More than 80,000 UK households are now 3G families with three generations living together as financial pressures force adults with children to provide support to their elderly parents, according to new research from Prudential.
Prudential predicts the phenomenon of the 3G family is set to grow even further as the squeeze on retirement income means more pensioners are finding themselves financially better off living with their children and grandchildren.
The study provides a snapshot of the current financial pressures on UK households with families looking after their own parents and elderly relatives while also providing ongoing support to adult children.
Research reveals that 82,600 households have all three generations living under the same roof - but the financial support and care for elderly relatives as well as adult children and dependent children goes much wider.
Around 10 per cent of adults in the UK (4.6 million) have their elderly parents or relatives aged 60 or older living with them. A further 18 per cent of adults (8.3 million) still have their grown-up children (aged 18 or over) living under their roof. This contrasts with just 6 per cent of UK adults (2.7 million) who live with flat mates, friends or lodgers.
Even those who do not have their grown-up children or elderly relatives living with them are still regularly helping them out, the Prudential research shows. Around 11 per cent of UK adults say they provide grown-up children with money to help them make ends meet, while three per cent support elderly relatives, and another one per cent help both adult children and pensioner relatives. The average payout for this support is £126.17 a month.
Prudential believes the phenomenon is being partly driven by financial pressures on the retired whose pensions are insufficient and also on young adults who struggle to buy or rent a home.
Gary Shaughnessy, Managing Director of Prudential Retail Life & Pensions said: "The phenomenon of the 3G family does not come without a cost. For the middle generation the financial drain of providing support for both the younger and older generations could have a detrimental impact on their ability to save adequately for their own retirement. In turn, they too may eventually become financially reliant on their children in old age.
"While it may not always seem like a priority, we urge people not to lose sight of the importance of saving for their retirement today, no matter how little this might be."
Parents are concerned the pressures will get worse. Although the growth in the housing market appears to be slowing down, good mortgage deals are increasingly hard to find, and lenders are demanding bigger deposits. 74 per cent of adults with children are concerned their children will be unable to buy a property and will live at home until they can afford a deposit, which is often well into their adult lives.
According to the research, more than 44 per cent of UK adults have parents or elderly relatives aged 60 or over and a fifth of those people have considered asking their relatives to come and live with them.
The support for relatives doesn't end with financial support - 15 per cent of adults have elderly relatives or adult children living nearby who they regularly look after and do chores for. Around a fifth of those people are helping out relatives at least three times a week while 11 per cent help them every day. The support includes doing shopping, cooking meals, doing their washing and household cleaning as well as providing a regular taxi service.
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