Britain's squeezed 35 to 44-year-olds face a £600 shortfall each month between their income and the sum they need to feel financially comfortable, a report has found.
People in this age group face the biggest cash income gap, with their average gross yearly household income of £29,735 leaving them 32% or £612 a month short, according to research from Aviva.
Overall, the income gap has jumped by 13% across all ages since the spring, with a typical £466 a month shortfall as households continue to come under pressure from high living costs and low pay rises.
The 35-44 group is the most likely to be worried about meeting the mounting cost of household bills, with a string of price hikes recently announced by energy companies.
People in this group, many of whom will have children living at home, tend to be approaching the peak of their financial responsibilities and are already juggling large outgoings and debts, the report said.
Some 13% of them were worried about meeting their mortgage costs and nearly a third were concerned about how they would cope with household bills.
Worries about hikes to food and clothing prices and unexpected costs such as boiler repairs and car breakdowns tended to be particularly common among the middle aged groups, Aviva said.
The report said: "In the past six months, Britain's squeezed middle ages have become ever more squeezed, reflecting the continuing effects the current economic climate is having on people's lives, especially in the 35-44 age range.
"They have the most financial concerns and worries and are least optimistic about achieving their goals for the next two years."
People aged between 45 to 54 were the next most likely to be concerned about being able to afford household bills, and needed an extra £559 a month typically to feel financially secure. At the other end of the spectrum, those aged over 65 required the least boost to their cash income, saying they needed an extra £23 a month on average.