Multiple generations of family enjoying retirement

Retirement incomes forced to stretch further

Written by Gemma Darcy

Almost one million UK families will have multiple generations in retirement at the same time within the next 10 years, a new study1 by St. James’s Place reveals. As a result, retirement income is expected to stretch across multiple generations, causing many people to reassess their retirement plans.

It’s anticipated that by 2029, 963,000 families will contain more than one retired generation – an 18% increase on the 813,000 multi-retiree families that exist currently, with growth becoming steadily more dramatic as time goes on.  Nearly 1.4 million families are expected to contain more than one retired generation by 2044.

YearNumber of families with more than one generation retiredChange from 2024% change
2024813,000
2029963,000+150,000+18%
20341,077,000+264,000+32%
20391,253,000+440,000+54%
20441,396,000+583,000+72%

Multi-retiree family growth rate increasing faster than previously projected

SJP’s analysis also found that multi-retiree families are increasing faster than previously projected. There are currently 813,000 families with more than one generation retired –100,000 higher than projected in 2018, when it was estimate there would be 704,000 families containing more than one retired generation in 2024.

This trend shows no sign of stopping as there has been an increase from forecasts conducted in 2018. Over the next 20 years, there will be between 60,000-100,000 more families than initially expected with more than one generation retired.

Demands on retirement income grows, as future generations expect to financially support others in retirement

What’s more, retirement income will need to stretch across generations, as providing financial support to other family members is becoming a greater priority among future retirees. Over half (55%) of future retirees expect to provide financial support in their retirement to other generations – compared to just over a third (37%) of current retirees.

Future retirees expect to provide financial support to other generations through paying for everyday living costs (22%), buying a house or paying off a mortgage for someone (16%) or paying for childcare (14%). Other common ways people expect to help include paying for a holiday and educational fees (14% respectively).

To ensure they can financially support their loved ones once retired, many future retirees are planning to take significant action, including:

  • Working in retirement to supplement their income (14%)
  • Reducing spending on essentials (12%)
  • Delaying retirement in order to build up a bigger pot (12%)
  • Reducing the amount they are able to pass on in inheritance (9%)
  • Drawing upon additional sources of income before they had originally planned to do so (8%)
  • Accessing pension pot early to provide for others (8%)

“With people living longer, retirement provision more and more becoming the responsibility of the individual, and the economic landscape evolving, the way we need to think about planning for the future has fundamentally shifted. The next generation of retirees can’t expect to follow the same path as those currently in retirement.

There is a lot of pressure on people’s finances currently, and so building sufficient funds for your future whilst also supporting other generations may not be the priority and can feel daunting. In addition to this, future retirees are increasingly expecting to financially support others once retired, and retirement income is having to stretch in multiple directions. In order to do this, our approach to retirement planning must change. Putting in place the right plans at an early stage will allow greater opportunity to build wealth over time and leave behind as much as possible when you’re gone, without making unnecessary sacrifices along the way. Seeking professional advice can help you navigate these plans, giving you and your loved ones more security in future.”

Claire Trott, Divisional Director for retirement and holistic planning at St. James’s Place

1 Research conducted for St. James’s Place by Opinium, among 4,000 UK adults between 27 February–8 March 2024. All results are weighted to nationally representative criteria.

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