Rise of multi-generational-retiree families will cut inheritances by £50,000

10 July 2019

Demographic changes will see the number of multi-generational retiree families double in the next 20 years


Multi-generational families – where parents and children are both of retirement age - will double by 2039 according to wealth management firm St. James Place, which studied Office for National Statistics (ONS) data.

Currently there are presumed to be around 624,000 such families in the UK, nearly double the figure in 1999.

Year Number of families with more than one generation retired Change from 2019 % change
1999 328,000 - -
2019 624,000 - -
2024 704,000 80,000 13%
2029 863,000 239,000 38%
2034 996,000 372,000 60%
2039 1,192,000 568,000 91%

Source: St. James Place, July 2019

The demographic shift will force more families to spend their accumulated wealth, leaving smaller inheritances behind for children.

When surveyed, current retirees expect to pass on £124,676 on average to loved ones after they die.

Future retirees however have much lower expectations, around £74,070 on average, some £50,000 less.  

Currently around 7% of retirees say they use their own wealth to help family members other than their partner. Future retirees however believe they will have to spend as much as 24% of their wealth to do the same.

When questioned, future retirees believe everyday living costs, school and university fees and childcare will be the biggest costs that they have to help family members with.

Claire Trott, head of pensions strategy at St. James’s Place, says: “Passing wealth on to our loved ones is one of the final acts of kindness we are able to make, so it is concerning that the amount many believe they will be able to pass on is eroding. 

“With people living longer, the make-up of today’s modern family changing, and retirement provision more and more the responsibility of the individual, the way we need to think about planning for the future has fundamentally shifted. The next generation of retirees can’t expect to follow the same path as those currently in retirement.”

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