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One third of over-60s not spending money due to cost of living and fears for the future

Nick Cheek
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Nick Cheek

As prices have continued to rise alongside looming fears over their financial futures or payment for healthcare, one third of those over 60 years old has stopped spending money for today, a think tank survey has found.

A new report entitled Money Well Spent published by think tank the International Longevity Centre (ILC),  pointed to an increasing trend that many of the over-60s are reluctant to pay out on goods and services.

The report identified where the Government, in partnership with the financial services, regulators and business can make progress to alleviate some of the problems that are being faced by this age group.

Recommendations include better access to financial guidance and advice, as well as ensuring that the right financial products are available to support consumption in later life.

Nearly three quarters not spending how they would like

Overall 72% of those asked in the survey who are aged 60 and over, felt that they are not spending their money and time in the way in which they would wish. This has proven to be a major barrier to taking part in social and leisure activities and buying certain products. As a result it was also found that there are often not enough people with whom that demographic can socialise.

Only half of those surveyed felt they shopped online as much as they wanted. In part this was due to the lack of human interaction, but also there were major concerns about online scams and a perceived high possibility of fraud.

Dr Vivien Burrows, a  senior research fellow at the ILC and report author commented: “Older consumers are an important part of our economy. By 2040, 63p in every pound in this country will be spent by someone aged 50 and over. But older consumers still often underspend, and the biggest reason is a concern about running out of money. When we don’t know how long we are going to live for, whether we, or our loved ones, might need to pay for care, and how far our money will take us in the future, it’s unsurprising that a lot of us are underspending.

“Having the right financial products can play a part in helping us spend in the way we would like to, but it’s also important to ensure that everyone has access to affordable and accessible financial advice. We also need to remove some of the practical barriers people face when they want to spend, like poor accessibility of our high streets and transport systems.”

Colum Lowe, the director of the Design Age Institute who collaborated on the report, noted: “The Design Age Institute strongly supports the importance of considered spending through the life course. By prioritising investments that enhance our quality of life, health, and wellbeing, we can amplify joy as we age.

“This research provides invaluable insights and recommendations that inspire us to invest in our own wellbeing, dedicating time, energy and resources to lead fulfilling and vibrant lives. However, collaboration between industry and Government is crucial to provide the goods, services and facilities that empower us to remain independent, confident and capable consumers.”