New ‘mid-life crisis’ facing 40-somethings - financial problems and rising debt

PEOPLE in their 40s are being hit by a new kind of “mid-life crisis” - debt problems and an inability to pay their bills on time, research suggests.

And while many have established careers, 40-somethings are the least likely to have felt the benefits of the economic recovery, with over one third feeling worse off now than in 2013, according to Halifax.

People in their 40s, juggling expenses like the cost of raising a family and a mortgage, were also more likely to say they had run out of cash before payday in the last year.

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Those in their forties were also least likely to feel organised with their finances, the least likely to have money set aside and the least likely to always pay their bills on time.

Anthony Warrington, director of Halifax Current Accounts, said the improved economic outlook masked big variations in how different age groups are coping.

“While there has been an improvement in people’s finances overall, those in their 40s are most likely to still be feeling the squeeze.

“People in their 40s face a wide range of demands on their finances, often juggling the cost of supporting children, with paying a mortgage, and trying to save for their own future.

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“This research highlights that although the outlook looks brighter overall, the recovery is not evenly spread.”

A spokesman for Bradford-based debt counselling charity Christians Against Poverty, whose clients have an average age of 44, said: “One Monday in April we actually saw 70 per cent more calls than the corresponding Monday the previous year. I’m sure there are people experiencing economic recovery, but our clients have a very different viewpoint. The people who call us are regularly unable to feed their children, are worried about losing their homes and have been hanging on by their fingertips for a long time.”

Last year’s average annual income for CAP clients aged 40-64 was £13,000 yet average debts were almost £14,000. Business owners have noticed a ‘squeeze’ on the middle-aged.

A 48-year-old based in Huddersfield said: “While I see media reports of huge house price rises and enormous bonuses being paid again, it seems to be a recovery of two halves - regionally and age-related.

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“People in their 40s have huge drains on their incomes - children at home and perhaps unemployed - and the need to save for retirement. The last six years have witnessed the worst recession in a lifetime, and many middle-aged people have been affected by unemployment. This has meant accepting lower paid work and even living off savings. I question how many people feel the recovery has taken hold in the regions, rather than just London and the South East.”

Leeds-based Chris Graham, of homeless charity Emmaus, said men in their 40s made up the majority of those seeking help following crises such as redundancy, relationship breakdown and mental illness.