Grandparents’ Giving Is Gift To Economy

Mary Hopp has firm beliefs about her role as a gift-giver to her seven grandchildren. Every Christmas, the grandchildren — ranging in age from 5 to 16 — receive books.

“I don’t think I should be looked at as a bank,” said Hopp, 68, who lives in El Dorado Hills.

According to The Sacramento Bee, her contributions to the so-called “grandparent economy” are carefully considered yet generous — a prime example of how America’s 70 million grandparents divvied up the $52 billion they spent on their grandkids in 2009, according to a study that was commissioned by

With that kind of spending power, even in the depths of the recession, grandparents are clearly a key force driving the economy.

As AARP California’s Christina Clem said: “Grandparents consistently put their children and grandchildren before themselves.”

They not only buy gifts. They also contribute almost $17 billion a year to the grandkids’ education, in the form of tuition, college savings plans, after-school programs, textbooks and supplies.

They spend $10 billion buying clothes for the grandkids — and almost $6 billion more on toys.

And because being with the grandkids tops many grandparents’ agenda, they pay billions more for travel, either with the grandkids or for grandkids to fly out to see them.

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