Active lifestyles and health worries for 70-somethings

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The average 70-something loves listening to Queen, Abba and The Beatles, reads nine books a year and lists Only Fools And Horses, The Two Ronnies and Fawlty Towers among their top TV shows, research has found.

And while pensions are the main source of income for people aged in their 70s, one in three of those in this age group is still working regularly, according to Nationwide Building Society Savings.

Some 22% of those surveyed are working full-time and 11% have a part-time job, while 6% carry out occasional work.

People aged in their 70s will also typically have £300 of disposable income a month to get by on and £5,227 put away in savings - but they will also be in £31,504-worth of debt, including mortgages, credit cards, overdrafts and personal loans.

The average yearly income for someone in their 70s was found to be £21,617 - slightly less than the average 30-year-old who has £24,763, according to Nationwide Savings.

Health is a worry for nearly half (49%) of those surveyed, while one in three (34%) worry about saving money and 29% are concerned about being able to pay their bills.

One in seven (14%) 70-somethings is also still harbouring romantic regrets over "the one that got away".

The study of 2,000 people aged between 70 and 79 years old from across the UK also found that a Ford is their typical car of choice.

People in this age group have been settled down in a relationship for more than 30 years and receive 24 visits from family members per year on average.

They holiday abroad once a year on average and take exercise five times a week, most likely by going to the gym or taking a long walk.

Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, 71 - who is a spokesman for the report, said: "While getting old can be a pain in the neck, it's a pleasure to see that it's not just adventurers of my age who are still active and are actually far better at keeping up with 'the times' than younger generations might think."

While classic comedies Fawlty Towers, The Two Ronnies and Only Fools And Horses were rated the best TV shows by those surveyed, The Shawshank Redemption, Schindler's List and The Great Escape were their favourite films.

Other regrets listed by 70-somethings include one in three (33%) wishing they had travelled more, 31% wishing they had saved more and 17% lamenting losing touch with a friend or family member.

Seventy-somethings got on the property ladder around five years earlier in their lifetime than the average first-time buyer nowadays, the findings suggest. Those surveyed said they were aged around 28 when they bought their first house, whereas according to the English Housing Survey, a first-time buyer is now typically 33 years old.

Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, head of savings and mortgages policy at Nationwide Building Society, said: "It's encouraging to see our latest life stage study breaking some common misconceptions by highlighting the active lifestyle of many 70-year-olds, along with their working status and spending habits.

"That's not to say that older people are without worries - with health and wealth remaining concerns for many. Both show the importance of preparing for retirement, keeping active and protecting what's important."

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