Feeling the pinch, the less than fab 50s


The over-50s are being crippled by a triple whammy of unemployment, high inflation and dire savings rates, a damning report has revealed.

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Less happy: The over-50s have seen their income shrink.

Nearly 30% said their standard of living has got worse over the past year, and millions are planning to make personal cutbacks over the next 12 months because they are feeling under financial pressure.

And amid widespread worries about their chances of enjoying a decent retirement, one in four said they are 'less happy' than last year.

The results fly in the face of other surveys in which fifty-somethings claim to be enjoying everything from more leisure to improved love lives as children grow up and family responsibilities recede.

The latest report, from Saga, the specialist firm for the over-50s, gives a grim snapshot of the anxieties faced by Britain's older population. Its findings were based on a major poll questioning 13,000 over-50s about their lives and livelihoods.

Saga director general Dr Ros Altmann said the findings were 'bleak'. There are currently about 21.1m Britons aged 50 and over. Dr Altmann said this age group is 'increasingly worried' about the rising cost of living, with inflation currently at 3.7%.

Official figures are today expected to show it has risen even higher.

But the actual inflation rate for older people is even higher than the national average, because they are hit harder by the soaring cost of items such as food and utility bills.

This, and paltry income from savings, are far bigger worries for the over-50s than they were last year, according to the study.

It found many are planning to cut back on spending this year compared with last year, with 44% saying they will go to fewer restaurants, and 26% on fewer holidays.

One of the biggest problems for this age group is unemployment. Since the start of the recession joblessness has rocketed by 69% among those aged 50 to 64 - a larger jump than for any other age group.

But what makes unemployment among older people even more devastating than for the younger age groups is that once they lose their job, they are far less likely to ever find another one again, Saga said.

At present, more than 40% of unemployed people aged 50 and over have been unable to find a job for the past 12 months or more.

Charles Davis, senior economist at the Centre for Economic and Business Research, said: 'Nearly half of the voters in the UK are aged over 50. This research shows that they are clearly suffering from the current economic conditions.'

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