By James O'Brien
New research by LV= shows more than 550,000 retirees have been forced to part with valuable family items and heirlooms in the past five years because of money woes.
The total value of the sold items is around £729 million, with an average value of £1,309 per item.
The fact five per cent of pensioners have already cashed in on sentimental items shows the lengths they are going to as they look to live comfortably in retirement.
Fifteen per cent of people between the ages of 50 and 64 have already sold items, with each person receiving an average of £2,667.
More and more people look set to follow suit in the coming years. Almost three in five are seriously considering getting rid of family keepsakes, while 48 per cent of adults are likely to sell valuable items they expect to inherit in the future.
More than two in three items sold by pensioners in the past five years were family heirlooms, 57 per cent of which would have been passed down to the next generation if they had not been sacrificed.
LV= also found 44 per cent of retirees are not too worried about losing heirlooms that have been in their family for an average of 84 years, which highlights their desperation for extra money.
LV= head of pensions Ray Chinn said: "The research highlights one of the less conventional methods being used by people to help fund their retirements.
"Of course, we understand that as retirement approaches people may find they have inadequate provisions to support the lifestyle to which they've become accustomed, and selling off valuable items and family keepsakes can provide a short-term boost to a seemingly inadequate pension pot.
"But, it's a stopgap measure and not a viable, long-term solution to the problem."