The mid-life money crisis: Turning 50 marks the most expensive stage of our lives
With children flying the nest and more free time than ever, those turning 50 would be forgiven for thinking they might be able to kick back and enjoy their golden years.
But according to a new study, the tough times are only just beginning.
A new study has found that those celebrating their half-century are about to enter the most expensive stage of their lives.
Experts calculated those in their 50s can still expect to be lumbered with hefty mortgage payments while also trying to support teenage children.
The cost of weddings, university fees, motoring costs, mobile phones and house deposits all pile on the financial pressure.
Costly: We become bigger spenders than ever in our 50s, thanks to children's university fees, weddings, motoring costs and holidays, a study has revealed
A typical 50-something needs to spend a total of 1,560 per month just to keep their heads above water, according to the study, by leading UK health and wellbeing mutual organisation Benenden Healthcare Society.
Yesterday Marc Bell, Marketing and Business Strategy Director said: 'Reaching 50 is traditionally supposed to be the start of a new lease on life as kids grow older and couples find more time to themselves.
'The stark reality will prove an eye-opener as 50-somethings realise the truth is not so rose-tinted.
'Debt rarely goes away as we get older and the rising costs of mortgages, motoring and raising children will paint a pessimistic outlook on life.
'On entering our 50s, more of us are paying for our children's education and taking on more of their day-to-day costs such as mobile phone bills and going out – indicating that we're letting our children become more financially dependent on us.
'We're also more like to provide financial help for our loved ones and family members – suggesting that whilst it's the most expensive time of life, it's also the time when we might be most giving and generous.'
Parents contribute to their children's mobile phone bills and spending money as well as running the home and car
The study quizzed 2,000 homeowning Brits and found hitting fifty coincided with an acceleration in spending.
Mortgage repayments prove to be the biggest outlay every month, averaging 354, while food shops cost on average another 292. Utility bills come in at 186.
Holidays average out 1,254 thanks to the extra cost of offspring travelling as adults rather than children.
A quarter find themselves paying towards their child's motoring costs such as insurance and tyres and one in six have even bought their offspring a car.
Three in ten are currently helping to
pay for their child's education and just under half pay for their
child's mobile phone contract – both adding another 189 to the monthly
Youngsters will also
spend another 100 of their money each month on their social lives and
receive 78 pocket money – making them the wealthiest children of any
age group of parents polled.
nearly four in ten (37 per cent) of over 50s have given their children a
lump sum within the last year – with one in ten helping to pay off
debts, and one in five paying towards a holiday or a deposit for a
Other costs include weddings, university fees, DIY jobs and extensions.
It also emerged the over-50s are twice as likely to provide financial help for their own or partner's parents – with 24 per cent giving out regular help compared to the other age groups.
But with such massive outlays one in ten over 50s ends the month in deficit and one in five struggle to support their immediate family.
The same number went as far as to say their family wouldn't cope should something happen to them.
Marc Bell added: 'Life is getting tougher for the over 50s. The increased costs places extras pressures on the wallet, but it can also put greater pressure on mental wellbeing and the strength of relationships.
'In the midst of this greater expense, we should not forget to prioritise our personal health. It is perhaps the time of life when maintaining good health is most vital – therefore ensuring a secure future for our family.
'Whilst being in your 50s can be the most expensive time of life, not having safeguards such as life cover could end up leaving loved ones to pick up the pieces and to try and deal with huge financial burdens.'