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Post Office reveals the tribes redefining midlife and beyond

ByDave Stopher

Jun 6, 2018
  • Nearly seven out of 10 people aged over 50 (68%) say the traditional concept of retirement is no more – as they reveal their midlife motivations and ambitions
  • ‘Midlife Tribes’ emerging in our changing society include ‘Elderpreneurs’, ‘Fitness Finders ’ and ‘New Horizonians’ with adventure, community and romance as top priorities for many as they embark on the next chapter of their lives

From political power, to consumer spending, and sheer population figures – the influence of the UK’s over 50s is significant and continuing to grow.

1 in 3 of the UK population is over 50[i], making up nearly one third (31%) of the entire UK workforce. The wealthiest group in the UK[ii], they are also particularly influential as consumers spending 42% more on retail goods than any other age group[iii] and accounting for more than 58% of travel and tourism expenditure. In addition to some mid-lifers being wealthy consumers, they also have significant political influence as the group with the largest voter turnout.

Post Office research shows that seven out of ten (68%) over 50s say that the traditional concept of retirement no longer exists. To better understand this diverse and influential group, Post Office has today revealed six emerging ‘midlife tribes’[iv] which explore their varied and changing lifestyles, goals and aspirations.

The Tribes Redefining Midlife:

Family Builders (23% of all over 50s) – family focused and enjoy the comforts of home.

Goals: These family-focused folks enjoy their routine and relaxing at home with loved ones around them; even when heading off on holiday they’re likely visiting somewhere they’ve enjoyed previously. They are most likely to be married or in long-term relationships (88%) and working in the same career that they have been in for a while– though some have made the leap into retirement already (67%) – allowing them to spend more time with the people who matter to them. They are the group most likely to have already retired (67%), but many are also working full-time (22%) and part-time (11%). Family Builders have an annual pre-tax income of approximately £23.5k and combined assets, such as savings, of £48k.

Challenges: Family Builders are the most likely of any group to have adult children and one in four will hope to provide for their family with financial support. This generosity could be anything from help with the monthly bills or a contribution to a housing deposit, something that could tie up a third of their savings[v].

Elderpreneurs (18% of all over 50s) – focused on developing their career

GoalsElderpreneurs are focused on pursuing their career ambitions into new sectors (46%) or becoming their own boss by setting up a new business (24%). Last year, more than 43% of all new businesses were started by people over 50, according to the Office for National Statistics. For them, their midlife years have been all about following their professional passions.Money is their biggest driver, 42% cited wanting to improve their income as their reason for changing career since turning 50. They want to make sure they provide the best for themselves and their loved ones and expect to see their hard work pay off as they expect their finances to improve over the next 12 months (28%). Elderpreneurs have an annual pre-tax income of approximately £24.8k and combined assets, such as savings, of £56k. Appropriately, they are the tribe that is least likely to have retired (30%), and likely taking on some form of full-time (33%) or part-time (32%) work.

Challenges: Setting up a business – as one in four Elderpreneurs has – doesn’t just involve hard work. Many might be tempted to invest time and money into their new venture as they pursue their career goals. While many are positive about their financial outlook, this does pose an element of risk and uncertainty to their long term financial stability.

New Horizonians (8% of all over 50s) – pursuing new experiences, whether it be new hobbies, travel or education

Goals: New Horizonians are 71% more likely to try something new from midlife and beyond. Travel is a central part of this and they go on holiday over three times a year – more than any other group. More than half (62%) have taken an educational course or qualification since turning 50, wanting to learn a new skill or tackle a new challenge (60%). They value making new connections and enjoying new experiences and are particularly active online (49%). Some have taken computing and coding courses coding too (11%). As their goals are defined by having time to pursue new opportunities, they are one of the more likely groups to be retired (60%), with 17% working full-time and 18% working part-time still. New Horizonians have an annual pre-tax income of approximately £23.4k and combined assets, such as savings, of £65k.

Challenges: This group has invested time and money in new experiences but many of these new experiences, such as frequent travel or education, can have a significant price tag. This may have had an impact on their finances. One in four (27%) expect to see their finances take a hit in the next 12 months – the highest of any tribe.

Fitness Finders (11% of all over 50s) – fitness focused, having discovered a love of exercise in later life.

Goals: Fitness Finders are particularly health focused, and as a result have invested time and energy improving their lifestyle and wellbeing. Working out more than four hours a week on average, more than any other tribe, they are frequent gym-goers (18%) and swimmers (23%). They’ve also made lifestyle changes to improve their health, such as quitting smoking or reducing alcohol intake. Their renewed interest in healthy living has become a central part of their lifestyle, with 67% of Fitness Finders acknowledging that it’s now an important part of their social life. Half of those who fall within this tribe are already retired (50%), though with some working full-time (24%) or part-time (18%). Fitness Finders have an annual pre-tax income of approximately £25.5k and combined assets, such as savings, of £50k.

Challenges: Fitness Finders are the least likely of all the midlife tribes to have savings (15%). Setting a savings goal alongside a well-considered plan to achieve it is one of the best ways for them to realise financial ambitions and secure their financial wellbeing for the future.

New Lease on Lovers (5% of all over 50s) – focused on dating and looking for love

Goals: New Lease on Lovers are on the lookout for their potential soulmate and see dating as the main focus of their lifestyle. As confident web users, they make best use of online dating services (58%) and can be found wining and dining with a potential partner (43%). In addition to looking for love, this tribe are not afraid to make new friends or social connections and often do so online; with 21% meeting a romantic partner as result of time spent online, and even more have made new international friends after reaching out. Nearly half the people within this tribe are already retired (49%), though with some working full-time (35%) or part-time (8%). New Lease on Lovers have an annual pre-tax income of approximately £21.2k and combined assets, such as savings of £52k.

Challenges: Despite being hopeful about their romantic life, New Lease on Lovers can feel the pressure from the lack of support – both emotional and financial. This group is most likely to have sole financial responsibility for elderly parents (17% vs 13% for other tribes) – without assistance this could present challenges for their own money in the future.

Community Champions (8% of all over 50s) – focused on their community and volunteering

Goals: Community Champions are keenly involved in their local community (78%) or spend their free time volunteering for a charity (58%). Community Champions thrive on interaction with others; they need a purpose they can invest time in but also like the way it continues to connect them with new friends (43%). One in four (27%) has also mentored a younger person as part of their work.But you won’t just find them volunteering – they are often flying the flag for a good cause online too, being much more likely than other tribes to be active on social media. They are nearly twice as likely as other tribes to see technology as a way to connect to their community (68% vs 36% on average nationally). Members of this tribe have the largest proportion of people aged over 70 (45%), indicating that people become more invested in the communities that matter to them as they age. As a result, they are likely to be retired (66%), though some work full-time (15%) and some work part-time (15%). Community Champions have an annual pre-tax income of approximately £25.7k and combined assets, such as savings, of £59k.

Challenges: Community Champions are often financially stable, having nearly £60K worth of investible assets tied up in ISAs and savings accounts. Their challenges may stem from a need to make their money work more efficiently for them and be easily accessible when they need it.

Those surveyed who don’t fall into one of the emerging tribes are most likely to have a less secure financial situation, meaning they are likely less able to pursue personal ambitions and goals that could jeopardise their finances. This group expressed the most concern that their financial situation will worsen in the next 12 months (29%), have the least trust in financial institutions (19%) and revealed a lack of confidence in companies who provide savings and investments (14%). Those who fall outside the Midlife Tribes have an average annual pre-tax income (£19,634) and an asset value (£35,107).

Chrysanthy Pispinis, Director, Post Office Money comments:

“Whatever life stage you are approaching, your ambitions and personal goals will influence how you manage and ultimately, spend your money. A common challenge experienced by a third (35%) of people we spoke to was trying to balance their current and future financial stability, and nearly a quarter (24%) were concerned about how their finances will fare over the next year.

“What we’ve seen is that circumstances for those in mid-life or planning for retirement have changed, and their new needs are not always reflected in the financial products on offer to them. Juggling multiple financial commitments, such as caring for elderly parents or helping children with a house deposit, means many people have to think beyond traditional retirement plans, especially as pensions become more complex and renting is on the rise.

“Nearly a quarter of people we spoke to (24%) said they wished to see more innovation in financial services products. Post Office has recently launched an innovative new mortgage called Retirement Link that is designed to support customers who want more financial flexibility in retirement to enable their lives and goals.