Perception of money

23.10.2020

It’s funny how your perception of money changes as you grow older. Children and teenagers often request money instead of presents for birthdays and Christmases as, particularly from older relatives, the prospect of another Christmas jumper suddenly loses its appeal. Then, as soon as they receive this money they must go out and spend it – the cash is practically burning a hole in their pocket. However, as adults, being gifted a sum of money or receiving an inheritance can seem like a burden.

Typically, people receive an inheritance when they are 55 to 65. Many are unsure of what to do with it and if they don’t pass it to the next generation, they leave it languishing in a bank account or Cash ISA, generating little or no return. Research shows that 35% of people deposit the capital in a bank or a Cash ISA. This is despite the negligible returns available that almost certainly could see the cash lose its real value over time as a result of inflation. Another 32% spend the money, while 15% take a longer-term view and invest it. The balance 18% pay off debts.

Perhaps, their inheritance could have been gifted to the next generation, which is something that only one in five of 55 to 65-year-olds currently do! The issue of inheritance can be a thorny one but it becomes even more complicated if it has not been discussed and well planned.

The age group 55 to 65 (Baby Boomers) control most of the wealth in the UK and it is the under 45s (Millennials and Generation X) who find themselves under the most financial pressure. Former university students have an average outstanding student loan balance of £35,000 at the point they commence the first repayments. Getting on the housing ladder gets even harder to achieve as house prices have increased more than incomes in the last 30 years. In real terms, house prices have increased by 259% during this period, while wages increased by 68%. So, Millennials and Generation X face a series of difficulties in building wealth. This is due to the combined impact of rising house prices, insecure employment and higher debt (including student debt) – which limits their ability to save for retirement during core earning years.

At Brunel we have become great exponents of intergenerational wealth planning and the benefits to everyone in the family of developing a gift plan. Essentially, we can tackle some of the biggest issues around the transfer of wealth including working out how much capital you need and whether you can afford to give some to loved ones without damaging your own financial plans. We know this can be a challenge without professional advice.

We certainly like to encourage regular gifts to meet the long-term financial needs of Millennials and Generation X. By way of an example, a good first step on the intergenerational wealth transfer road could be a pension contribution on behalf of a child or grandchild. A sum of £300 monthly contributed to a pension over a 20 years period could provide a £210,000 pension pot – assuming 5%pa compound growth and net of costs assumed to be 1.5%pa). This would be a great addition to the pension pot of a 45-year-old struggling to save for retirement!

Similarly, it would be possible to generate a £40,000 lump sum for a child or grandchild by making regular savings of £276 monthly for a period of 10 years – assuming 5%pa compound growth and net of costs assumed to be 1.5%pa. This could be used to help with a property purchase deposit or to assist with education costs. The same £40,000 lump sum could be achieved over 15 years by making regular savings of £168 monthly – assuming the same growth/costs as detailed above.

I hope this provides some food for thought and would encourage you to contact your Brunel Financial Planner if you would like to discuss intergenerational wealth planning in more detail.

Peter Hill

Peter Hill
Director