My husband and I have been pretty good at saving money over the years, which means that we have enough of a cushion to start passing along some of it to our children and grandchildren while we’re alive, rather than leaving it behind as their inheritance. If we live another 20 years, give or take, as the actuarial tables say we might, our offspring in 2040 might have less need for the extra money than they do today, when they’re young. We’re living by the slightly morbid axiom my mother would invoke whenever she gave me a big check for a birthday or an anniversary: “I’d rather give it with a warm hand than a cold one.”
Grandparents across the U.S. are making similar calculations. According to the AARP, almost all American grandparents say that they offer some sort of financial support to their grandchildren, typically in the form of helping pay for their education (53 percent), living expenses (37 percent), or medical bills (23 percent). A recent survey by TD Ameritrade found that the average grandparent couple spend $2,383 a year on their grandkids. This figure is undoubtedly skewed by the wealthy (and disproportionately white) people who give their grandkids the largest amounts—but even grandparents who are just scraping by try to share what they can. And it doesn’t include other ways of helping beyond giving money, such as by being unpaid daycare providers.
– The Atlantic