Across all the countries included in the analysis, 55 per cent of those aged 50+ reported being satisfied with their household’s financial situation. However, this varied dramatically by country with the Swiss having the highest level of financial satisfaction (88 per cent) followed by three Nordic countries – Norway, Sweden and Finland (85, 84, and 83 per cent respectively). Great Britain had the seventh-highest level of financial satisfaction.
Six of the ten countries with the lowest levels of financial satisfaction among individuals aged 50+ were communist regimes until the early 1990s. Georgia displayed the lowest levels of financial satisfaction among older citizens (12 per cent), followed by Bulgaria and Moldova (15 and 23 per cent respectively).
France, Germany and the United States trail Great Britain in terms of older people’s financial satisfaction. About two-thirds of French and German individuals aged 50+ report being satisfied with their financial situation (65 and 61 per cent), with a similar percentage of older Americans being satisfied (64 per cent).
Of the African countries included in the survey, the picture is one of dissatisfaction. Less than a quarter of Rwandans aged 50 and above report being satisfied with their household’s financial situation (24 per cent), while levels of financial satisfaction among older people are also relatively low in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Morocco and Egypt (27, 29, 36 and 38 per cent respectively).
Lead researcher David Hayes from the University of Bristol said: “To put some of these results into context, the global average of financial satisfaction among younger individuals (aged 16-49) is 52 per cent, slightly lower than the figure for those aged 50 and above. However, in Great Britain, there is a substantial and highly significant difference. While 80 per cent of older Britons report being satisfied with their financial situation, only two-thirds (66 per cent) of those aged under 50 feel the same.”
For this study, the researchers used a major international dataset – the World Values Survey which is a cross-national survey of more than 80 countries, recording data about people’s socio-economic, cultural and political circumstances and attitudes. They used the Survey’s latest available wave of data (2005-2008) which contains around 25,000 individuals aged 50+ in 56 countries and is weighted to be nationally representative.
The research is part of a collaborative project between ILC-UK and the Personal Finance Research Centre (funded by the Economic and Social Research Council) which is looking at the financial dimensions of wellbeing and wider quality of life measures in older age.
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