News: First-time buyers miss the financial boat

A new study has revealed that the nation’s financial advisers believe that if an individual hasn’t put the basic building blocks of financial security in place by the relatively tender age of 26, they could face a lifetime of struggling to catch up.

The findings may come as a wake-up call to Britons who can’t or won’t address their financial futures until they see grey hairs start appearing on their head, said the insurer Prudential.

To be specific, the advisers think that starting a pension should happen at age 22, buying your first house should happen at age 25, and starting to save should happen at age 26.

However, while this is the view of those people whose job it is to make sure people live in an idyllic financial situation, in reality things look rather different. The average first time buyer is aged 34.2 Similarly, the average age to marry which is a traditional trigger to sort out finances is 29 for women and 31 for men.

Just under half of 1,000 consumers questioned wish they had reviewed their finances earlier in life, so they would be in a better financial position, with 25-34-year-olds feeling this more than any other age group.

Roger Ramsden, Prudential UK executive director said: "At the bright young age of 26, many youngsters are not yet fully aware of the benefits that starting a pension and savings scheme can bring. For one thing, few are aware of the significant tax breaks of a pension. It is only later that they look back and wish they had acted earlier to maximise their finances."

Unfortunately many people do look back and regret it. The Pru study found that 42% of Britons wished they’d reviewed their finances earlier in life to put them in a better financial position.

Planning early is key to a secure financial future - but it is never too late to start, adds Roger Ramsden. "For those of us who do seem past it, we can still do an awful lot to improve our financial position, whether that is pay more into our pension, save more or reduce our debts," he said.

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