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Brits spend as much time financially preparing to tie the knot as having children

28 September 2016 by Stacey Stothard

Research from us has revealed the level of financial preparation that Brits put into major life moments.

  • New research from Skipton Building Society reveals how we underestimate the impact of some of the biggest moments in our life
  • More than half of Brits feel moving in with a partner had a major impact on their lives - higher than taking higher education, moving out of home or retiring
  • But one in three of those who have not yet moved in with a partner think doing so would have no impact on their lives at all

More than half of British people say that moving in with their partner had a major impact on their lives, according to new research which shows the biggest decisions we’re most likely to rush into.

The study from Skipton Building Society reveals that we tend to perceive moving in with a partner as a decision that has a bigger impact on our lives than taking higher education or retiring. Despite this, one in three (30%) of us spend less than a fortnight deciding on whether to move in together.

We also underestimate the impact that big decisions can have on our lives. Nearly a third (31%) who have not yet moved in with their partner think it will have no impact at all if and when they did so, compared to just 4% of those who have moved in.

Women are significantly more likely than men to say that these decisions had a major impact on their lives. Almost half (48%) of women report moving in with a partner had a major impact, compared to around one third (31%) of men.

This also leads women to spend more time deciding and planning before taking the plunge on a big decision. A third of men (34%) take less than two weeks to decide to move in with a partner, compared to just a quarter of women (27%).

Our decisions in numbers

Life moment The age we make it The time we spend deciding
Have children for the first time 26 12 months
Getting married 25 11 months
Buy our first home 27 9 months
Write a will 38 7 months
Moving to a new location for the first time 23 5 months
Seek professional financial advice 30 5 months
Changing career for the first time 26 5 months
Move out of home for the first time 20 4 months

When asked about the age we make the biggest decisions in our lives, more than 10% of us say it happens at the age of 18. However, this tends to change as we age. Those over the age of 45 point to 29 as being the age when they made their biggest decisions.

A change: is it as good as a rest?

The survey asked how people feel about preparing for life moments. It found that Brits are generally open to change, with 40% saying that they don’t mind change and 25% enjoying it. However a similar proportion (28%) say they either hate it or find the prospect very difficult.

As we get older, we tend to become more relaxed but less enthusiastic about change. For those over the age of 55, more than half (51%) say they don’t mind change, but fewer than one in six (15%) say they actively enjoy it.

Commenting on the results, life coach Carole-Ann Rice says:

“Change is an enabler not something to be afraid of, so it’s always encouraging when people are open to embracing it. However, big moments in life need planning to ensure they go the way we want them to. It’s important to start by working out what you want to get out of any decision while keeping aware of the potential for things to go wrong.

"To keep the right balance it’s important that we celebrate the small achievements as well as preparing for the big moments. We often get so caught up in planning the next big occasion that we fail to appreciate the everyday moments that can be just as important as major milestones.”

Senior Propositions Manager at Skipton Building Society, Jacqui Bateson, comments:

“Preparing for your life ahead is an important decision in itself but it’s not always clear where to turn or which approach to take, especially when it comes to financial planning. Everyone is different so it’s a case of identifying where your priorities lie, and looking for the support that will best suit your needs. The main thing to keep in mind is that most financial decisions are best viewed in the longer term. From starting a pension to writing a will, these sorts of decisions are vital for ensuring our financial well-being later in life so it’s never too early to make a start.

"Our research reveals that not seeking financial advice is a common regret for one in ten people and that many more underestimate the impact that this could have on their life. At Skipton, we’ve been helping people to plan for their life ahead for almost 164 years. Our recent decision to integrate our financial services arm means that now more than ever, we’re right here for you, whatever decision it is that you’re considering.”

Additional statistics:

  • Moving to a new location: 44% say this had a major impact on their lives, but we only spend four and a half months deciding and four months planning on average
  • Moving out of home: 46% say this had a major impact, but we spend only five months deciding and four months planning on average

More information, case studies, and interviews with Jacqui Bateson and Carole Ann Rice are available on request. Please contact:

Zoe Blackburn
H+K Strategies
020 7413 3013

Rebecca Willey
Skipton Building Society
01756 705955

For all other enquiries about Skipton, please contact the Skipton Press Office on 03456 017247, email or visit the press section of our website at

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