Older generations are only cautiously spending their wealth and on average will go through less than a third of it between the ages of 70 and 90, according to a study by a leading economic think-tank.
The report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) suggests that most of the money will be bequeathed to younger generations rather than being blown during retirement.
One expert said the findings allayed concerns about older people using new pension freedoms for lavish spending.
The IFS report summarised a series of studies, finding that those aged 55-64 had accumulated average housing wealth of £185,000 and savings – excluding pensions – of £33,000.
It found that on average, individuals draw down just 31% of this between the ages of 70 and 90. Among those in the wealthier half, this rose to 39%.
However, the pattern may change in the future as future retirees are likely to have lower pensions to live on than current pensioners, meaning they will have to draw larger sums from housing wealth.
Image: The IFS says the pattern could change in the future
The study said the findings also had implications for inequality as wealth is passed down to current working-age people by rich parents.
Rowena Crawford, associate director at IFS and author of the set of reports, said: “Older people do not draw on their wealth much during retirement.
“The majority of homeowners do not move or access their housing wealth, and even financial wealth is drawn down only slowly.
“This means that most wealth held by retired people is likely to be bequeathed to future generations, rather than spent.
“This will have implications for the level and distribution of resources among current working-age individuals, particularly those with wealthy parents and few siblings.”
Former pensions minister Sir Steve Webb, now director of policy at Royal London, said: “This report confirms that the vast majority of pensioners who have saved through their working life are cautious with their money and leave unspent wealth at the end of their lives.
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“This is great news for those who believe in pension freedoms.
“The IFS research suggests that the biggest concern about pension freedoms is likely to be about excessively cautious retirees spending too slowly than it is about reckless retirees blowing their pension savings on lavish living.”