The first ever report to compare the lifestyles of today's over 50s with their counterparts in 1957 reveals many are enjoying double the retirement period and living a lifestyle that more closely resembles that of a 25 year old in 1957. Time spent shopping, socialising and playing sport have replaced that spent on domestic duties 50 years ago, with the over 50s today splashing-out the equivalent of six-times more on holidays and travel than those of the same age in the 1950s.

Although much has changed in the past 50 years across all age groups, the research has revealed that it is life after 50 that has experienced the greatest demographic and social shifts. The report, complied on behalf of intune - a new financial services company created to help people make the most of their finances in later life - challenges the stereotypical image often associated with those over 50.

Martin Lloyd-Elliott, psychologist, comments: 'While our modern society is apparently so biased towards youth culture, a more radical and transformative change has occurred amongst the over fifties that leaves teenagers lagging behind. Today 50 is closer to the middle of our life than to its end with many economical and psychological factors bringing this change. Psychologically, there has been a shift from a 'closing down' expectation for the second half of life towards a much more optimistic 'opening up of new doors' spirit of good times ahead.'

With today's retirees set for an average of 18½ years of post-retirement life, almost double compared to 50 years ago, people are optimising their increased leisure time and affluence and living life to the full. Savings for this age group have also witnessed a significant rise, even when taking into account inflation, the over 50s have triple the amount of savings compared to 50 years ago.

Topline report findings include:

Travel

· Travel spend amongst the over 50s has increased six-fold over the previous 50 years. In 1957 the average 50-64 year old spent £159 on holidays, whereas in 2006 they spent £985 (taking into account inflation).
· The number of trips taken by 55-64 year olds to destinations outside Europe and North America has doubled from 521,000 just ten years ago to 1,231,000 trips today.
· The over 50s are also now not satisfied with just a fortnight's break - over 26,600 trips of 6 months to a year and more than 121,000 trips of 3-6 months were taken by this age group last year.

Leisure

· The over 50s take part in the same amount of sport as 16-44 year olds 50 years ago - a fourfold increase in time spent on sport and exercise by over 50s in the past 50 years.
· Over 65s today currently spend almost 3 hours a week more than their equivalents 50 years ago engaging in hobbies and sports.
· Over the course of retirement (18 ½ years) they will spend the equivalent of 7.5 months engaged in leisure activities that would have been spent on domestic duties 50 years ago.

Recreation

· The over 50s are spending the equivalent of double the amount they did a week in the 1950s, with a shift from spend on household basics, to more luxury items.
· Moreover, the over 65s today spend more time shopping than the 16-24 age group - 3 hours 40 minutes a week versus 1 hour 48 minutes

Anne Grahamslaw, Managing Director of intune comments: 'It's clear from talking to our customers, as well as looking at the report findings, that much has changed over the last 50 years, but nothing as striking as life after 50. People are more socially active, travelling further afield and have an appetite for adventure that was not so prevalent amongst this age group 50 years ago. As a result, their priorities and needs are changing. Recognising and responding to these lifestyle shifts, intune has been created to help people make the most of their finances in later life so that they can live it to the full.'

Lifestyle Comparison Table for the over 50s - 1957 versus 2007

-- Length of retirement (male)
(1957) 7.6 years - (2007) 15 years
-- Length of retirement (female)
(1957) 13.9 years - (2007) 22 years
-- Main daily activity*
(1957) cleaning & tidying - (2007) shopping & socialising
-- Weekly spend**
(1957) £199 per week - (2007) £455 per week
-- Time spent exercising/playing sport
(1957) 14 mins per week - (2007) 1 hour per week
-- Number of holidays/short breaks
(1957) 1-2 a year - (2007) 8-9 a year
-- Spend on holidays
(1957) £128 per year - (2007) £845 per year
-- Place to socialize
(1957) down the pub - (2007) in the home
-- Alcoholic tipple of choice
(1957) beer & cider - (2007) wines & sprits
-- Divorce rate
(1957) 1 in 450 couples - (2007) 1 in 58 couples

Source: The Future Foundation, for intune

*excluding media consumption
**taking account of inflation

Created to offer tailored financial services products, including home, car and travel insurance, primarily to customers over 50 years of age, intune believes that age should not be a barrier to getting the products that people need. Consequently, unlike many other financial services companies, none of intune's products or services have an upper age limit. intune is a wholly owned subsidiary of Help the Aged, which means that profits generated will go towards the work Help the Aged is doing to free disadvantaged older people from poverty, isolation and neglect.

For further information visit www.intunegroup

www.helptheaged

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