Finance: One in three of those over 50 supporting grown-up kids with cash

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After a turbulent year, the Saga Quality of Life Index finally shows signs of stabilising.

In its latest quarterly report, the Saga QOLI index remains steady on the previous quarter, albeit still firmly in negative territory.

True to form, despite their own economic woes this year, one in three older people are providing financial support to their children and around half will donate to charity this Christmas.

Dr. Ros Altmann, director-general of Saga,said: “After falling consistently throughout 2011, I hope that the first signs of stabilisation in our Quality of Life index will turn into a solid improvement in 2012.

“It is also heart-warming how much the over 50s are helping others, despite high inflation, by supporting family and charity. These really are generous generations.”

Throughout 2011, Saga has been tracking trends in health, happiness and standard of living for the UK’s 21 million over 50s.

The findings have been pretty gloomy so far, with older people reporting continued declines in their quality of life relative to 2010.

However, after the first three quarters of constant deterioration, Saga’s final Quarterly Report for 2011 shows a tiny glimmer of optimism.

The survey of around 10,000 over 50s shows that more of them are now planning fewer cutbacks in their discretionary spending – such as short breaks or going to the cinema - so maybe they will boost the economy a bit next year.

There are still large variations, though, especially across socio-economic groups and overall, one in five actually report cutting back their essential spending as a result of high inflation and, in particular, cutting back on heating is a noticeable feature as fuel costs have soared.

Worry over crime has increased this quarter, perhaps as a result of August’s riots but fears over living costs remain by far their biggest concern, well above health worries with a third of people over 50 anticipating that inflation will be above six per cent in a year’s time.

The report shows that many of those in their 50s and early 60s are delaying retirement in response to the rising cost of living. This may also boost the economy by ensuring they have higher incomes than if they were trying to live only on their pension savings.