Over 50s caught between their dreams and their debt

Monday 22 November 2010

Over 50s caught between their dreams and their debt

More than two in five people over the age of 50 (44%) have yet to fulfil a single one of their lifelong dreams, with financial constraints the main cause of frustrated ambition according to research from Saga Personal Finance.

Saga’s poll of more than 13,000 people over 50 shows that people need to start planning their retirement finances earlier in life if they want to fulfil their dreams. The Government’s plans for a radical overhaul of the state pension has once again put the spotlight on retirement finance.

The Saga poll asked over 50s about their lifelong dreams, whether they had fulfilled them and also if they were in debt. Just 14% of people said they had fulfilled all of their dreams, while 44% have not achieved a single lifelong ambition.

Almost half (47%) of those questioned say their lifelong dream is to provide significant financial assistance to their children or grandchildren and a further 53% dream of being financially self-reliant. One in four (24%) dream of being debt-free, while one in five (22%) want to go on a dream holiday.

Some dreams appear to more attainable than others;

  • 93% are still waiting to make their dream house purchase
  • 89% have never managed to live abroad
  • 42% however have managed to go on their dream holiday

Reasons why 86% of people say they have not achieved their dreams;

  • 10% say this is down to ill health
  • 56% say it’s because they don’t have enough savings
  • 30% blame pension shortfalls
  • 36% say that their investments are not giving them the returns they need

Debt struggles for the over 50s

When it comes to the amount of debt this age group is in, the Saga report revealed that 39 per cent are still paying off debt. Mortgage (20%) and credit cards (18%) are the most significant drains on their resources.

More than one in ten people in their 50s (12%) rely on their overdraft and a similar number (8%) are servicing hire purchase or finance agreements.

In comparison, 77 per cent of over 75s questioned said they were debt free, with just one in ten (13%) owing money on a credit card and seven per cent yet to pay off their mortgage.

Dr Ros Altmann, Saga’s director-general commented: “People in their 50s are caught between their dreams and their debt; many have yet to fulfil their own lifelong ambitions but may well be having to put their wishes on hold as they juggle a range of demands. We know many of our customers are supporting university age children or helping older children get on to the housing ladder. In addition, they may be responsible for paying for an elderly parent’s care.”

Saga Personal Finance provides a range of financial solutions to help people make the most of their money in retirement. This includes best buy annuity products and Savings accounts, a Which? recommended credit card and an innovative equity release plan charging no upfront fees.


Editorial Notes:

Results compiled from two waves of the Saga Populus Panel survey. Conducted between 5th and 13th August and 15th – 22nd October 2010. Average response rate was 13,193 people.

For more information please contact the Saga Press Office on 01303 771529.

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