17 August 2016

What’s life like for the average UK 40-something?

Is 40-something the new 30-something? As society changes, people are living longer, a trend that moves the 40s closer to the middle of the average person’s life.

In 2015, there were more people in the 45–49 year-old age group than any other, according to the Office for National Statistics, with over 3.8 million people in this age bracket. There are 3.5 million people aged 40–45 too, making the 40-somethings a major part of society.

So what is life like for the average 40-year-old? We asked 2,000 UK adults aged between 40 and 49 to tell us about their lifestyles, personal finances and day-to-day habits, to help build a picture of the typical UK 40-something.

Traditional family vs young-at-heart singletons

The poll highlighted that people in their 40s tend to fall into 2 distinct groups – those leading a traditional family lifestyle and the ‘young-at-heart singletons’. However, it is clear that regardless of whether they are married with kids or living the single life, many people in their 40s share the same spending habits and money worries.

Some 42% wish they’d put away more money while a similar number worry that their pension won’t be enough when they retire, and nearly a third (30%) worry about being able to support their children.

When it comes to splashing their cash, most 40-somethings spend the biggest chunk on bills, but there’s still an appetite for more ‘fun’ purchases – others said they spent most of their money on clothes (46%), holidays (41%) and Christmas (42%).

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!”

You can see more of our findings about 40-somethings lifestyles in the below infographic.

average 40 something inforgraphic

The typical 40-something

Relationship status: Married
Income: £24,638
Car: Ford Focus
Hobbies and interests: pub, exercise, TV, films, days out with the family
Pets: Dog

Thinking about your future finances?

Why not take a look at our range of savings accounts?

The content displayed on our recent news and articles page is for information purposes only, and is accurate at the time of publication. The information will not be maintained, and so we cannot guarantee that at any given time the information will be up to date or complete. Please verify any information you take before relying on it.

Nationwide is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites. Nationwide does not make any recommendation or endorse any advertising, products, services or other content on such external websites. Views expressed on third party websites are those of the public and unless specifically stated, are not those of Nationwide.

Most popular

You may also be interested in...

Our helpful guides

We've created a range of helpful guides to help you make better financial decisions regardless of your circumstances. Find out more about owning property, growing wealth and planning for life events.

Our products

Whether you are after a current account, a savings account or even looking for a mortgage, Nationwide has a range of great products that could help you, no matter the situation.