Aviva identifies 'the forever generation'

Article date: 8 June 2009

  • Today’s youngsters could be trapped into a "work to live" cycle into their twilight years

Today’s children could become what Aviva has dubbed "the forever generation". They are the generation who will be retiring later, paying their mortgage for longer and having children live with them well into their twilight years

Lifestyle changes mean that people are now taking up to seven years longer to reach various milestones - leaving home, marrying, buying a house and starting a family - than they did 30 years ago. Aviva is therefore warning that people need to start planning for their retirement sooner rather than later.

Forever mortgages - The average first-time buyer is 34 years old.  If current trends continue, by 2039 the average first-time buyer would be 41 years old. With an increasing number of providers currently offering 40 year mortgages(1), paying off a mortgage at 80 years of age could become a common phenomenon.

Later retirement - The average age of retirement is steadily creeping upwards. Although average retirement is just over 64 years for men and nearly 62 years for women(2), changes in state pension allowance will mean that by 2046 state pension age will rise to 68 for both men and women, forcing people to work for longer before they are able to draw a state pension.

Offspring staying at home - With the average age of a first-time buyer increasing, there is a steady increase in the number of offspring choosing to live at home later in life. More than a quarter (29%) of young men (aged 20-34) are living with their parents, a figure that has grown by 300,000 people since 2001(3)

Darren Dicks, head of annuity propositions for Aviva UK Life, said: “There is a risk that without forward planning, today’s young adults could end up in a work-to-live cycle for what feels like ‘forever’. Without suitable pension provision and a means to pay off their mortgage before retirement, people could find themselves having to work for much longer than they do now.

“And if people have children in their 40s who then live with them into their 30s – a trend which is currently growing(3) – people could be supporting their ‘children’ well into what has traditionally been a time to retire and relax.

“On a more positive note, life expectancy is also increasing steadily, rising from 82.8 and 86.8 respectively for men and women born 30 years ago, to 88.5 and 91.8 for people born now(4). So even though people are working longer, they are also living longer in retirement. This underlines the importance of planning ahead and preparing for a long life.”

Aviva has also unearthed the following "forever generation" statistics:

  • The number of women having children over the age of 40 has increased by more than four times in the last 30 years, from 6,000 per year to 25,400 now.(4)
  • Babies born in 2039 are predicted to have a life expectancy of 92.3 years (males) and 95.1(females)(5)


Press office contact: 

Sarah Poulter
Telephone: 01904 45 2828 / 07800 691569 
E-mail: sarah.poulter@aviva.co.uk

Notes to editors:

Details of the changing ages of milestone events are listed below:


Average age 30 years ago

Average age now

Shift in yrs compared to 30 years ago

Expected age in 30 years time

First marriage (men)(6)

25.1 years

31.9 years

6.8 years

38.7 years

First marriage (women)(6)

22.8 years

29.8 years

7 years

36.8 years

Birth of first child (women)(6)

26.6 years

29.3 years

2.7 years

32 years

Purchase of first home(7)

27 years

34 years

7 years

41 years

(1) Source: MoneyExpert.com    

(2) Source ONS, April-June 2008. Statistics refer to men and women who had worked past 50. In 1984 the average retirement age was 63.7 for men and 60.7 for women.

(3) Figures published in the annual ONS "state of the nation" report Social Trends show that, in the second quarter of 2008, 29% of 20 to 34-year-old men and 18% of women of the same age lived with their parents. This equated to around 1.8 million men and 1.1 million women.

(4) Source: ONS: Population Trends Spring 2009

(5) Source: Government Actuary’s Department: Cohort Expectations of Life

(6) Source: ONS: Population Trends Spring 2009: Figures compare most up-to-date information with closest comparable data from 30 years preceding.

(7) Source: GE Money Home Lending

About Aviva
Aviva, the international savings, investments and insurance group, is the world’s fifth largest insurance group, serving 50 million customers across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific.

In the UK, Aviva is a leading provider of life, pensions, investment, general insurance and health products to more than 20 million customers. Aviva also provides roadside assistance through the RAC. Products are distributed through a number of channels including IFAs, brokers, corporate partners and direct to customers via the internet.

Aviva's UK Insurance business has a market share of around 15%, making it the largest general insurer in the UK. The business is focused on insurance for individuals and small businesses.

Aviva's life and pensions business in the UK has a total market share of 12% and a top three position in its key markets of savings, protection, and annuities.

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