Excluding mortgage debt, the average person aged between 50 and 59 owes £4,641 from borrowing such as credit cards loans and overdrafts, according to the research from Nationwide Financial Planning.
This outweighs the average amount of cash they have put away in savings accounts, at £4,511.
A fifth (20%) of 50-somethings surveyed have no "rainy day" savings at all.
Many people in this age group were found to be supporting two generations. Nearly three in 10 (27%) worry about being able to help their children financially.
Meanwhile, around a quarter (24%) of 50-somethings make sure their own parents get regular visits, while 15% commit to doing their shopping and driving them to appointments. A quarter (25%) of 50-somethings said they see their parents more now than they did 10 years ago.
Larry Banda, Nationwide's director of financial planning, said: "Hitting the half century in terms of years really is middle of the road. Often we are squeezed from both sides - supporting both our grown-up children but also our parents as they get older."
Some 2,000 people aged 50 to 59 took part in the survey.