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Mid-life money worries: Five ways to help ease the financial strain

By Vicky Shaw, PA personal finance correspondent

If you’re seriously feeling the pinch in middle age, you’re not alone. People in this age range are more likely than any other age group to say they are just about getting by or they’re struggling financially, according to new research.

Nearly a third (31%) of 45-54-year-olds say they’re just about getting by with money, while one in eight (12%) are struggling to make ends meet, Hargreaves Lansdown found.

This compares with a quarter of people (24%) across all age groups who say they’re only just about getting by financially, and 8% who are struggling to manage.

With childcare, mortgages, pension pots and so much more to think about during this life stage, things really can add up. So, what can you do to try and help?

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, shares the following five money tips for people in mid-life…
1. Prioritise emergency savings
There’s always something to spend your money on – and plenty of people keen for you to spend it on them. The best way to build an emergency savings safety net is often to pay yourself first. Have a direct debit going out of your account into your savings on the day you’re paid – before anyone else gets a look-in.

2. Keep an eye on debt
Your income and outgoings may be higher than when you were younger, so it’s easy to run up bigger debts on the assumption you can afford to repay them.

This makes you particularly vulnerable if your circumstances change, so take care to keep debts under control. This means only borrowing when you really have to, when the interest rate is low – and when you can afford repayments even if your circumstances shift.

3. Budget for the children to get more expensive before they get cheaper
Teenagers tend to be second only to the under-fives in terms of expense. When they’re at home, costs such as their mobile phone and car could fall to you. If they leave to study, you may well still be in the frame for the lion’s share of their costs.

4. Decide how much support you can offer to older children – and plan for it
It’s easy to assume your job is done when the kids get older and leave home. When they come to you for help in an emergency, it can leave you short. If you’re prepared to step in, have money set aside just in case.

5. Take stock of your pension plans
Use a pension calculator to see whether you’re on track for the retirement income you need, and identify the steps to hit your goals. Checking your pension now could still give you enough time to do something about any potential shortfall.

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