Over 50s should get married and stay married

Over 50s should get married and stay married

New international research has found that single over-50s were almost twice as likely to report financial dissatisfaction as those who were married.

The  World Values Survey, which looks at political and socio-cultural change in over 50 countries worldwide, also reported higher levels of dissatisfaction  with their finances in the over 50 age group, if they were divorced or separated, compared to those who were widowed.

The analysis also revealed that older people who are content with their financial situation are much more likely to be happy.

However, money did not buy happiness for the oldest old.

While the report found that people got more financially satisfied as they aged, they also became sadder, with the over 80s having twice the odds of reporting unhappiness than those aged 50-54.

David Hayes, Research Associate, Personal Finance Research Centre and author of the research, said:

“This snapshot of the relationship between happiness and financial satisfaction comes at a time when personal finances in the UK are under intense scrutiny. With increasing housing and fuel costs disproportionately affecting the over 50s, the realisation that Great Britain is not faring too badly in an international context may be of some reassurance to policymakers and politicians.”

From over 50 countries analysed, eight of the ten ‘happiest’ nations for over 50s also placed in the top ten for financial satisfaction. New Zealand and Sweden were the ‘cheeriest’ nations (97%), while the Swiss were the most satisfied with their finances (87%).

Former communist states dominated the bottom of both rankings, with Moldova coming out as the unhappiest nation (33%).  Great Britain sits at number 7 for financial satisfaction and number 10 for happiness among the over 50s.

Despite high levels of happiness (79%) and financial satisfaction (55%) among over 50s internationally, people who were single, divorced or separated were consistently less fulfilled on both counts.

Being unemployed or uneducated was also found to have a profound effect on older people’s happiness and financial satisfaction.

David Sinclair, Assistant Director, Policy and Communications at ILC-UK, commented:

“This research highlights that living together is good for us in old age. Yet in the UK and across many other countries we are witnessing a loneliness epidemic, as divorce and/or death or a partner results in too many people living without companionship.

“Older people in the UK must have greater access to a range of housing options to reduce the risk of them living alone with no support.”

Chris Roles, Director of Age International said:  “Simple measures to promote better financial security for all people as they age should be adopted by all governments.”