Peter Pan Britons to end up living in the never Neverland

Article date: 5 November 2004

Millions of Britons are cocooning themselves into thinking theyare younger than they are… and they may pay a hefty price fordoing so, new research released today shows.

Identified as the "Peter Pan Complex" - people across all agegroups admit they feel and act up to 25 years younger than theirreal age.

The poll of 2,500 people - conducted for Norwich Union - revealsthat 40% of pensioners feel like they’re in their mid fortieswhile more than a third of people nudging 30 reckon they feel amere 21. On average Britons say they feel 10 years younger thantheir real age.

But this carefree attitude to life is fuelling a serious problem– more than three quarters admit they are totally unpreparedfor their financial future.

The research finds that a third of people are losing sleep overhow they’ll make ends meet in the future because they put offsensible spending in favour of a "live for today" attitude. Fourout of five people admit they should have done something earlier tomake their financial future secure.

Psychologist Dr David Lewis, author of Life Unlimited: PeakPerformance Past Forty said the results indicated a worrying trendfor the future; "We are living longer and feeling younger which isgreat for the nation’s overall mental health and wellbeing -but this could lead to a rude awakening once retirement beckons.The flipside of feeling younger than we are is that we can oftenneglect our responsibilities and actively put off thinking aboutthings like saving for the future."

"Youthful exuberance is great but the research shows it ismasking the financial facts of life for a lot of people who thinkthey have years and years to sort out their future security - whenin effect they should be doing it now."

Daren Carter, director of brand and promotions for NorwichUnion, said: "The Peter Pan Complex is a very real phenomenon andone many people can identify with. Our latest advertising campaignis trying to say to people that you can’t live in‘Neverland’ forever – and while financialdecisions seem very ‘grown up’, they do need to betaken seriously."

The Norwich Union research also revealed the young at heartheroes of the Peter Pan generation. Madonna tops the poll with SirCliff Richard and Lulu taking second and third place of thosedeemed to be forever young.

But judged older than their years were Prime Minister TonyBlair, Prince William and Gwyneth Paltrow.


Media contacts:
Charlotte Speedy or Matt Buchanan at QBO Bell Pottinger on 020 78612424
Norwich Union Press Office on 01904 452791

Notes to editors:

  • Norwich Union Insurance commissioned research house 72 pointto conduct a survey amongst 2,500 adults in October 2004.

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