Bank of mum and dad bailouts for adult children in cost of living crisis

Published  21 March 2023
   3 min read
  • More than half (55%) of advisers say clients are more worried about their family’s financial predicament than their own
  • A quarter (25%) of requests are from clients who want to release money for their adult children
  • Over half (55%) have clients who are tapping into their pension savings to boost their disposable income
  • Of those, a fifth (18%) are taking an additional lump sum from their pension pot to help other family members with the cost of living

More than half of financial advisers say that parents are more worried about their children’s money problems than their own amid the current cost of living squeeze, according to research published by Royal London.

In a survey of 200 financial advisers, 55% said adult children were taking priority in clients’ wealth planning, with a quarter (25%) reporting that one of the main requests they were dealing with were instructions to release funds to help children pay their bills.

Around half (53%) of advisers reported clients making adjustments to their finances as a result of cost of living rises with two fifths (40%) asking for advice on how to make sure investments stayed ahead of inflation.

In terms of accessing additional money, over half (55%) have clients who are tapping into their pension savings to boost their disposable income, with around a third (36%) increasing the amount of drawdown cash they took, a third (33%) taking an additional lump sum for themselves and about a fifth (18%) taking a lump sum specifically to help their children.

While clients are worried about the impact on their children and have a strong desire to help them, they are also very conscious about running out of money over the course of their retirement and need to strike the right balance.

Clare Moffat, Pensions Expert at Royal London says:

"The cost of living crisis means many grown up children are relying on a financial leg up from their parents to cope with rising costs. While it’s tempting to use retirement cash to help family, it should come with a note of caution. There’s a real danger that it will compromise parents’ long term retirement security and impact their overall retirement - ultimately spending more now will mean spending less later.

"For today’s young adults, life long-term financial planning looks very different to the journey their parents took. Reaching key financial milestones, like buying a house, involves a much longer wait than previous generations. While it’s natural for parents to help, the right balance needs to be struck. Dipping into your pension pot and withdrawing funds early can have a dramatic impact on your overall retirement. It can also make it harder to build a pension pot back up in future."

For further information please contact:

Neil Cameron, PR Manager

Notes to editor

Royal London commissioned a survey by Opinium between 1 and 6 March 2023, with a sample of 218 financial advisers.

*ONS - Around 9 in 10 (87%) adults reported an increase in their cost of living

About Royal London

Royal London is the largest mutual life, pensions and investment company in the UK, and in the top 30 mutuals globally, with assets under management of £162 billion, 8.6 million policies in force and over 4,200 employees. Figures quoted are as at 31 December 2023. Learn more at