While some may worry about how they'll be able to afford things in later life, it seems that much of this anxiety could be misplaced. Indeed, research from Aviva shows that the over-55s are actually spending more on non-essential items than they have done in years!
The figures, from the latest Real Retirement Report, shows that the over-55s are greatly benefiting from falling inflation and the subsequent reduction in cost of living pressures, with non-essential spending rising and unsecured debt falling. In fact, the typical (median) monthly income for over-55s has increased by 5% in the past year alone, up from £1,317 at this point last year to £1,378 today. Looking further back highlights an even bigger improvement, with typical incomes rising by 26% compared with late 2011, when it stood at just £1,091.
Using the same end-of-2011 comparison, the figures went on to reveal that over-55s are spending 47% more on entertainment and holidays per month, 42% more on eating out or takeaways, and 26% more on clothing and footwear. However, they're not sacrificing their savings habits in the process, and have actually increased the amount they're able to save: the typical over-55 year-old now saves an average of £206 per month, an increase of 67% from the end of 2011 (£123), and they've even boosted their monthly savings tally by £10 in the past year.
Of course, things like food, housing costs and fuel still take up the bulk of monthly expenditure, but the fact that they're able to spend more on life's little luxuries than they have done in years is certainly something to be celebrated. Furthermore, levels of unsecured debt have fallen dramatically in the last four years – mortgage debt has also fallen over the long term, despite rising in the last year – which should mean that this age group has even more to spend on themselves with less worry about credit card and loan repayments.
This level of financial positivity is mirrored in terms of attitudes towards later life, with research from The Co-operative finding that life really does get better with age, as the stresses of the "sandwich generation" begin to ease. In fact, it's by the age of 61 – when the juggling act of supporting children and grandchildren, caring for elderly relatives and working full-time has eased for many – that people begin to feel at their happiest.
In fact, just 5% of adults over the age of 61 say that they're unhappy (compared with 15% of those in their 50s) while 80% of those in their 60s describe themselves as happy, with much of it arguably being down to having more time to visit friends, pursue hobbies and fulfil personal goals, as well as having fewer financial pressures to worry about.
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