almost a quarter of grandparents of children over 18 (24 per cent) are helping to support their grandchildren and as a result are being forced to use their savings, credit cards, overdrafts, and pay day loans to tide them over. A further 32 per cent of parents with children over eighteen are still being relied on as a convenient source of funding.
But it’s not like the money comes easy. In order to fund the lifestyles of their children and grandchildren, over 46 per cent of respondents had to use their savings; 14 per cent turned to their credit card to tide them over and 14 per cent have been pushed into using their overdraft. 18 per cent say they still have outstanding debt which they cannot pay off, with the average amount of non-mortgage debt currently £3,513.
But what is the money being used for? Worryingly, the research found the main areas that need funding by parents and grandparents is the wishy washy “general cost of living” (58 per cent and 41 per cent), with the next most popular hand-out requests for funding education (34 per cent and 23 per cent) and helping with their debts (25 per cent and 14 per cent). Without wishing to sound like an old fogey myself, what ever happened to that old chestnut of ‘living within your means’ or ‘cutting your cloth’. While unexpected life events like redudancies may be one thing, do you really need that new flatscreen TV more than your pensioner Gran needs her pension?
Kevin Mountford, head of banking at MoneySupermarket.com said, "parents and grandparents have always traditionally provided financial support towards their children's' life goals such as buying their first home or helping with a car purchase, but with the nations' wallets pushed to the limits, it is clear this support has grown significantly. Many parents and grandparents who provide monetary help are finding their own financial situation being pushed to the limit with many taking on additional debt or stopping saving to help their nearest and dearest. Taking out additional borrowing to support family members is an honourable thing to do but people need to consider how they will repay the debt and how this will impact their lifestyle, especially if they are in, or approaching retirement.”
So what do you think? Would you put yourself in the red to help out the younger generations or are they just selfish and afraid of hard work? I know where I’m putting my money…