Second families cost parents dear

Older parents have bigger debts

Updated: 
Portrait of playful young boy covering grandfather's eyes on beach

People who have a second family later in life are finding themselves landed with bigger mortgages and greater debt.

Along with the rise in divorce in the UK has come an increase in the number of people embarking on a second long-term relationship - many of whom go on to have more children.

According to research from Saga Personal Finance, there are more than a million over-50s in this position.

And, the company found, while 12% of over-50s still have a mortgage, this figure rises to 20% for those who have children with a new partner following a previous marriage or long-term relationship.

And these 'second lifers' have a bigger mortgage too - an average of £80,000 outstanding, compared with just £60,000 for over-50s overall.

And they're more likely to have non-mortgage debts, such as loans. Around 18% of those with a second family have an average of almost £12,000 of outstanding debts, compared to 12% of traditional families, who owe £10,000 on average.

An analysis of Saga Equity Release Advice Service data shows that around one in five people is releasing equity from their home to pay off their mortgage, while one in three used the service to clear debt.

It's a problem that's likely to affect more and more people, with the survey finding that it's now more common to have children in later life - whether because people are concentrating on their career and having children later on or because they're starting a family with a new partner.

On average, one in five people in their 50s had their last child between the ages of 32 and 34, and a further 20% had a child at between 35 and 40 years old.

However, 1 in 17 said they were 41 years or older when their youngest child was born - meaning they'll still be paying for teenage children's driving lessons and university fees when they're in their 60s.

"Having children in later life keeps people on their toes and feeling young at heart," says Jeff Bromage, chief operating officer at Saga Personal Finance.

"However, the cost of raising a child is continually increasing and these days people need to keep a close eye on their finances and make sure that they are getting the best deals, whether that's when you're borrowing money or investing it in the stock market."

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