Britons unaware of retired parents financial struggles

Article date: 7 January 2008

  • Three quarters have never discussed their parents' finances with them
  • Nearly two thirds do not know their retired parents' annual income
  • One in three have never seen their parents' will.

People with parents over the age of 60 could be in for a financial shock in later years because they simply haven't talked about money matters with mum and dad.

Over three quarters (76%) of Britons with parents aged 60 plus have never discussed their finances with them, according to new research from Norwich Union Equity Release. 

The study was compiled as part of ongoing research to support Norwich Union's equity release offering and shows a surprising lack of communication between generations. To encourage greater interaction within families, Norwich Union has launched a website offering information regarding parents' finances.

The research which prompted the website found nearly two thirds of respondents (61%) did not know what their parents' annual income is. In fact, more than one in three (34%) think that their parents' finances are none of their business, regardless of whether they are beneficiaries of their estate.

Nearly half of the respondents (46%) did not even know if their parents have a will. Of these, 20% had never even asked their parents whether they have written a will, whilst 10% say they have tried to bring up the topic, but their parents have refused to discuss it with them. Of those whose parents had made a will, a third (31%) had never seen it and do not know what it contains.

However, consumers seem to be undeterred by this lack of awareness into their parents' finances. The majority (58%) believe that their parents are relying on the state pension for their retirement provision. Although this offers a fairly tight annual income of £4,539.60 for singles and £7,259.20 for couples (source:, nearly eight in ten respondents (78%) do not think their parents are struggling financially. However 17% admit to worrying about their parents' financial situation.

Anthony Rafferty, head of marketing, post retirement at Norwich Union, comments: "These results show that we must encourage the over 60s to speak to their children about their retirement income. We are well past the days when discussing financial matters was considered taboo. The research raises many questions about how many elderly people could be struggling to make their pension pot stretch, whilst not feeling able to talk to their family about their cash flow. 

"At Norwich Union we would like to encourage families to discuss their financial matters with one another - especially those with elderly parents.  As a result, we have set up a website with useful tips to help encourage consumers to speak with their parents about their finances. The website provides information and guidance on equity release, which is an increasingly popular option for older people to fund their retirement."


TNS carried out face-to-face interviews in Quarter 4 2007 amongst 1,000 adults in 70 locations throughout the UK. 

Regions where consumers are most unaware of their parent's annual income in order:

North West - 78%
East Midlands - 74%
South East - 72%
West Midlands - 64%
Wales - 59%
South West - 57%
Yorkshire & The Humber - 56%
East of England - 54%
London - 53%
Scotland - 52%
North East - 30%

Press office contacts:  

Norwich Union:                                                           
Sarah Horner 
Telephone: 01904 452828 / 07800 691569

The Wriglesworth Consultancy:
Lee Blackwell / Suman Katyal / Karen Butcher
Telephone: 0207 845 7900

Notes to editors:
Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer. It is a leading provider of life, pensions and investment products and one of the largest financial adviser (FA) providers. FAs provide over 70% of the company's long-term savings business in the UK.

Norwich Union is the UK's largest general insurer with a market share of around 14%, with a focus on insurance for individuals and small businesses.

Norwich Union's news releases and a selection of images are available from Aviva's internet press centre at

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