Financial Preparedness, Retirement

Grandparents in the U.S. providing more financial support despite potential harm to their own finances, according to MetLife Mature Market Institute Study

April 29, 2015

Grandparents in the U.S. are increasingly providing vital support for American families, taking on the role of financial safety net for their children and grandchildren, in some cases to the detriment of their own finances. So said a recent study conducted by the MetLife Mature Market Institute in conjunction with Generations United, a multi-generational advocacy organization, Grandparents Investing in Grandchildren: The MetLife Study on How Grandparents Share Their Time, Values, and Money.

According to the survey, Americans feeling pressure of the slowed economy and high unemployment are turning to their parents and grandparents for support. Two in 10 (20%) grandparents surveyed are living in multi-generational households.

Sixty-two percent of grandparents have provided financial support to grandchildren in the past five years, averaging $8,289, primarily for investments and education. Forty-three percent of those surveyed attributed the economic downturn as the reason for monetary support; 34% are helping despite their belief that such assistance is having a negative effect on their own finances.

Among all grandparents in the survey, 13% say they provide care for grandchildren on a regular basis. Grandmothers traditionally care for grandchildren more frequently than grandfathers; fully 15% of all grandmothers provide care on a regular basis as compared to 9% of grandfathers. Younger grandparents under the age of 65 are more likely to provide care.

The majority (74%) of grandparents caring for grandchildren on a regular basis are babysitting/caregiving. Almost one-third are caregiving five or more days per week – a substantial commitment of time and resources. The largest segment (42%) is caregiving fewer than five days a week. Another 10% are regularly providing other types of care, and 1% are regularly caring for grandchildren with special needs.

The entire study may be found at www.metlife.com/mmi/research/index.html.

The MetLife Mature Market Institute’s prior research on grandparents in the U.S. can be found at www.metlife.com/mmi/research/index.html.These include: The MetLife Report on American Grandparents: New Insights for a New Generation of Grandparents (2011), From Generation to Generation: Grandparents Imparting Lessons, Legacy, and Love, A MetLife Survey of African-American, Asian Indian, and Chinese Grandparents (2010) and Grandparents: Generous with Money, Not with Advice (2009).

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