A new study - based on a survey of 2,000 UK adults - suggests that after the age of 40 optimism about gaining financial independence “plummets.”
The study into financial confidence and optimism was undertaken by Manchester-based wealth management firm King Street Wealth Management.
It revealed that 61% of UK adults do not believe they are financially independent – although one in five (19%) think they will be by 2021.
Some 15% of respondents said they feared they would never see financial independence.
Mark Parello, managing director of King Street, said the definition of financial independence varied between individuals. For some it meant being able to do things without relying on the need to earn a regular income and for others being able to live comfortably without ever running out of money.
Women are more likely than men to consider themselves already financially independent, but just one in five (18%) who are yet to achieve financial independence expect to ever do so in the future, said King Street.
Short-term financial optimism declines significantly from around the age of 44. Some 20% of financially dependent 35-44 year olds are positive about the year ahead but optimism drops to 13% among people aged 45-54 and 11% among over-55s.
While people aged 55 and over are the most likely to perceive themselves as financially independent already - 58% of over-55s believe they’re already financially independent - they are also the least optimistic. The study found that older age is bad predictor of financial confidence, optimism and understanding of financial independence overall.
Of people aged 55 and over who are not financially independent, more than a quarter (26%) do not know what financial independence is compared to the national average of 18%, while only 10% of 18-24 year olds said they did not understand the concept of financial independence.
Mr Parello said: “Personal wealth obviously plays a part in financial independence, but for many people it’s not necessary to be immensely wealthy to be financially independent.”
• OnePoll surveyed 2,000 UK adults in January.