One in five parents with adult children have used cash originally intended for their pension to help their offspring, a survey has found.

Some 19 per cent of those surveyed for Prudential had taken money out of their pension fund or sacrificed saving for their retirement to help their children financially.

A further 19 per cent have also made cutbacks to their lifestyles so that their cash could go to their children.

Nearly three-fifths (59 per cent) of those who have lent money to their offspring have later decided to write off some or all of the debt - with a generous third (34 per cent) having written off the whole lot.

Three-quarters (75 per cent) of parents who have loaned money did not impose any conditions or specific repayment terms on their loans, despite 77 per cent initially expecting to be repaid in full.

Kirsty Anderson, a retirement income expert at Prudential, said: “Whether it’s helping with a deposit to buy or rent a house, or clearing student debt, the Bank Of Mum And Dad plays a vital role in the finances of younger people.

“However, it is important that parents remember to consider their own futures when deciding on making loans to their families.

“For example, money taken now from savings and investments intended to provide for retirement could make a real dent in your income when the time comes to give up work.

“And this may be especially true if you eventually have to write off all or some of the loan.”

Prudential’s research also found those parents who expect to be eventually repaid are giving their children a generous amount of time to pay off their loans.

Nearly a third (31 per cent) expect the repayments to take up to three years.

And one in six (16 per cent ) expect to wait between three and 10 years before the money is back in their accounts.

More than 1,000 parents with children who were aged over 16 years old were surveyed as part of the study.