Half of Australians over the age of 45 are financially unprepared. But they’re also facing modern challenges of higher mortgage debt, boomerang kids, and later retirement. As MetLife’s Head of Advice Strategy, Jeff Scott explains, talking to a financial adviser about life insurance cover can help protect these priorities if serious illness or injury prevent you from working.

Retirement might seem over the hill for many over 45s, but as those long-promised years inch closer, it becomes more important to work out if you have enough life insurance to avoid financial stress, especially if the unexpected happens If you or the primary income earner in your family becomes ill, injured or dies, you could be leaving yourself and your loved ones financially exposed.

MetLife and associated research show that, while 66% of people over the age of 45 understand the importance of financial planning, 51% are more concerned about today than tomorrow1 and:

  • only 51% are on track to meet their financial goals1
  • 29% are still living pay to pay1
  • 95% of families don’t have adequate insurance, which means Australia is underinsured by $1.37 trillion2.

Jeff points out some of the risks of being underinsured for Life and TPD later in life include, “mortgage stress, difficulty covering basic living expenses, not having enough money for your children’s education, and not being able to afford the retirement you deserve.”

Research also shows over 45s are dealing with a tougher financial landscape than their older counterparts, the Baby Boomers, and the Silent Generation3.

“This age group is underinsured largely due to a changing world,” notes Jeff, highlighting common challenges such as:

  1. Debt – "Over 45s are likely to still have significant debt, with a growing number of 55-64-year-olds still paying off the mortgage," says Jeff. "This rising trend of older Australians carrying mortgages into retirement will have a negative impact on the wellbeing of an increasing percentage of Australians as the population ages."
  2. Boomerang kids – "Many in this age group are parents to the boomerang generation, adult children living at home for longer due to unaffordable housing, low wages, and an insecure job market with low full-time employment rates," explains Jeff. "This is driving a trend of young people leaving home but returning when financial pressures get too much."
  3. Divorce – "One in three Australian marriages end in divorce4, which can have a long-lasting financial impact," says Jeff. "For example, the likelihood of mortgage payment stress is twice as high for divorcees.5"
  4. Retiring later – "Financial pressures mean an increasing number of over 45s will need to keep working and retire later6," adds Jeff. "But 23% will be forced to retire due to sickness, injury or disability7 potentially making them financially vulnerable.”

Even though many people in this age bracket have significant financial commitments, Jeff says, “It’s important to think about ways to create financial wellbeing and peace of mind.”

Ready to bring your financial plans up to date and prepare for the future? Speak with your super fund and a financial adviser about your options.

If you don't have a financial adviser already, Metlife can help connect you with one near you - find an adviser.


  1. MetLife Employee Benefit Trends Study 2019
  2. Rice Warner Underinsurance Report (2015
  3. Retirement and Retirement Intentions, Australia, July 2016 to June 2017 – ABS 
  4. Fast facts on marriages in Australia – McCrindle research
  5. Mortgage Stress and precarious home ownership: Implications for older Australians – AHURI
  6. Older Australia at a glance – Australian Institute of Health and Welfare research
  7. Australia's welfare 2015 – Australian Institute of Health and Welfare research