NS&I report reveals future families founded on fortune
The new National Savings and Investments (NS&I) commissioned report*, ’Families, Finance and the Future’, suggests the existence of a new institution of British life - the ’Financial Family’ - a collaborative unit of close friends and family marked by financial interdependence. It does not simply show a steady flow of cash down the generations, or the ’sandwich generation’ arrangement observed in recent years, but also shows flows of money and advice, up and down the generations as well as between siblings.
The costs of living and care for the elderly are recognised as rising, and the report suggests that the traditional family unit is shifting - yet family ties will be stronger than ever, and people will rely much more on financial networks. By 2029, there will be more cohabiting couples, and more single-person households than married couples living together** - so the Financial Family will be important even after the traditional family has declined.
According to the new survey research, the majority of people felt financially responsible for family members (54%), while 70% stated that current economic trouble meant families needed to support each other (70%).
Young people are more engaged with the Financial Family, with 50% of 16-24s identified as members of a Financial Family, compared to 30% of 25-34s and 20% of 35-44s. As this generation grows up, the Financial Family will become more and more widespread.
Technology will also mean that people are better equipped to share financial advice - but will also make it more important they do so. As the amount of information that tries to reach consumers increases, people will rely on the insights of their financial network to process this mass of information. This network is likely to revolve around the family as most people feel comfortable discussing financial matters (55%) with close friends and family, or sharing financial tips and advice (60%).
Barry Clark, Associate Director at the Future Foundation said: “We feel we’ve revealed a new way for people to look at British family life - and one that will become increasingly common. When we look at several demographic trends, like the rise of single-person households, the advance of technology and young people’s involvement in financial matters, we can expect the Financial Family to be a very important feature in the future. The Financial Family is here to stay.”
Tim Mack, Savings Spokesman at NS&I, said: “We started from an intuitive feeling that discussing money isn’t taboo any more, but the results far exceeded our expectations. The research shows that the discussion of finances, and our relationship with money, extends beyond the traditional family.”
NS&I is one of the largest UK investments and savings organisations, offering a range of savings accounts and investments products, including fixed rate savings bonds, fixed term investments, Premium Bonds, savings certificates, and ISAs to almost 27 million customers. Established in 1861.
Notes to editors
* Research carried out by Future Foundation in April 2009, with a base of 1,049 adults in the UK aged 16+ using desk research and original survey work. Sources the British Household Panel Survey, the ONS, Eurobarometer, the Department for Communities and Local Government, and previous surveys conducted by the Future Foundation.
** Department for Communities and Local Government figures predict that by 2029, about 40% of all households will be single-person; about 30% will be married couples; and 15% cohabiting couples. The figures for 2009 are around 30%, 40% and 10% respectively; and for 1979, 22%, 65% and 2%.
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