SunLife research has revealed that 51% of people in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s are financially supporting their children.
SunLife also found that more than one in 25 people aged 55-59 are financially supporting elderly parents.
The survey reveals that men over 55 are more likely to be supporting family financially than women, with 57% saying they help either their children, grandchildren or parents or a combination of the three, compared to 47% of women.
Over 55s are also more likely to give financial support if they are in social group AB (62%) or they live in Wales, where 60% help family members compared to 53% in England, 42% in Scotland and 46% in Northern Ireland.
In terms of age groups, those aged 55-59 are the most likely to be giving financial support to family, with 53% helping their children or grandchildren and 4% helping parents.
And it is those in their 50s who are struggling the most financially too; 26% of those aged 55-59 say they are worse off than they expected to be at this time in their lives, compared to 21% of people in their 60s and 11% of those aged 70 or over.
Of those in their 50s who say they are worse off than they thought they’d be, most blame the rising cost of living and poor savings rates, but 21% say they are financially supporting their kids more than they had planned to, while 15% ended up having to financially support someone who was ill.
All of those surveyed either own their own home outright or with a mortgage. On average, they have lived in their home for 24 years, have seen their house price increase in value by an average of £135,525 to an average current value of £290,658. But 62% say they don’t want to move, which means downsizing is not a realistic option for most, so many are looking to equity release as a solution.
Simon Stanney, equity release director at SunLife, said: “Our research shows that one in four people in their 50s are not as financially comfortable as they thought they’d be at this stage in their lives – of those, one in five say that is because they have ended up supporting others financially.
“Many need a cash injection, but don’t want to move and for these people, unlocking some of the value in their homes via equity release could offer the solution.”