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Higher income but lower assets than 35 years ago

Robyn Hall

October 1, 2012

Its latest report, 35 Cubed seeks to understand how the flow of wealth between the generations has changed over the past 35 years.

These differences are mainly driven by changes in the housing market with house prices trebling in real terms versus a doubling of salaries, causing knock on impacts in all areas of life on a family and societal level.

Attitudes towards inheritance, gift giving within families, housing equity and pensions were explored and revealed families had taken control over their own finances and moved money between the generations much more than they did in the 1970s.

The report recommends three questions for debate; Is 25 years the right term for the mortgage, whether there is an ISA-equivalent for protection and how financial services companies can helpeople to manage a longer retirement process.

The Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister of State at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, called the 35 Cubed report “an important contribution to the debate on the intergenerational contract”.

He said: “Even though families are making new and different choices about managing their money, expectations of maturity milestones are very consistent across the generations. This could go some way to explaining the slow pace of change in many areas of financial product evolution.”

John Godfrey, corporate affairs director at Legal & General, said: “Even though families are making new and different choices about managing their money, expectations of maturity milestones are very consistent across the generations.

“This could go some way to explaining the slow pace of change in many areas of financial product evolution.

“Our attitudes and aspirations haven’t kept pace with the speed of the changes over the last 35 years.

“We hope that these questions will encourage all parties to debate these issues and review the way they think about the future and help families to meet their goals.”

Anchor’s chief executive Jane Ashcroft said: “Our ageing population is already having a profound effect on the lives of us all. Policy-makers must wake up and ensure services and attitudes change to reflect changing demographics.

“The report dispels the myth that older people are a financial burden; younger people are more likely to receive financial help from their family than older people, 73 per cent of whom have never benefited from such help themselves.”

And Roger Harding, head of policy, research and public affairs at Shelter, added: “This is yet another example of how the younger generation are seeing their housing aspirations slip away from them.

“Many who are desperate to get on the housing ladder but cannot even afford to rent are putting their lives on hold, with more than a fifth of 18 – 34 year olds still living at home with their parents and many couples delaying having children.

“We can no longer ignore the unacceptable impact our housing crisis is having on all aspects of people’s lives. The government needs to show this generation they will meet them halfway when it comes to finding a place to call home.”


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