By Douglas Cameron, Divisional Director for Financial Planning, Brewin Dolphin Glasgow

IT’S tough being a Millennial. At least, that’s what you tend to read in the media. In May, for example, the Resolution Foundation made headlines for suggesting that everyone in Britain should receive £10,000 when they turn 25 to “help fix the inter-generational contract”.

Usually, these reports are followed by a volley of they’ve-never-had-it-so-good articles from incredulous commentators. In fact, recent research about the Bank of Mum and Dad suggests Millennials’ reliance on their parents for financial support is even beginning to make their elders “feel the pinch”.

There is some truth in both points of view. Millennials do have many things in their favour. Arguably, they are the most educated generation in history and have grown up in a digital era full of new opportunities.

That said, they’re also facing some unprecedented challenges – particularly on a financial front.

In 1991, two-thirds (67 per cent) of 25-34 year-olds were homeowners; but, by 2014-15, that had declined to 37 per cent. The Brewin Dolphin Family Wealth Report found that around 15 per cent of this age group felt that major life goals, such as home ownership, seem so unachievable it discouraged them from saving at all.

Many Millennials also start their working lives with a debt problem. Last year, student loan debt in the UK rose to more than £100 billion for the first time, according to the Student Loans Company. In a separate analysis, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said the average student would graduate with £50,800 of debt.

This, in part, explains why the share of total household wealth in the UK is rising for those over the age of 55. Data from the Office for National Statistics, analysed by the Centre for Economic and Business Research, showed that more than 60 per cent of total wealth rested with people aged 55 and above, compared to just over 10 per cent with 16-44 year-olds.

This may all sound like a counsel of despair, but steps can be taken to redress the balance. Wealth can, and should, be passed from generation to generation.

Typically, this tends to happen after a family member has passed away or a significant life event approaches – a wedding or house purchase, for example. However, this needs to change and, to do that, many people will need to overcome two rational and quite understandable fears.

First, the older generation worry if they pass their money on to their offspring they won’t have enough left for themselves. Second, and any parent would no doubt empathise, they are concerned their children will squander the money.

There are ways round both fears, of course. In the first instance, there are sophisticated cash flow monitoring techniques, which, using a variety of scenarios, can ensure people leave themselves with plenty of cash – even if they lived to well past 100 years old.

In the second, they don’t have to relinquish control of their money. If they pass wealth down in the form of a trust, they can attach strings – ranging from when it can be accessed, to what for. They could even contribute to their offspring’s pension pot, rather than handing over cash – albeit our research suggests only two per cent of over-55s would consider doing that.

What’s clear is that attitudes need to change – whether it’s attitudes towards other generations or money altogether. It’s well understood that the UK is in the grips of a savings crisis and, as things stand, that’s only likely to get worse. While the majority of wealth lies with the older generation, so too could the answer to that problem.