Business Irish

Friday 15 December 2017

You can bank on the grandparents to lend a hand in a mortgage crisis

THE mortgage arrears crisis would be even worse if so many pensioners were not helping out their adult children to pay the bills.

That is one of the conclusions that springs to mind from research carried out by academics at NUI Galway into the finances of older people.

Large numbers of older people are handing over money to their heavily-indebted adult children and their grandchildren as the recession diminishes household incomes.

And in some cases the pensioners are being so generous to their heavily-mortgaged children that they have little left for themselves, the research from NUI Galway indicates.

Pensioner parents feel obliged to help out their adult children, especially when there are grandchildren involved.

Now we know that high mortgage repayments, declining incomes from tax hikes and pay cuts and unemployment mean that many families with young children were being bailed out by their parents.

The only problem is we do not know the extent of this.

But it is a fair guess that even more than 169,000 residential mortgage accounts would be either in arrears or have been restructured if the pensioner parents were not helping out with payments on the monthly mortgages.

Inter-generational solidarity is alive and well. But just don't expect the banks to be thankful for it, or even recognise it.

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