Pensioners are flogging the family jewels to finance their lifestyles in retirement, according to new research.
Cash-strapped retires have sold off heirlooms and valuables worth an estimated £279 million that their families were expecting to inherit, says a study by finance firm LV=.
The firm reckons 550,000 retirees have decided to sell off their possessions, and net an average £1,300 in the process.
The firm estimates this amounts to one in 20 pensioners parting with possessions to make ends meet in retirement.
One in six approaching retirement – aged 50 to 64 – confess they have already sold part of their family history, while more than half (57%) admit they are giving serious thought to a sale.
This may come as a shock to the 48% of the younger generation who expect to inherit these valuables from their parents.
Selling their kids’ inheritance
Popular items to sell include collectibles, stamps and medals.
But the biggest sellers are:
- Necklaces and bracelets (39%)
- Vases and silverware (22%)
- Watches and clocks (20%)
- Tea sets, plates, jugs and crockery (15%)
- Brooches (14%)
The research showed pensioners need the cash so much that any sentiment attached to the items came second – especially as the heirlooms had been ‘in the family’ for an average 84 years.
Ray Chinn, LV= Head of Pensions, said: “The research highlights an alternative method of funding retirement.
“Many of those approaching retirement now realise they just have not saved enough and cannot save any more, so have to look at managing with what they have got or other methods of supplementing their income.
“Selling off family heirlooms is just one way of doing this.”
Elderly have less spending power
Downsizing is another way of cutting costs and raising cash – and sometimes decluttering the home of unwanted antiques or valuables is part of this process.
Chinn explains that selling off valuables is a stop-gap and that retirees who had properly planned for a pension would not have to part with family heirlooms.
Meanwhile, The Alliance Trust Economic Research Centre has calculated the elderly face a higher rate of inflation than younger age groups.
The over 75s, says the group, have an inflation rate of 3.1% because they spend more of their cash on basics like energy, with 8% inflation, and food, with prices rising at 4.4% .
The official rate of inflation for July 2013 was 2.8% – down from 2.9% in June.
The group suggests the elderly have less spending power than anyone else as their fixed retirement incomes are harder hit by inflation.