Life milestones missed as cost of buying a house, marriage & kids soars to £400k

by | Apr 13, 2024

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  • The average cost of getting married, buying a house and having children in the UK soars to almost £400k, according to financial mutual, OneFamily
  • This has increased by £35k in two years, up from £360k in 2022
  • Being able to afford all of these life goals is becoming increasingly difficult as costs rise, forcing young adults to make tough choices 
  • The top three priorities among adults aged 18-40 are living comfortably (54%), travelling (36%) and buying a house (28%)
  • Getting married or having a wedding has fallen towards the bottom of the list, with just one in ten (12%) saying this is one of their top three life goals

The average cost of getting married, buying a house and having children in the UK soars to almost £395,000, according to financial mutual, OneFamily. This has increased by £35,000 in just two years, up from £360,000 in 2022[1]

The high cost of key life goals means the traditional path of buying a house, marriage and having kids is difficult to afford, as young adults juggle costs including rent, bills and saving for a deposit.

As part of the research by OneFamily, which surveyed 2,000 UK adults between the ages of 18-40, people were asked about their top three life goals. More than half (54%) say their priority was living comfortably, reflecting that in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, rising energy bills and inflation, many young adults just want to make sure they can make ends meet.

 
 

The second highest priority is to go on holiday or travel (36%). Less than a third (28%) prioritise buying a house, with the same proportion hoping to have savings when they retire.

With rising costs forcing people to make tough choices, getting married or having a wedding has fallen towards the bottom of the list, as just one in ten (12%) say this is in their top three goals. However, when asked if they would like to have a wedding, three in four (75%) non-married people say they would. This suggests, while people do still want to get married or have a wedding, it is simply not a top priority when taking other expenses into account. 

Of those who are not married, two in five (38%) who would like a wedding are concerned about how they will be able to afford it, as the average adult under 40 expects a wedding to cost around £16,000.

 
 

Katie Oliphant, a 26-year-old HR co-ordinator living in Cambridge, is renting with her partner, Cormac. They are each have a lifetime ISA and will use the savings to buy a property together.

The lifetime ISA is a product set up by the UK government to help people buy their first home or save for retirement. The government tops up lifetime ISAs by 25%, so for every £100 saved, an extra £25 will be added on top. The maximum saving limit into a lifetime ISA per year is £4,000, which equates to an annual bonus of up to £1,000.

As well as buying a property, Katie said she would like to get married at some point too, but the high cost of living makes it challenging for young people to do both. Katie said, “In an ideal world we’d get married soon, but wedding costs are absolutely extortionate and because of the cost-of-living crisis, everything has increased. I just don’t know where we’d get the money from for a wedding right now. I think buying a house is more important because, if we were to have children, then at least we have a roof over our heads. 

 
 

“At first, we wanted to buy when we moved in together, but we then realised how long it takes, especially as at the moment we want to live in the city centre. So, we decided not to rush it. I think lifetime ISAs are brilliant and there’s no better way to save for a house – you are given free money from the government so to me it’s a no brainer.”

Lifetime ISAs can be opened by people aged between 18 and 39 and the free government bonus provides a boost which can help those hoping to get on the property ladder.

Jackie, Customer Operations Director at OneFamily, said, “Given the recent cost-of-living crisis, it’s hardly surprising it’s becoming more difficult for people to afford buying a home as well as their dream wedding. It’s tough for young adults in the UK, as they juggle paying rent, bills and saving for a deposit.

 
 

“Social mobility is something we really believe in at OneFamily, as everyone should have access to equal opportunities, regardless of their background. Lifetime ISAs can really help people wanting to save for their first home, as the free bonus can give them that extra boost.”

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