Property is top priority for inheritance windfall

23 Dec 2019

Are you likely to receive an inheritance? And if so, have you thought about what you'll do with the money?

People's needs and priorities differ at various life stages, but buying or improving property is among the top three priorities for all age groups, new research shows.

A survey of 4,000 UK adults for financial services provider Just Group found that nearly a third (30%) of those aged between 18 and 34 would use an inheritance to get on the property ladder -- reflecting the challenge younger generations face in buying their own home.

For adults in the middle age group (aged 35-54), priorities were more likely to be about securing their financial future by clearing their debt, with a third (32%) intending to use the money to pay off their mortgage.

Among the over-55s surveyed, one in five (22%) plan to use inheritance money to improve their homes and one in seven (15%) said they would focus on paying off their mortgage.

"The contrasting priorities of the different generations clearly reflect the property journey that many in the UK will follow over the course of their lives," said Stephen Lowe, group communications director at Just Group. "The youngest focus on getting on the property ladder, before attention turns to paying off the mortgage and, finally, we see over-55s starting to consider home improvements as they move into retirement."

Aside from property, saving or investing at least some of money from an inheritance remains the default option for most people, with over a third (34%) of the youngest age group and nearly two in five (39%) of those over 55 saying this is how they would use the money.

Meanwhile, many over the age of 35 are starting to think about retirement, for example putting money away for later-life care or boosting their pension pot. Although paying off the mortgage was their top priority, 23% of 35-54 year olds said they would use some money received as inheritance to prepare for retirement, as did 22% of over-55s.

Around one in seven (13%) 18-34 year olds would use some of the funds to pay for school or university fees and a similar proportion would splash out on a holiday (14%).

While every individual's situation will be different it's important for everyone who receives an inheritance to take into account their short- and long-term needs when deciding what to do with an inheritance, Lowe explained.

"We would encourage all adults who receive a sizeable inheritance to explore receiving regulated financial advice from a professional adviser," he said. "A qualified adviser will help people to consider what they most want to achieve in their lives and then help them to build a financial plan to meet these goals."

At Fidelius we believe in a full approach to financial planning -- looking at the whole picture to really understand all aspects of your life and finances. Once we know where you are, and where you want to go, we can give you really informed and tailored advice to help you achieve your goals and secure your future. Get in touch with us today to find out more!