Hey, Grandma, Show Me the Money! Grandparents Generous With Cash, Poll Shows

Filed under: Relatives, News, In The News, Weird But True, Education: Teens, Research Reveals: Teens, New In Pop Culture

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Hey, Gramps, can I have a 10 spot? Credit: Getty Images

It's tough to dispense advice to kids today, so maybe that's why grandparents are finding it easier to say "I love you" with cash, leaving the hardcore lessons on life, love, work and getting ahead to the parents.

But, these financial contributions are a pretty big deal, according to a recent poll taken by the MetLife Mature Market Institute. According to the study of almost 1,100 American grandparents, almost two-thirds have provided financial support to their grandchildren during the last five years.

That adds up to $370.7 billion -- an average of $8,661 per set of grandparents -- during the last five years. Forty percent of those grandkid donations go to general funds, while 26 percent are targeted for education expenses.

Fueling this funding is the economic downturn, Sandra Timmermann, director of the Mature Market Institute tells ParentDish. Most grandparents (78 percent) would rather make contributions to their offspring while they are alive, rather than leaving a lump sum in a will, she says.

"Grandparents are more willing than ever to help their grandchildren, even though they may be suffering economically," Timmermann says.

On the education front, 46 percent of grandparents are setting up college funds, 26 percent are paying for pre-college educational expenses (high school, grade school, etc.) and 24 percent are helping with college tuition and loans. Grandparents also are helping to augment the college experience by buying cars and computers.

"Like grandparents in earlier generations, today's grandparents want to be involved in their grandchildren's lives," Timmermann says. "What may be different today is that grandparents are helping their children and grandchildren to meet immediate financial needs."

The giving is much appreciated, Debra Marrone, a Long Island mom of a college student and recent college graduate, tells ParentDish. Her folks put up the seed money for her children's college tutions.

"It is enormously helpful and is making a big difference," she says. "These days, the college laptop expenses alone are a financial hit."

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.