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Older parents are more likely to struggle with debt

Current statistics show that the average age for mothers in the UK is 29.7, with that of the father being a few years older, which is an increase over previous peer groups of quite a margin. Not only that, but in 2011 (the latest figures available) 31,643 babies were born to fathers over 45, including over 800 born to men over sixty. Mothers over 45 accounted for almost 2000 births in that year. These figures can be accounted for in several ways, including career ambitions and the fact that many people are in subsequent marriages when they have children. Although medical breakthroughs have made this less dangerous to the health of the mother and child, it is however having an impact on the amount of debt that people are carrying into old age.

Bigger mortgages for older people

A recent survey for Saga, carried out by Populus, shows that 16% of over fifties still have a mortgage. For those in a second marriage or long-term relationship this figure rises to more than 25%. This group are also more likely to have outstanding debt on loans and of course still have the burden of late-born children and the accompanying costs of university fees and other imponderables to contend with down the line, along with reduced earning power. The phrase adopted to describe those who have a second family later in life is ‘second-lifers’ and although it sounds quite optimistic and forward looking, in fact some of the hard facts are quite harsh.

Second-lifers are beginning to struggle

The Saga survey shows that all over fifties (whether second-lifers or not) have an average mortgage debt of £62,836, which is much less than if only second-lifers are considered, when the average mortgage stands at £73,881. As well as home loans, 12% of over 50s have outstanding loan debts and again the figure rises for the second-lifers by over a third to 16%. The average amassed debt is £13,652 to pay off, compared to £10,830 for the rest of the over 50s. With the children of second-lifers being just as likely as any others to be ‘boomerang children’, returning to live in the family home after further education, a situation of debt-ridden generations all struggling together under a roof that can hardly be kept above their heads is really rather worrying. Equity release could be the answer for some if they have enough equity in their home; outstanding mortgage balance must be less than the equity release possibility for this to be a way out, however.

Debt problems are often seen as something that younger people suffer from, but there is no age group that is immune. If you are struggling with debt and need some impartial advice, call Dissolve Debt, where our experienced and friendly advisers will be able to discuss with you your best path forward. You can call on 0800 0122 111 from a landline or 0161 926 7670, which is a cheaper number we provide for if you are calling from a mobile.

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