The British taboo of inheritance

Britons are still reluctant to talk openly with their parents about any expected inheritance, according to figures released by Aviva. Almost two-thirds have not, or would not talk about the subject openly with their parents, despite the fact that 40 per cent of people still expect an inheritance and may even build it into their retirement planning.


“Holy-grail” of inheritance
Despite this expectation, encouragingly more than three-quarters (76 per cent) of those asked would still be happy for their parents or grandparents to take money from their property, often seen as the “holy-grail” of inheritance, so that they may enjoy their retirement.

As highlighted in Aviva’s Real Retirement Report, the rising cost of living has meant that the average unsecured debt of over-55s is £17,112, including debt on credit cards (30 per cent), personal loans (14 per cent), overdrafts (10 per cent) and store cards (7 per cent).

Most valuable asset
For many over-55s, the home is their most valuable asset. While property values are no longer racing ahead as they once did, house prices have more than doubled over the last 20 years, and the average house price for over-55s is £231,306*. This is much higher than the national average of £160,519*.

As house prices have risen, equity release has become increasingly popular, as more cash-strapped retirees consider how to fund the lifestyle they want. Turning to their home in order to fund their later years has been a solution for many, with the over-55 population holding an estimated £1.9 trillion** in equity in the UK.

* May 2011
**Calculations taken from the June 2011 Real Retirement Report by Aviva.