I had a wonderful day yesterday as I was invited to discuss the fascinating new survey carried out by LV Insurance on 31 BBC Radio Stations around the UK that discovered that 1 million people are waiting until they are in their 40s 50s and 60s before starting a family.
They are joining a number of ageing celebrities who are still having children well into their 40s, 50s, and 60s – including Sir Paul McCartney, 70, Rod Stewart, 68, Elton John, 66, and Madonna, 54.
Between 1992 and 2012 the number of people having children in their 40s rose almost 300 per cent for women and 149 per cent for men. They have been dubbed the ‘generation of parensioners’.
Statistics have show the annual cost of raising a child is £10,593, around £2,000 more than the average retirement income.
A survey carried out by LV= showed that almost 30 per cent of older parents will have children of 15 or younger when they retire but admit they do not have savings or a pension.
Three quarters of the age group said they regularly worry about how they will cope with parenting after retirement.
More than 33 per cent of older male parents questioned were between 50 and 70 when they became fathers, six per cent of women were over 45.
While most women said they would give up giving birth after they hit 43, the survey also revealed most men think 49 is the cut-off point for starting a family, although a quarter surveyed said 55 is acceptable.
Reasons given for starting a family late included waiting for the right partner, unplanned pregnancy and having one last child while they still can.
Financial insecurity and wanting to enjoy freedom were among the reasons for not having children younger.
LV= spokesman Ray Chinn said: ‘We often see tales of mature celebrities that have become new parents and now we can see how many normal men and women are following in their famous footsteps and becoming what has today been dubbed parensioners.’
I was asked about my views on older parents and of course it’s none of my business telling people when to have their children but I actually think older parents know themselves better, have done lots of interesting things , including having a career and are ready to settle down. They have choosen to have a child so they are ready to get up in the night, play with their children and are more relaxed, positive and confident in themselves which means they are more confident role models for their children.
Some radio stations were worried that older parents don’t have as much energy as younger parents but it’s all about your mindset isn’t it? – we are all living longer and we are far more aware about eating healthily, exercising regularly and keeping away from cigarettes and too much alcohol so I don’t think your age has anything to do with being a great parent.
Children spell love – T-I-M- E so whether you are 23 or 53 children need love, nurturing, stability and laughter and that doesn’t matter how old you are!
But I do think the LV Survey is fascinating in that perhaps we all need to take a long hard look at our finances and plan ahead for our pensions.
To find out more about the survey and for advice around pensions go to www.LV.com