A third of people receive an inheritance despite more than half of parents saying they plan to leave one, according to HSBC.
A report, based on a survey of 2,001 retirees and working people aged 25 or over, said 58% of UK workers planned to pass on wealth to their children after death, but only 33% of offspring had actually received any.
According to The Future of Retirement Choices for later life half of retirees are providing regular financial support to their family and friends, with 19% supporting their grown-up children, and 9% giving money to their grandchildren.
The report also found one in five (22%) retirees worried about not being able to support their family and friends, and 18% worried about being reliant on them for financial support.
It further reported 53% of retirees have been unable to realise at least one of their hopes and dreams since retiring, such as writing a book or learning a foreign language.
Caroline Connellan, head of wealth at HSBC UK, said: "This report shows that withdrawals from the bank of mum and dad may actually be affecting the standard of living of many retirees. New pension freedoms have made savings more accessible, but people should carefully consider the right balance between helping their family and making sure they have sufficient income through retirement."
When considering whether to spend all their money or pass on their wealth to the next generation, two thirds (69%) of working-age people would spend some of their money and save some to pass their wealth on to the next generation.
A quarter (26%) felt they should spend all their money and let their children create their own wealth while a minority (5%) would save as much as possible to pass their wealth on to the next generation.
Connellan said working-age people "shouldn't pin their hopes" on funding retirement with an inheritance, adding: "It's more important than ever that people of all ages make plans about how they'll fund their retirement, so they can live the lifestyle they want to."
HSBC's UK report is part of its global research into retirement involving 16,000 people across 15 countries.