No inheritance is left for the kids: it went on tuition fees

In the week that saw students facing up to a grim future of higher tuition fees, a report from the pensions provider Friends Provident reveals that parents are increasingly looking to pass on their wealth to their children when they are alive rather than after death.

The Friends Provident Visions of Britain report shows that fewer than one in five Britons is thinking of leaving an inheritance for their children. This is a trend that has been noted by leading independent financial advisers. "Over the past few years, there has been a real shift away from the idea of leaving a decent inheritance to people wanting to see their children benefit when they are alive," said Adrian Lowcock from the IFA Bestinvest. "A key driver has been the credit crunch, meaning first-time buyers needing much bigger deposits if they want to get on the ladder. What's more, with Lord Browne's report into tuition fees, I can only see this 'give now' trend increasing as parents want to stop their kids from being saddled with big debts," Mr Lowcock added.

But Mr Lowcock had a word of caution for parents: "You are probably going to live longer than you think, perhaps 30-plus years and what you don't want is to leave yourself in straightened circumstances later in life."

And it's not just parents who are looking to help out. The Friends Provident survey found 26 per cent of grandparents planning to dig deep for their grandchildren's education costs.

On early retirement, the report found that 51 per cent of Britons said that they wanted to carry on working – at least part-time – beyond normal retirement age. "The definition of old or retired has evolved, and by 2020, the face of retirement will look completely different," Trevor Matthews, Friends Provident's chief executive, said. "People are living longer and this new breed of energetic and healthy individuals want to remain involved and not become economically inactive." But one thing Britain's ageing population is seemingly not keen on in retirement is downsizing their property. More than three-quarters of people said that they wanted to remain in their current home after retirement.

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