What the average Briton is worth

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%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%New survey calculates the average adult in the UK has assets of just under £150,000.

The average adult in the UK has a net worth of around £147,000.
That's according to a new study conducted by law firm Irwin Mitchell.

They came to the figure using a formula employed during probate cases and when writing wills, which involves adding up the value of certain key assets an adult is likely to have.

It found that a typical adult had a net worth of £147,134.32 – which is less than 0.1% of what David Beckham is estimated to be worth.

According to last year's Sunday Times Rich List the former footballer is worth a whopping £165 million, or £164,852,866 more than the average Brit.

But despite the big difference the firm is urging people to make appropriate plans for the future with what they have.

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Calculating net worth

The firm surveyed 2,000 adults aged from 18 to 55+, though respondents were mainly in the 25-to-45 age group.

They were asked about the value of eight assets: mortgage equity, pension savings, household belongings, investments, cars, normal savings, ISAs and the balance of their current account.

These are the largest assets most commonly found in probate cases and are the ones asked about when it comes to writing a will.

The table below displays the average values per asset gathered from the research from largest to smallest.


Average value

Mortgage equity




Household belongings










Current account balance


Total net worth


Source: Irwin Mitchell

According to the study mortgage equity makes up most of a person's net worth, contributing over half to the final overall figure at £75,060.45. You can work out the amount of mortgage equity you have by taking your home's current market value minus how much you have left to pay on your mortgage.

The next biggest contributor to our wealth is pension savings. On average respondents in the survey had £30,000 built up, or around 20% of our net worth. This is broadly in line with the £36,800 figure the Association of British Insurers estimates is in the average UK pension pot.

The value of our household belongings and car made up 15% of the final total while savings, ISAs and investments only made up around 13%. According to the study we aren't hitting our full cash ISA allowance (£5,640) with an average balance of £3,712.65. However, investments have a much healthier figure at £9,624.63.

Lastly the average balance of a current account made up less than 0.01%.

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Worth more than we think

While those surveyed were found to be worth just under £150,000 on average it appears that figure is more than most people expected.

When asked what they believed they were worth in monetary terms 46% said they had 'no idea', 11% didn't understand the question and 42% didn't think they were worth much at all.

Solicitors from Irwin Mitchell says we're worth more than we might think and are urging people to consider how they want their estate to be administered after they die.

According to the firm, six out of 10 people don't have a will in place and a third don't have any plans to make one. Having nothing to leave anyone and fears of lifelong debt are the most common reasons given for 16 million people not getting the right paperwork in place.

In addition, the survey found that 47% of people don't know how assets are distributed after death, while 54% have no idea what accounts and investments their partner or family has.

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What are you worth?

I've never given much thought to what I'm worth in monetary terms. I've always considered it the
reserve of the rich and famous.

But using the key assets that are normally used to create a picture of personal wealth I've
determined I'm worth £20,000.

That's much less than the six-figure average, as I haven't long bought my first home, don't contribute to a pension scheme or have a significant amount of savings. Clearly I've got some work to do to improve my wealth. However, it is more than I thought and I should probably get something in place to instruct people what to do with my small fortune after I'm gone.

As this survey only looked at 2,000 people you might find the average figure doesn't exactly match up with your situation either. So give it a try and find out how much you're worth exactly – you might be surprised.

Seven retirement nightmares
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What the average Briton is worth
Figures from charity Age UK show that 29% of those over 60 feel uncertain or negative about their current financial situation - with millions facing poverty and hardship. Even though saving for retirement is not much fun, the message is therefore that having to rely on dwindling state benefits in retirement is even less so. To avoid ending up in this situation, adviser Hargreaves Lansdown recommends saving a proportion of your salary equal to half your age at the time of starting a pension. In other words, if you are 30 when you start a pension, you should put in 15% throughout your working life. If you start at 24, saving 12% of your salary a year should produce a similar return.
Many older couples rely on the pension income of one person - often the man. Should that person die first, the other person can therefore be left in a difficult position financially.
One way to prevent financial hardship for the surviving person is to take out a joint life annuity that will continue to pay out up to 67% of the original payments to the surviving partner should one of them die.

The disadvantage of this approach, however, is that the rate you receive will be lower. Again, the Pensions Advisory Service on 0845 601 2923 is a useful first port of call if you are unsure what to do.

Around 427,000 households in the over-70 age groups are either three months behind with a debt repayment or subject to some form of debt action such as insolvency, according to the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS).

Its figures also show that those aged 60 or older who came to the CCCS for help last year owed an average of £22,330. Whether you are retired or not, the best way to tackle debt problems is head on.

Free counselling services from the likes of CCCS and Citizens Advice can help with budgeting and dealing with creditors.

Importantly, they can also conduct a welfare benefits check to make sure you are receiving the pension credit, housing and council tax benefits, attendance and disability living allowances you are entitled to.


The average UK pensioner household faces a £111,400 tax bill in retirement as increasing longevity means pensioners are living on average up to 19 years past the age of 65, according to figures from MetLife. And every year in retirement adds an extra £5,864 in direct and indirect taxes based on current tax rates to the costs for the average pensioner household. You can be forced to go bankrupt if you fail to pay your taxes, so it is vital to factor these costs into your retirement planning.It is also important to check that you are receiving all the benefits and tax breaks you are entitled to if you want to make the most of your retirement cash.

The cost of a room in a care home in many parts of the country is now over £30,000 a year, according to figures from Prestige Nursing and Care. So even if the prime minister announces a cap on care costs - last year the economist Andrew Dilnot called for a new system of funding which would mean that no one would pay more than £35,000 for lifetime care - families will still face huge accommodation costs. Ways to cut this cost include opting for home care rather than a care home. Jonathan Bruce, managing director of Prestige Nursing and Care, said: "For older people who may need care in the shorter term, home care is an option which allows people to maintain their independence for longer while living in their own home and should be included in the cap." However, the only other answer is to save more while you can.
Older Britons are often targeted by unscrupulous criminals - especially if they have a bit of money put away. For example, many over 50s were victims of the so-called courier scam that tricked into keying their pin numbers into their phones and handing their cards to "couriers" who visited their homes. It parted consumers from £1.5 million in under two years. Detective Chief Inspector Paul Barnard, head of the bank sponsored dedicated cheque and plastic crime unit (DCPCU), said: "Many of us feel confident that we can spot fraudsters, but this type of crime can be sophisticated and could happen to anyone." The same is true of boiler room scams that target wealthier Britons with money to invest, offering "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunities to snap up shares at bargain prices. Tactics to watch out for include cold calling, putting you under pressure to pay up or lose the opportunity for good, and claiming to have insider information that they are prepared to share with you.

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