Age group summary
Helpline callers by age group
Figure 3.1 shows the largest number of debt enquiries came from the 35-44 age group, closely followed by the 45-54 age-group. The 55-64 and 65+ age-groups have produced significantly fewer helpline contacts, perhaps demonstrating the generational shift in attitude to borrowing along with the opportunity to accumulate debt.
Debt propensity by age group
Figure 3.2 shows that the 35-44 and 45-54 age groups are significantly more likely to require helpline assistance than any other group. The question is, will we see a natural decline in helpline contacts as these groups mature or has there been a real and significant shift in generational engagement with credit? If it’s the latter, the UK has a serious problem on its hands when these groups reach retirement age and income materially falls.
Debt-income ratio by age group
Figure 3.3 shows a significant increase in d/i ratio as age increases. Whilst the 35-44 and 45-54 age groups are the likely result of significant debt accumulation, the 55-64 and over 65 age groups are more likely to be the result of a reduction in income. The generational disparities in debt severity when overlaid with age group propensity add further weight to the supposition that the UK is facing a ticking debt retirement time-bomb.