Legacy Planning: How grandparents pass along knowledge

MetLife study reveals how grandparents can impart wisdom and experience to their grandchildren

(New York, NY – September 13, 2012) –  There are 70 million grandparents in the U.S., more than ever before. According to the recent study Grandparents Investing in Grandchildren: The MetLife Study on How Grandparents Share Their Time, Values, and Money, which found that, increasingly, grandparents are a vital source of financial support for American families, they’re also in the enviable position of being sought after for wisdom and   advice, even from teenagers.

How can grandparents make the best of their relationships with their grandchildren and have the most impact possible? Based on its study, the MetLife Mature Market Institute is offering a tip sheet, Grandparents Investing in Grandchildren: Actions Speak Louder Than Words, produced with Generations United. The guide provides grandparents with advice on how they can be influential in a positive way on topics including values, beliefs, civic engagement, heritage and even cooking. It reports that they can also be an important influence on finances through both words and example.

“Grandparents continue to be a positive influence on their grandchildren. Even though some are long distance and families seem to have less leisure time than in the past, it’s more critical than ever for grandparents to pass on life lessons, family history and positive values, through strong relationships with their grandchildren,” said Sandra Timmermann, Ed.D., director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute.

“This guide has important information to help make it easier for grandparents to facilitate interaction, finding common ground and mutual interest between their grandchildren and themselves,” said Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United. “From how to initiate meaningful conversation, to creating memories and even how to be generous without sacrificing one’s own financial security, we have many ideas on how to make the best of these special relationships.”

According to the MetLife tip sheet, grandparents should consider the following:
1.    Share values and beliefs. Areas that resonate the most with grandchildren are honesty and good behavior, education, family history, self-sufficiency and good health habits. Grandparents are also successful at teaching their grandchildren the importance of community involvement through philanthropy, volunteerism and voting.
2.    Celebrate family. The guide suggests taking the time to create family history through an audio-visual message, a family tree, photos and/or by preparing meals together, which creates the perfect setting for conversations about family recipes and those from whom they originated.
3.    Invest in your grandchildren’s financial security. Increasingly, grandparents are helping to support their grandchildren, especially through assistance with tuition. Grandparents can be particularly helpful by also helping grandchildren to acquire financial literacy skills. They help foster early saving habits, encourage smart spending and making investments.
The tip sheet, Grandparents Investing in Grandchildren: Actions Speak Louder Than Words contains a list of resources for grandparents. Among them are Family Volunteering (www.thevolunteerfamily.org), Intergenerational Learning Activities, part of Generations United (www.gu.org/RESOURCES/LearningActivities.aspx) and Legacy Project (www.legacyproject.org).

Grandparents continue to be a positive influence on their grandchildren. Even though some are long distance and families seem to have less leisure time than in the past

The MetLife Mature Market Institute’s research on grandparents in the U.S., which includes a number of studies, can be found on the Institute’s Web site.

Generations United
Formed in 1986, Generations United is the national membership organization focused solely on improving the lives of children, youth, and older people through intergenerational strategies, programs, and public policies. Generations United serves as a resource for educating policymakers and the public about the economic, social, and personal imperatives of intergenerational cooperation. For more information, visit www.gu.org.

The MetLife Mature Market Institute®
Celebrating its 15-year anniversary in 2012, the MetLife Mature Market Institute is Metropolitan Life Insurance Company’s (MetLife) center of expertise in aging, longevity and the generations and is a recognized thought leader by business, the media, opinion leaders and the public. The Institute’s groundbreaking research, insights, strategic partnerships and consumer education expand the knowledge and choices for those in, approaching or working with the mature market.

The Institute supports MetLife’s long-standing commitment to identifying emerging issues and innovative solutions for the challenges of life. MetLife, Inc. is a leading global provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs, serving 90 million customers. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, please visit: www.MatureMarketInstitute.com.