What’s your ‘Money Age’? UK adults are 10 years behind when it comes to money planning

  • New first-of-its-kind study from Octopus Money shows that UK adults are 10 years behind when it comes to money planning
  • The study maps ages against financial preparedness and confidence – revealing that Brits have an average ‘Money Age’ of 32 years old (compared to the national average age of 41)
  • The gap is driven by a lack of knowledge around money – specifically investing, savings, pensions, protection, and debt; with Northerners tending to be more money savvy than Southerners 
  • Octopus Money’s expert Money Coaches are on a mission to help everyone kickstart their financial journey. Take the Money Age quiz now.

A brand-new study from Octopus Money reveals that Brits are almost 10 years behind when it comes to money planning. 

The study is the first of its kind to compare people’s ages to their level of financial preparedness and confidence. Octopus Money tested the nation’s knowledge on topics like investing, savings, pensions, protection, and debt, and where they’re taking action. The data reveals that Brits have an average ‘Money Age’ of 32, compared to the average age of the UK population (41 years old).

Money Ages across the UK
The research reveals that Northerners tend to be savvier than Southerners when it comes to money planning. The North West emerged with the oldest Money Age of 35, whereas those in London were slightly above the UK national average (33). And the East Midlands had the youngest Money Age of 32. 

Men have an older Money Age than women (an average of 35 for men, compared to 32 for women) – scoring more highly for their understanding and decision making across investing, savings, pensions and protection. 

Pensions the most puzzling
The research reveals that people are most likely to be puzzled by pensions, bringing down the UK’s average Money Age and generating the lowest scores when it comes to understanding and action. 

Almost three quarters of those surveyed (70%) say they understand pensions, however a quarter of those (23%) didn’t know the age at which they could start taking income from a workplace pension. 

Elsewhere, the research shows confusion between workplace and private pensions. Just one quarter (24%) of those surveyed say they have started contributing to a workplace pension or a private pension. This is despite ONS data which puts UK workplace pension participation rates at 79%; meaning that many workers may be completely unaware that they are in fact making automatic contributions. 

Realising retirement
This lack of clarity means that half of UK adults do not feel equipped for retirement, with women much more likely to say they feel unprepared (62% of women compared to 45% of men). 

With middle age widely heralded as the time to save for later life, the research reveals those aged 35-54 are struggling to make a start. This group feel the least prepared for retirement (60%), and almost a quarter (23%) of those aged 55+ say they have made no plans. 

What’s more, one in five (19%) over 55s are still feeling unsure when they expect to retire. Whereas the same percentage (19%) of the younger generation (18-34) say they expect to retire before the state pension age.

Cost of living curbing later life plans
The research also reveals that many Brits are yet to take meaningful financial actions for the future. The cost-of-living squeeze has led 50% of Brits to worry about how much money they will have at the end of the month, with a knock-on effect to later life plans. 

More than two in five (43%) of those aged 35-54 say they haven’t yet ticked off a number of important money planning tasks like making a will, paying into a private pension pot, speaking to an adviser or increasing their workplace pension contributions. One third (33%) of those aged 55+ say the same.      

Kelly Atkins, Head Coach, at Octopus Money says:
“With our Money Age campaign and quiz, we want to kickstart the nation’s financial journey and provide everyone with the help they need to make a good money plan.  

“Our research shows that the UK is about 10 years behind where they should be when it comes to money planning, with an average Money Age of just 32. We know it’s a very tough time for lots of us when it comes to money. But the key to being on track for our long-term financial goals is to take action as early as you can – even small steps can help. 

“Lots of us don’t want to think about the future but it’s important to realise that it might not be as daunting as we think. Making a plan now is the best way to make a difference.

“Take our Money Age quiz today to find out your own Money Age, and what you can do today to help get ahead. The more financially prepared a person is, the older their Money Age; the less prepared they are, the lower the Money Age. It’s the only time you’ll want to be older than you actually are!”

Octopus Money calculated the nation’s ‘Money Age’ in partnership with Opinium. A nationally representative survey was commissioned among 2,000 UK adults, aged 18-55+, in January 2024. A scoring system was applied to respondent’s answers, focused on the different financial actions they have taken and their understanding and confidence levels across various financial categories. The categories included: savings, investments, debt and protection. The more financially prepared a person is, the older their Money Age; the less prepared they are, the lower the Money Age.

Octopus Money Limited is an appointed representative of Octopus Investments Limited which is authorised and regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered office: 33 Holborn, London EC1N 2HT. Registered in England & Wales under No. 14069098.

Octopus Money is a trading name of TW11 Wealth Management Limited. Registered in England and Wales (No. 10339119). Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Our Financial Services Register number is 763630.

As with all investing, your capital is at risk. If you choose to invest with Octopus Money, the value of your investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you invest.