Most people plan to spend children's inheritance
Young couples hoping for an inheritance to lift them on to the first rung of the property ladder have been dealt a blow by research showing that most adults plan to spend their spare cash on themselves, rather than save it for their children.
The survey of more than 2,000 people by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that only a quarter of those with the potential to make a bequest said they would budget to leave something for their heirs.
While most people said they would to be able to leave a legacy, half of them strongly agreed that older people should enjoy their retirement and not worry about an inheritance.
Even among those in their eighties, a majority said they would enjoy life, with just a third agreeing they needed to be careful with their money to ensure they left an inheritance.
The family home - once seen as the centrepiece of any will - is no longer immune. Most of those who held a view said they would consider borrowing against their home to release extra money to fund their later years.
The research will be seen as evidence that increasing longevity and a series of crises over pensions have made the older generation more concerned about their finances after retirement.
It also bolsters the view within the advertising industry that the "grey pound" is increasingly important for consumer and leisure businesses.
Karen Rowlingson, joint author of the report and a senior lecturer in social policy at the University of Bath, said: "Although most people would like to be able to make bequests when they die, they are also willing to use up their savings and housing equity if they need the money to maintain a reasonable standard of living. It does not support the stereotype of older people being excessively frugal in order to bequeath everything to their children."
However, she said the research did not endorse the recent image of the older generation - dubbed SKIers or "spending the kids' inheritance" - splashing out on luxuries. Instead it showed that people were planning to draw on their assets over their lifetime as part of a planned process of managing their resources.
"Instead of speculating about SKIers, it is time we started recognising that most older people manage their assets in a balanced way," Dr Rowlingson said.
She said the group of people emerging from the research could be dubbed Owls - older people withdrawing loot sensibly. The survey found the main reasons for releasing equity were to fund repairs and improvements, pay bills or debts, or buy essential items, with very few doing it to pay for luxuries.
The trend has been picked up among the younger generation. More than half felt they were not very likely to receive property as an inheritance.
Less than half of the adults interviewed had made a will, but those aged over 80 were more prudent, with 84 per cent making legal provision. One in four homeowners had not made a will.
The authors, Dr Rowlingson and Stephen McKay of Bristol University, believe poor knowledge of inheritance tax rules could be a reason. Just one in a 100 of those questioned was able to answer correctly a series of questions about the regime.
More than half did not know that the exemption from inheritance tax enjoyed by married people does not apply to cohabiting couples.
Pamela Hawker: 'They don't need my money to be secure'
By Michael Connellan
Pamela Hawker, 50, says she is not concerned about leaving a cash-pot for the children she loves. "They simply don't need an inheritance to be safe and secure."
Mrs Hawker, who lives in Great Shelford near Cambridge, has three children between 16 and 23 with her husband, Brian.
"We've never had savings," she said. "My father was part of the thrifty generation, but those frugal habits are more or less non-existent now."
Mrs Hawker joked about what she calls "King Lear syndrome", explaining: "It's not healthy for kids to know they're going to inherit large sums - it means they're waiting for their parents to pop their clogs." She added: "We've spent £20,000 on putting our first two children through education - these days the inheritance is received while the parents are still alive and kicking."
Her children shouldn't be alarmed: "They should at least be able to divide the house between them. That's unless we decide to be truly reckless."
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
Mark Dampier: An infrastructure fund that builds returns by taking different roads
Simon Read: Timeshare owners accuse Macdonald Resorts of land grab
Five Questions: Changes to car tax discs
Donald MacInnes: Let's pretend Scotland won and now a salmon is running the country
Bargain Hunter: Win a new iPhone 6
- 1 Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 Friends 20th anniversary: The highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
- 4 The response to my Pizza Express review has been overwhelming, and taught me a lot about journalism
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
iJobs Money & Business
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...
Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...
£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...
To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...
Day In a Page
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize