One in five middle aged people are “paper millionaires”, a new study by the Office for National Statistics has revealed. The study looked at combined assets of property, savings and pensions, minus outstanding mortgage repayments.

The study also revealed that one in three people in their 40s and 50s in the South East of England were paper millionaires, pointing to a notable North-South divide.
The report also showed that nearly five times more children were in the bottom wealth category as were in the top.

North-South Split

Figures from the study reveal that 60% of middle aged people in the South East of England have accrued wealth equivalent to £500,000 or more. The figure contrasts sharply with the North East, where 20% of middle aged people have minimal or no assets to fall back on.

Wealth is shown to build up steadily throughout a person’s life, and then reduce sharply once retirement age is reached – often due to care bills.
The report also laid bare the how many millionaire households there were in the South East of England; 50% more than the rest of the UK put together. In the North East, by contrast, 25% of households have £50,000 or less in property assets, pensions and savings.

The large wealth gap between the North and the South has been largely attributed to rising house prices in southern areas – contrasting with stagnating prices in the north.

But as many of our unoccupied property insurance customers can attest, being a millionaire on paper is very different to being one in reality – particularly if your property has been on the market for some time.

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