NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Intra-Family Cash Transfers in Older American Households

July 2, 2015

There has been an increasing trend of intra-family transfers from 1998 to 2010, according to Sudipto Banerjee of the Employee Benefit Research Institute.  Data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) survey show that a very small portion of older households receive transfers from their younger generations, while a much larger section of older households transfer money to their younger generations.  These transfers are highly correlated with income.  The amounts transferred by older households are much higher than what they receive.

  • Only, 4 percent to 5 percent of older households receive transfers from their families.
  • In comparison 38 percent to 45 percent of older households transfer money to their younger family members.
  • Among those ages 50 and above, relatively younger households are more likely to transfer money to their families and relatively older households are more likely to receive such transfers.  The amount transferred, in addition to the likelihood of transfer, goes down with age.
  • This is illustrated by the fact that during a two-year period between 2008 and 2010, the average amounts transferred by households who had at least one member between ages 50‒64 and ages 85 or above were $8,350 and $4,787 respectively.

The average transfer amounts from younger family members to older households are much smaller. During the same two-year period, households who had at least one member ages 85 or above received the highest average transfers among all age groups and the average amount was $359.

Source: Sudipto Banerjee, "Intra-Family Cash Transfers in Older American Households," Employee Benefit Research Institute, June 2015.

 

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