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Economic woes force 33 million to put life on hold

Wednesday 28th March 2012

Two-thirds of Britons (65%) have been forced to put important life decisions on hold due to the current economic climate, research by MoneySupermarket has revealed.

Those aged 18-34, often considered the "prime age" as far as important life changes are concerned, have had to put the most on hold: 17% have put off buying a house (four years on average) and 10% have delayed marrying by an average of three years. In addition, 8% have been forced to postpone having their first child by an average of three years.

The overall top areas people have put on hold are travelling (32%), home improvements (27%) and short-term saving (21%). The average delay to the age of retirement for those that have had to put off retiring is five years.

Clare Francis, consumer finance expert, at MoneySupermarket, said: "The current state of the UK economy is forcing people to delay exciting and important life stages, such as having children or buying their first home. People are obviously feeling the strain from rising living costs and lack of pay increases - and as the research shows, it may take people a few years to get back on track.

"The 2012 Budget statement last Wednesday seems to have done little to help consumers' confidence to make important life-changing decisions. In addition to this research, we ran a separate poll just after the Budget announcement which has revealed that 61% of people feel they will be worse off as a result of the announcements made by Chancellor George Osborne."

The "Life in Limbo" research went on to ask people what would need to happen to get their plans back on track; an increase in income (52%) was the number one remedy, followed by 46% who said the cost of living needs to reduce. A hopeful third (34%) said they need to win the lottery while a third said paying off their debts and freeing up some funds would help to turn things around.

Those in Wales are most likely to have put off travelling (41%) compared to Londoners (26%). Women are more likely to forgo a holiday (38%) than men (26%) and this is also the case for long-term savings, with 20% of females putting off saving into a pension, compared to 13% of their male counterparts.

Francis said: "You can fight back from living a life in limbo and take control of your financial situation - there are a number of ways to make savings without waiting for that big lottery win. By organising your finances and switching to the best deals available, significant savings can be made; enough to pay off debts or make everyday living more manageable."

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Mike Jones

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