Debt is a part of modern life according to more than half of people over 50 shows a new survey.* Whilst one in four said that they would never borrow money and more than two thirds said they would always use cash savings over borrowing money, a third of over 50s said that they would consider borrowing for a big expense in order to keep their cash free for emergencies.

The study by Saga Loans revealed that people in their 50s are much more likely to consider borrowing money than those in their 70s and beyond, presumably because they are still building their pension pot and want to keep their cash untouched; they are also more likely to be earning and are therefore better able to afford to pay off debt.

Perhaps surprisingly, one in five over 50s still in work go as far as to say that taking on credit helps them to live the type of life they want to lead, showing just how much this generation has become comfortable with borrowing. Cars and home improvements are the most typical things that people would consider borrowing money for, with those in the North East much more likely to consider borrowing for these big expenses than anywhere else in Britain.

When it comes to choosing how they would prefer to borrow money, people over 50 are more focussed on paying the debt back as quickly as possible rather than borrowing the most they can afford.  Being able to make overpayments in order to bring the term of the loan down further was even more popular than choosing a shorter loan term in the first place.

Gloria Barker, head of loans at Saga Money, commented: “The biggest surprise to us is that so many people, particularly in their 50s, have become so used to using credit that they now feel it is a part of modern life: -it seems that the baby boomer generation has torn up the rule book again.  Of course with some people working longer, they are able to afford to borrow later into life than previous generations, but it seems that people also have a very sensible approach, preferring to use savings if they can, mostly borrowing for bigger expenses and trying to ensure they repay the credit over as short a term as possible. Saga’s personal loan for the over 50s is designed with flexibility in mind, allowing customers to make overpayments for free.”