As today's younger generations face a range of challenges in their financial lives, grandparents can play a vital role in helping their family members reach their goals and milestones.
When you reach a certain point in your life and career - having hopefully achieved your own financial goals, whether it's buying your home or accruing a pension that will support you in retirement - your thoughts might turn to how you can continue to support your family and help them achieve their own ambitions.
If you're a grandparent, there are few things more rewarding than being able to help your grandchildren on their way to a positive financial future. The sense of fulfilment that comes from helping others is something you probably already know well from your time working in the Police service.
What's more, today's children and young adults face a number of potential obstacles that the preceding generations didn't, so a bit of support from their grandparents could prove invaluable.
Helping the grandkids on their way
Probably the clearest example of how today's younger generations face an uphill battle to achieve their financial goals is when they want to buy their first home.
Barclays research showed that the average income required for a solo first-time buyer to purchase a property in 2021 was £50,800, up from £50,300 in 2020 and £45,900 in 2019. That's nearly £20,000 more than the median full-time UK salary in 2020.
Anyone looking to buy in the London area will face even bigger financial barriers. Figures compiled by MyLondon, based on average house price data from Rightmove, showed that even in the most affordable Greater London borough of Barking and Dagenham, first-time buyers typically need an income of £76,231 to secure a mortgage and get on the property ladder.
The average income required to buy a first home was found to be at least £100,000 in 29 of the 33 boroughs surveyed.
For many young people, however, getting on the property ladder will seem like a distant dream, and they'll have more immediate goals on their minds.
Learning to drive, buying their first car, attending university or going travelling might top your grandkids' list of priorities. These things all cost money too, of course.
Universities in England can charge up to £9,250 a year in tuition fees for undergraduate degrees, and that doesn't include accommodation and other general living costs. And according to the RAC, the total cost of learning to drive and buying a first car - including everything from lessons to tax and insurance - is more than £6,000, on average.
Any contribution you can make to covering these costs could help your loved ones achieve some of the most exciting milestones in their lives.
Financial support for the younger generation
There are various ways you can help and support your grandchildren as they look ahead to the goals they want to achieve and experiences they want to have in life.
You can make monthly contributions of £25 into a Children’s Savings Plan, fixed for ten years, and the money can be left to grow with the child allowed access from the age of 18.
The Junior ISA offers a more flexible option, starting from £30 per month. Flexible means you can stop and restart contributions, change the amount you’re contributing and top up the ISA at any time should you wish. Again, the funds are accessible from age 18 and can be left to grow.
A child can hold both products. The limit for the Children's Savings Plan is £25 per month and the current Junior ISA allowance is £9,000 for the current tax year.
Having more involvement in your grandchildren's financial lives could give you the opportunity to offer some guidance on how they can invest their money in adulthood, possibly by opening a Lifetime ISA - where they could get up to £1,000 per year in free money from the Government - or investing their lump sum.
If you have grandchildren over the age of 18 and you would like to help them save for a first home, by all means pass on some advice on how a Lifetime ISA could help. You wouldn't be able to pay into it personally, but you can gift a sum of money for them to pay in.
One of the biggest benefits to be gained from all this is a sense of involvement in your grandchildren's financial lives, and the fulfilment that you'll get from helping them on their way to achieving some major life goals.
While legal restrictions mean you can't access the details of a policy that is in another person's name, you can get updates on how much you have personally contributed.
At Metfriendly, we aim to provide the sort of personalised service that will help you feel in the loop and informed about the financial help you've given to those closest to you.
If you'd like to speak to us about our Children's Savings Plans, Junior ISA or any other product, enter your details here and we'll arrange for someone to call you back at a convenient time.
Alternatively, if you'd like to talk to us in more detail about your financial circumstances, you can book a one-to-one consultation.
 Please note, if funds are withdrawn from a Lifetime ISA for anything other than a qualifying house purchase (or before the age of 60, if saving towards retirement) significant government penalties apply, and you may get back less than you put in.