Feeling pessimistic at 50?

How do you feel about the UK economy? What’re your views on the property market? Does thinking about your finances fill you with joy or dread?

If you’re in your 50s, our research suggests that you’re more likely to feel pessimistic than optimistic about the future. But why is that?

Our research

We asked 4,000 UK adults of all ages for their views on the economy, their personal finances and their feelings about property. What we discovered was that Brits in their 50s are more pessimistic in their outlook than any other age group. But what’s causing that pessimism?

Our research revealed that what feeds this negativity is a combination of big picture concerns and anxiety about more personal issues.

The bigger picture

When we asked people about the UK economy and property market, just over half (54%) aged between 50 and 59 said that they believe the UK economy will get worse. Alongside this, nearly half (46%) believe the property market will decline.

Almost four in ten (38%) people in their 50s said the unfairness of the property market is a concern for them. They are the age group that believes most strongly the younger generation will find it hardest to get on the property ladder. Four in five (81%) people in their 50s took this view, compared to 72% of 20 to 29-year olds.

 The current economic and political uncertainty also worries people in their 50s – with two thirds (63%) saying they were concerned about the impact of Brexit on their financial situation and almost one third (29%) claiming to be uneasy about the current political situation.

Personal finances

When it comes to their personal finances their outlook doesn’t improve much. One in four people in their 50s said they believe their own financial situation would deteriorate in the next 12 months, making them the most pessimistic age group.
More than half (52%) said that they feel anxious about not having enough money to retire on and nearly half (45%) were worried about not having enough money to do what they want. Additionally, one in five (21%) were concerned that they will not be able to financially support their children or grandchildren if needed.

This sense of anxiety stretches into the future – almost half (47%) of this group told us they feel unprepared financially. Interestingly, this varies between those who own their home and those who rent – with 60% of UK renters feeling unprepared compared to 31% of homeowners.

Easing your worries 

Group communications director at Just, Stephen Lowe, commented: “The concern that looms largest for this age group is being worried about whether they will have enough financial resources to retire on. Even though retirement may be some way off, those people in their 50s are aware it’s getting closer and they have limited time to prepare. Those who own a property feel less anxious about this than those who rent but it’s not plain sailing for anyone.

“Your 50s is a good time to take stock financially – consider it part of a mid-life MOT. There are lots of resources available, from meeting a regulated financial adviser and using the Government’s free and impartial guidance service Pension Wise. Knowing you’ve got a plan for your longer-term future will ease some of the day to day worries.”

My Home My Future is our brand new campaign on how the UK thinks and feels about property. Learn more and discover real stories from real people today.