Retirement & Financial Planning Report

Intra-family transfers of cash generally show that the money flows from the older generation to the younger, with relatively little moving in the opposite direction, says a study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

“A very small portion of older households receive transfers from their younger generations, while a much larger section of older households transfer money to their younger generations. The amounts transferred by older households are much higher than what they receive. The average annual transfer amounts are large enough to be considered as a major spending item in a household budget,” it said.

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What’s more, the trend of transfers going from households with at least one member age 50 or above has been increasing.

The result is that now only about 5 percent of those older households receive cash transfers from family members compared with about 40 percent of those who make them.

The amount transferred down generally decreases with age, it added, and for those among the older generation who receive transfers it increases slightly. But in dollar terms, the average amount moving down is far higher than the average amount moving up—for those age 85 and above, for example, $4,800 vs. less than $400.