Retirees sacrifice dreams to help loved ones

29 April 2015

Half of pensioners are providing regular financial help to their loved ones and have sacrificed at least one of their retirement hopes or dreams as a result.

Some 19% admit to regularly giving money to their grown-up children, and 9% do the same for their grandchildren.

Just over a fifth of retirees admit to being worried about not being able to support family or friends financially during retirement, according to research from HSBC, and 18% are concerned about becoming reliant on loved ones for financial support themselves.

"Withdrawals from the bank of mum and dad may actually be affecting the standard of living of many retirees," said Caroline Connellan, head of wealth at HSBC UK.

"New pension freedoms have made savings more accessible, but people should carefully consider the right balance between helping their family and making sure they have sufficient income through retirement."

Sensible steps

Tom McPhail, head of pensions research at Hargreaves Lansdown, added: "Increasing life expectancy and the looming risk of later life care costs mean that those retiring today should think very carefully about how and when they choose to draw on their retirement savings.

"For most people, it would make sense to pass on wealth in retirement only after taking sensible steps to secure financial security for the rest of your life. This could mean buying an annuity with at least part of your pension pot."

Research by McPhail's firm since the introduction of the pension reforms that came into effect on 6 April 2015 has found nearly one-third of investors intend to hold money in a pension as a tax-efficient way to pass money on after their death and that nearly two-thirds (61.5%) only plan to draw on their pension when they stop working.

Meanwhile, "giving for living" is on the rise while traditional inheritance could be on the way out, according to HSBC, which pointed out that 58% of working-age adults expect to receive an inheritance while only a third have actually done so.

The difference between expectations and reality is worrying, said HSBC, based on the fact that more than half (54%) of working-age people who expect to receive an inheritance in the future say it will help fund their retirement and 15% say it will completely or largely fund it.

Connellan said: "Working-age people shouldn't pin their hopes on funding retirement with an inheritance. It's more important than ever that people of all ages make plans about how they'll fund their retirement, so they can live the lifestyle they want to."

She added: "Even the smallest amount saved today can contribute towards the lifestyle you want in retirement and the legacy you hope to leave. Those who fail to plan may find that any kind of inheritance is not only unlikely but also that a comfortable retirement is beyond reach."

Here are HSBC's tips for retirement savers wanting to plan a better financial future for themselves:

1. Be realistic about your retirement aspirations - more than half of retirees (53%) have been unable to realise at least one of their hopes and aspirations since retiring. Retirement can offer many choices. Decide what kind of retirement you want and be honest with yourself about how much it will cost.

2. Review your long-term working plans - almost half (47%) of working-age people plan to semi-retire before fully retiring. Consider at what age you can realistically afford to fully retire, and if you expect to semi-retire or keep working for longer.

3. Consider your wider financial commitments - almost three fifths (57%) of working-age people and half of retirees (50%) provide regular financial support to at least one other person. Providing financial support for family members – your partner or spouse, your children, your ageing parents - may be a reality through your working life and into your retirement. Consider your own and your family's long-term financial needs, and make sure to include both in your retirement planning.

4. Have a clear retirement plan - more than half (54%) of working-age people who have received or expect an inheritance believe it will fully or partly fund their retirement. However, only a third (33%) of all working-age people have received an inheritance. Consider how you will fund your retirement and don't bank on receiving an inheritance. Make sure you have a realistic financial plan in place and seek professional financial advice if you need help.

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