The average 40 something enjoys retro-classics Star Wars and Grease, earns around £25,000 a year and wishes they’d saved, travelled and exercised more, a new study has found.
A survey of 2000 Brits aged 40 to 49 found that the milestone is characterised by two distinct groups – those living a traditional family lifestyle and the ‘young at heart’ singletons.
The Nationwide Savings poll looks at a number of different aspects, ranging from wealth, health and life decisions to missed opportunities and favourite pastimes, films and music.
The research reveals the average 40-year-old prefers to spend a night in front of the telly than down the pub, likes to escape on holiday once a year and enjoys two family outings a month. But despite a modest social life, three in ten (30 per cent) worry about how they look.
Just over half of 40 somethings are married or in a civil partnership and have been with their partner for 12 years on average. However, one in seven is single and/or lives alone.
Some 70 per cent of those in their fourth decade have teenage kids, while 64 per cent have pets.
When it comes to regrets, more than a third (36 per cent) wish they’d travelled more, while four in ten (42 per cent) wish they’d put away more money and over a quarter (27 per cent) wish they had kept themselves in better shape. The findings also show that 16 per cent wish they had better qualifications and more than one in ten (13 per cent) thought they’d own their own home by now.
And it seems people in their forties have plenty to worry about too, particularly when it comes to their finances.
According to the poll, they earn an average of £24,638 a year (men getting £28,460 on average, compared to £21,629 for women) and although 43 per cent fear their pension won’t be enough when they retire, nearly a third (30 per cent) worry about being able to support their children, and one in five are concerned about looking after parents or grandparents (21 per cent).
Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, Nationwide’s head of Savings Policy, said: “Given our 40s are when we statistically reach middle age it is perhaps unsurprising that this transition from youth to maturity finds many with a foot firmly in both camps.
“At a time when we could be considered in our prime, our research suggests that some Brits are finding their 40s quite tough. Their message to the younger generations would be to spend more time looking after your finances and your fitness – avoid that squeezed middle in both senses!”