More than six in 10 grandparents (62%) have provided financial support to grandchildren in the past five years, averaging
Grandparents earmark financial assistance for clothing (43%), basic general support (33%), education (29%), life events such as graduation (21%), traditional savings account support (15%), and help with a car purchase (10%). Among those who support the educational needs of their grandchildren, 24% provide help for expenses such as school field trips and educational supplies.
Some 43% of grandparents financially helping out their grandchildren cite the economic downturn as the reason; 34% are helping even though this assistance is having a negative effect on their own finances. The vast majority (81%) prefer to provide smaller gifts throughout their lifetimes, while 19% prefer to leave a lump sum as a legacy when they die.
While 62% of grandparents give their grandchildren financial assistance, only 36% provide financial advice. The advice they typically provide includes the importance of early investing (87%), avoiding debt (75%), and maintaining financial security through life and health insurance (49%).
The "Average" Grandparent
Grandparents over the age of 45 have an average of four grandchildren. Most have at least one grandchild between the ages of six and 11 (56%) or under age six (53%). While 59% of grandparents have at least one grandchild living within 50 miles, 39% have a grandchild more than 500 miles away.
Two in 10 grandparents (20%) live in multigenerational households, and 30% have grandchildren living with them fulltime. More than one in 10 grandparents (13%) provide care for at least one grandchild. Of these, 74% provide care on a weekly basis, and 15% are raising one or more grandchildren. Grandmothers are more likely than grandfathers to provide care (15% vs. 9%). The majority of grandparents who provide childcare do so with a smile: 58% provide care because they enjoy it.
There's a generation gap when it comes to careers and employment. Whereas today's teens and Millennials see careers as something more than just a way to earn a paycheck, their elders disagree. Nearly six in 10 retired grandparents (59%) say their primary reason for working was to make money to support themselves and family. Fewer than one in three (32%) say they were doing what they loved, and only 25% felt they were making a positive difference in the lives of others.
More than half of grandparents with multiple grandchildren (54%) say they have an especially close relationship with one particular grandchild, while 21% say they don't have a special relationship with any of their grandchildren, and 23% say they have special bonds with all of them.
Grandparents connect with their grandchildren primarily on the phone (69%) or face-to-face (67%). Just over three in 10 grandparents (31%) email with their grandchildren, 24% connect via
Although nearly a quarter of grandparents use
Grandparents engage in different activities with their grandchildren depending on children's ages. Those with grandchildren under age six see them most often at family celebrations. Grandparents of tweens enjoy taking the kids to the library and/or reading to them. Grandparents also cook with their tween grandchildren, engage in craft projects, take them to the movies, and participate in outdoor activities with them. Grandparents of teens ages 12-17 typically do volunteer activities together. [GRANDPARENTS]
AGES OF GRANDPARENTS' GRANDCHILDREN, 2012 Under age six 53% Ages 6-11 56% Ages 12-17 47% Ages 18-21 25% Over age 21 28% NOTE: More than one response permitted. SOURCE:
MetLife, Generations United Note: Table made from bar graph. FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE GRANDPARENTS HAVE GIVEN TO THEIR GRANDCHILDREN OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS No answer 14% More than $50,0004% $25,000-$49,9993% $15,000- $24,9994% $1O,000- $14,9994% $5,000-$9,99914% $1,000-$4,99930% Less than $1,00027% SOURCES: MetLife, Generations United Note: Table made from pie chart. VALUES GRANDPARENTS BELIEVE ARE "VERY IMPORTANT" TO PASS DOWN TOTHEIR GRANDCHILDREN, 2012 Honesty 88% Good behavior 82% Voting 73% Self-sufficiency 70% Higher education 69% Good health habits 68% Conscientiousness 67% Preserving family ties 67% Financial security 55% Holiday observances, traditions 41% Heritage/ancestry 41% Religion/religious observances 40% Cultural beliefs/customs 36% NOTE: More than one response permitted. SOURCE: MetLife, Generations United ACTIVITIES GRANDPARENTS DO MOST FREQUENTLY WITH GRANDCHILDREN, BY AGE, 2012 UNDERAGE SIX AGES 12-17 1. Family celebration 1. Family celebration 2. Go out to eat 2. Go out to eat 3. Outdoor activities 3. Attend grandkids' event AGES 6-11 AGES 18-21 1. Family celebration 1. Family celebration 2. Go out to eat 2. Go out to eat 3. Outdoor activities 3. Attend grandkids' event SOURCES: MetLife, Generations United TYPE AND AVERAGE AMOUNT OF FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE PROVIDED BY GRANDPARENTS TO GRANDCHILDREN, PAST FIVE YEARS Education (29%) $8,276Traditional savings fund/account (15%) $4,600General support (33%) $3,987Car purchase (10%) $3,977Life event, such as graduation (21 %) $2,008Clothing (43%) $990SOURCES: MetLife, Generations United
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