We all know that life is getting more and more expensive. Whether you’re saving for a wedding or planning on buying your first home, you might be shocked to find out just how much money you need to set aside.

And with prices looking to continue rising for the foreseeable future, this begs the question; have these different life events always been this expensive, or is it only recently that the cost of such celebrations has started to mount?

To find out, the team at Reassured analysed how much it currently costs the average Brit to pay for five major life events, and how long they would need to save to acquire the necessary funds. We also compared current prices to what was required 10 and 20 years ago.

As you might have already guessed, the price difference is rather substantial.

How much does the average Brit save per year?

It goes without saying that everyone needs to set some money aside at the end of the month to save for upcoming celebrations and unforeseen events.

And the more you can save, the sooner you’ll reach your milestone goals.

Nowadays, the average person in the UK is setting aside £2,843.19 annually.

That’s £1,108 more than in 2013, and a whopping £1,941.51 more than in 2003 when adjusted for inflation.

But as we’ll soon see, this increase in savings is for good reason.

How much do Brits need to save for key life events?

Money vs milestone infographic

We know that people today are putting away a lot more money than in the past, but just how long will it take the average Brit to save for important occasions, such as having their first child or buying their first car?

And how does this compare to the previous two decades?

1. Weddings

As of March 2023, the average cost of a wedding is now a mind-boggling £18,400. This is compared to the £14,066.72 it would have cost back in 2013, and in 2003, it cost just £10,783.12.

Based on the average saving rate, this means that it would take the average Brit 6.5 years to reach the savings required for their wedding in 2023, and upwards of 8.1 and 11.9 years respectively if you were matching the average savings in 2013 and 2003.

Of course, these calculations assume that you stay within your wedding budget.

However, studies suggest that as many as 48% of couples end up going over budget when planning for their wedding, with plenty of unforeseen costs cropping up.


2. House deposits

While buying your first house is a major achievement that everyone should feel proud of, before you can even think about browsing the housing market, you first need to save up for a deposit - the total amount of which will vary for everyone.

However, for first-time buyers in particular, the average house deposit currently sits at roughly £62,500.

This is no small amount for those barely stepping into the working world or currently renting and is several thousand more than the £47,780.99 average for 2013 and £36,627.43 average in 2003.

And if that didn’t already put things in perspective enough, based on the average saving rate, it could take up to 21.9 years for the average Brit to reach this savings goal - though this pales in comparison to the 27.5 years it would take by matching the average 2013 savings, or the staggering 40.6 years it would take if you needed to save this much back in 2003.


3. First homes

Speaking of saving to buy your first home, the average deposit is nothing compared to the average house price experienced by first-time buyers.

In fact, while the average deposit is £62,500, the average price of a Brit’s first home is an astounding £302,010 - that’s £125,020.30 more than in 2003.

And if that wasn’t a steep enough price to pay, if you were to save for a house without considering a mortgage, it would take you an eye-watering 106.2 years to reach this total in 2023, with it taking 133.1 years in 2013 and 196.3 years in 2003.

To top this all off, it’s not uncommon for buying your first home to take far longer than our average suggests, with 32% of people saving for their first home also saving for their wedding at the same time.


4. First children

Few events in your life are more meaningful than the birth of your first child, but even this special day doesn’t come without a substantial financial investment.

In fact, our research suggests that it could cost parents as much as £11,250 per year to raise their first child, compared to just £8,600.58 in 2013 and £6,592.94 in 2003.

Now, while this might not appear nearly as expensive as the cost of other life events, this average cost of £11,250 only accounts for 1 year.

When totalled up for the cost of 18 years of childcare, this means that the average parent is looking at having to save a colossal £202,500 in order to raise their first child to adulthood.

This means that, for just one year of childcare, the average person would need to spend 3.9 years saving in 2023, and a total of 70.2 years of saving to cover the full 18 years.


5. First cars

Lastly, we have perhaps everyone’s first important life milestone.

There’s something distinctly liberating about buying your first car, once you get past the initial price point at least, and fortunately, the cost of buying your first car is much lower than any of the other occasions on our list.

New cars come in at an average of £6,600, though even this smaller investment is nearly double that of previous decades.

Compared to 2023, previous generations' first cars cost only £5,045.67 in 2013, and only £3,867.86 in 2003.

Still, first-time car buyers will no doubt be happy to hear that they only need to set aside funds for 2.3 years before they can afford their new vehicle, though this will be closer to 4.3 years if they were saving the same amount of money as the average person in 2003.

In summary

Sadly, it’s clear from many of these stats that the cost of any significant life event has only been rising over the years, and it may very well keep rising, which not only makes it important to save where possible, but to also take precautions to deal with unforeseen events that may affect your income.

Here at Reassured, our team of experts specialise in offering family life insurance from some of the UK’s leading provider.

We also can offer income protection insurance through our advised business.

During these uncertain times, life insurance can provide reassuring peace of mind that your loved ones will be taken care of financially even if you are no longer around to provide.

Methodology:

To calculate how long it takes UK adults to save for these key milestones, we first researched the cost of each milestone using the following sources:

Wedding - https://www.hitched.co.uk/wedding-planning/organising-and-planning/the-average-wedding-cost-in-the-uk-revealed/

First home - https://www.statista.com/statistics/557882/first-time-buyer-average-house-price-by-region-uk/

First child (per year) - https://cpag.org.uk/policy-and-campaigns/report/cost-child-2022

First car - https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/motoring/motoring-news/todays-new-drivers-spend-lot-26601584

Then, we analysed how much UK adults save on average every year via ons.gov.uk personal household and finances data, to calculate how many years it takes UK adults to save for each of these key milestones.

For the 2013 and 2003 data, the figures have been adjusted based on inflation rates provided by the Bank of England.

Please note, the data displayed in this article is correct at the point of publication 13/07/23

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