| People in their early thirties have biggest debts and are most likely to miss repayments
People in their early 30s have the highest borrowing of any age group and they also have a tendency to miss repayments, according to Alliance & Leicester’s latest Borrowing Monitor research.
The so-called Friends generation (named after the popular TV series) have the highest borrowing including mortgages of any age group – and spend the highest proportion of their income paying interest. They have the highest mortgage exposure and their average unsecured debts total £5,863 - 29% above the national average.
Two thirds (66%) live with a partner and 63% are homeowners, both well above the under 30s.
Not only is their debt level the highest, but they are also amongst the most likely to skip when it comes to repayments. They are the group most likely to only make the minimum credit card repayment, and the least likely to pay in full. They are amongst the highest regular users of overdrafts and the age group most likely to have a personal loan, but also amongst the most likely to miss their monthly loan repayments.
Contrary to the stereotype, the ‘Club 18-30’ generation are less likely to have consumer debts of any kind than their older counterparts, and when they do, they have lower balances than most older groups. Many of them, however, also have student loans, which account for 47% of their overall borrowings, by far the largest type of debt they have.
“The early 30s are a transitional age where careers are taking off and before family responsibilities kick in," said Chris Rhodes, Director of retail banking at Alliance & Leicester. "Many are buying their first homes at this point, but are also enjoying rapidly rising salaries and are keen to enjoy life to the full. Some, particularly those not trying to get on the housing ladder, may find themselves in financial difficulty as a result living beyond their means.“
Apart from age, homeownership makes the biggest difference to people’s attitude to borrowing. Settling down as a couple also tends to lead to a more responsible attitude.
Although 45-54 year olds have slightly higher unsecured borrowing than the 30-34s, they are also more likely to be homeowners – and almost four times as many own their homes outright (17%), meaning that they have no monthly rent or mortgage to pay.
The over 55s exhibit by far the most responsible attitude to borrowing. They are the least likely to have borrowings and the most likely to have savings.
Furthermore, the finances of older groups tend to improve rapidly. The trend to outright homeownership and higher savings rises very rapidly from the age of 50. By the age of 60, half of households own their home without any mortgage left outstanding. Those who still have mortgages by this time, typically owe less than £50,000.
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