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Pensioner Poverty: UK Under-40s Experience Declining Wealth, Fueling Fears of Long-term Rise

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Campaigners Warn of Potential Increase in Pensioner Poverty in Britain


Campaigners have sounded the alarm about a potential increase in pensioner poverty in Britain over the coming decades after it emerged that the share of wealth held by people under 40 has fallen sharply amid a growing intergenerational divide.

Data from the International Longevity Centre (ILC)

  • In 2010-11, under-40s made up just over half of the population and between them held £7.53 of every £100 in wealth.
  • A decade later, it had plummeted to £3.98.
  • The proportion of under-40s fell from 50.6% to 49.5% over the same period.

Financial Challenges Faced by Under-40s

  • Under-40s are facing the biggest hit from rising mortgage rates.
  • Almost a third of 18- to 34-year-olds had stopped or cut back on their pension contributions in order to save money.

Factors Contributing to the Wealth Gap

  • Property ownership is the key driver for the gap, with under-40s more likely to be renting for longer or owning homes that have not gone up in value as much as larger properties.
  • The mean net property wealth in the under-40 group fell from £13,967 in 2010 to £11,450 in 2019.

Growing Threat of Pensioner Poverty

The older generations have seen their wealth grow, while younger generations are not saving enough to enjoy a decent lifestyle as they age. Future retirees won’t be able to rely on housing wealth and many will need to spend money on rent into retirement. This suggests a growing threat of pensioner poverty if current trends continue.

ILC’s Research and Support

The International Longevity Centre’s research into longevity is being backed by the insurer Aviva. Financial pressures are growing and affecting all generations, but the youngest workers are in a particularly vulnerable position when it comes to saving for their retirement. With lower overall wealth today than the equivalent generation had a decade ago, this is concerning.


It is crucial to address these challenges head-on and develop comprehensive strategies to ensure that every generation has the support they need to be financially secure right across their lives.

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