‘Re-Run’ Generation of 28 – 40 Year Olds More Concerned with Nostalgia than Planning for the Future Finds Standard Life Study

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28 to 40 year olds are so fascinated by the past they fail to plan for the future according to Standard Life report 'The Re-Run Generation'. One in three feels anxious about growing up and most plan less than 15 years ahead for their finances. Yet, on average they will spend 20 years in retirement and need a 'reality check' to secure the future they hope for.


  • Just under one in three (29%) Re-Runners feel anxious (22%) or filled with fear (8%)about growing up and getting older
  • Only 53% of the Re-Runners are saving for their future
  • Just under one in three (29%) expect fate to secure their financial future
  • 69% plan 15 years or less ahead for their finances

Twenty-eight to forty year olds who grew up in the nineties and noughties, decades dominated by nostalgia, are likely to be so fascinated by the past that they fail to plan for the future they expect, according to ‘The Re-Run Generation’ report published today by Standard Life.

The report shows that just over four out of five 28-40 year olds (82%) like (69%) or love (13%) that retro brands from their youth are making a come-back, with three in five (59%) thinking their generation is ‘particularly fascinated with things from their youth’. Half (50%) agreed that ‘my generation is nostalgic because youth was a great time and we now find ourselves struggling to meet expectations’. Just under one in three (29%) admitted they felt anxious (22%) or filled with fear (8%) about growing up and getting older.

So called ‘Re-Runners’ are not unrealistic about their future, and yet they do not plan for what they know. Nearly two thirds (62%) expect to live until their 70s (32%) and 80s (30%) and, when asked about their financial future, four out of five (84 per cent) said they either knew they could not rely on the state to support them in retirement (36%), or said they would like to, but knew they had to make their own retirement plans (48%). One in three (29%) instead thinks fate will play a part in securing their financial future.

Commenting on the findings, Damian Barr, social commentator said: “The Re-Run report shows we devote endless time, money and energy extending our youth, and yet by making the past so much a part of the present, we risk making our future riskier still. We have to start looking forward as well as back.

“Our parents and grandparents like to appear financially responsible, but actually they are accidental savers. Final Salary pensions meant many people had a secure financial future whether they planned it or not. Re-Runners don’t have the luxury their parents enjoyed and so we must make informed choices.”

Mark Polson, Head of Customer Management at Standard Life said: “Re-Runners are one of the most diverse and fragmented of all generations who have grown up in a culture that was all about staying in the past. This is a generation which is opting out, hoping for the best and rationalising on their feet. These are smart, educated, savvy people who know they are not doing what they should to secure their financial futures. They need a reality check to secure the future they hope for themselves.”

Brand historian, Robert Opie concluded: “During the last decade, the influence of retro fashion, music and food brands has increased our awareness of nostalgia. According to this Standard Life research, for those in the 28 to 40 age group, the impact has become worrying. They feel they are not grown up and tend to cling to the familiarity of their formative years. This feeling has been intensified by current financial uncertainty and has resulted in a generation who are more likely to look back or ‘live for the moment’.”

To support this generation of under savers, Standard Life has launched a website which includes tips and tools to help plan your financial future: http://www.getarealitycheck.co.uk.

Notes to editors

1.    All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2064 adults of which 475 were aged 28-40 years old . Fieldwork was undertaken between 30th December - 4th January 2010. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

2.    Additional findings from the Standard Life Savings and Investments Index report, wave 18, among a UK representative sample of 1,500 adults, with the findings isolated for those aged 26 to 45.

3.    Source: ONS 2008.

4.    For a copy of the report please go to http://www.standardlife.com/media.

5.    Damian Barr, 33, is a writer, journalist and playwright. He also hosts a regularly Literary Salon for Soho & Shoreditch Houses. Damian’s first book, Get It Together Survive Your Quarterlife Crisis, was published by Hodder in May 2004 and serialised in The Times.

6.    Robert Opie is a brand historian who manages The Robert Opie Collection, which contains over 500,000 items which together tell the extraordinary story of Britain's consumer society, its lifestyle and culture. For further information visit http://www.robertopiecollection.com.

7.    Standard Life has launched the active money personal pension (AMPP), designed specifically to fit the way this generation want to live and save. AMPP is part of the active money lifeplan, an interconnected suite of pension vehicles designed to flex and grow as lives go on and needs change.

8.    Standard Life has approximately 6.5 million customers worldwide and provides an extensive range of products and services, aimed at meeting the financial requirements of customers throughout their lives.

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