Grandparents fund £6.4bn of UK schooling, finds survey

Grandparents are contributing £6.4 billion annually to help fund the education of their grandchildren, a new report has revealed.

Grandmother and granddaughter drawing together with pencils at home. Picture: Candybox
Grandmother and granddaughter drawing together with pencils at home. Picture: Candybox

A survey of 1,000 grandparents across the UK found that almost one in five of those with grandchildren in education are currently contributing towards their grandchildren to the tune of £181 per month. A further one in five expect to contribute in the future.

The research, carried out by Saga Investment Services, found 70 per cent of grandparents said they are motivated by seeing where their money is going while they are alive and because it feels like a lasting legacy to invest.

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Two-thirds of the grandparents interviewed by Saga said it was them or their partner that initiated the conversation which led to contributing, yet 30 per cent say they would contribute more if their child asked and 15 per cent say they would contribute more if their grandchild asked.

Grandparents say their top ambitions for their grandchildren are for them to be happy, healthy and to have a good 

Outside financial support, 47 per cent of grandparents are on call if their grandchildren are poorly when in school; 32 per cent provide childcare outside school hours and 31 per cent spend time helping them learn. Some 15 per cent do the school run.

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Gareth Shaw, head of consumer affairs at Saga Investment Services, said: “Many grandparents are happy, willing and able to help their grandchild achieve their dreams by contributing to their education.

“Their pleasure at being able to use their time and money to help their grandchildren is clear from our research.

“With education firmly on the minds of many families, there’s more that these generous grandparents could do to maximise the money they are putting away for their families’ future. Just one in ten are investing their money in products that could deliver a better return in the long run.”

Meanwhile, a separate study released by Prudential found that although 94 per cent of pensioners are enjoying their retirement, nearly a third say they are leading a lifestyle less comfortable in retirement than when they were working – and they feel that decisions they made both before and after retirement have had an impact on their quality of 

Nearly one in five recent retirees said in hindsight they realised they did not save enough for their retirement, while 15 per cent regret not starting to save earlier.

The luxury of having more free time stands out as a benefit for 77 per cent of them, while less stress and more time to spend with family was also cited as a bonus.