[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 17 August 2006, 12:16 GMT 13:16 UK
Most expensive year of life: 34
Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, 34
Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, 34, is often seen at expensive venues
Being 34 years old is considered the most costly age, according to a survey.

On average it was the most expensive year, the survey of 1,990 people by Axa Wealth Management suggested, with an average of £32,441 extra needed.

Buying property and home improvements were the biggest expenditures, with weddings, babies and cars also adding to financial pressures.

People aged 25 to 43 rated 26 as their most expensive age, while those aged 55 to 64 said it was 43.

Spending money on holidays, honeymoons and cars were given as reasons for this by the younger age group.

The older group cited property costs, home improvements and helping put their children through university.

For some famous 34-year-olds, it certainly appears to be a time of great change in their lives.

Former soap stars such as Sid Owen, Jessie Wallace and Claire Sweeney are establishing their careers beyond Albert Square and Brookside Close, while Coronation Street's Debra Stephenson is also quitting her role as Frankie Baldwin, not long after blowing out 34 candles on her birthday cake.

Footballer Zinedine Zidane and cyclist Lance Armstrong have more time to spend their cash now they have retired from dominating their respective sports.

Meanwhile 34-year-old actors Ben Affleck and Winona Ryder remain among Hollywood's biggest names, and socialite TV star Tara Palmer-Tomkinson can often be seen enjoying nights out in London's finest - and most expensive - spots.

'Different peaks'

Axa spokesman Colin Nelson said: "While 34 was on average the most expensive year in life for all Britons, this study demonstrates that people of all ages face peaks in outgoings which see them having to cope with major expense at different times in their lives."

He said that most of these expenses were for "pre-planned purchases or events that we tend to expect to happen at some stage".

However, he said despite this, Axa's research found 53% of those surveyed said they had not saved ahead.

The firm said this factor could have "helped fuel rising consumer debt" which had been seen in recent years.

Do you agree with the findings of this survey? Are you 34 years old? Send us your comments using the form below:

I am inclined to agree. While I am just a bit past 34, my husband is exactly this magical age and we anticipate setting our personal spending record this year. Aside from it being our highest tax year ever, we are also planning to purchase a new property and start a new business. I guess the good thing about 34 is that we've had quite a few working years to earn some of the money we are spending. I think this is an age where people really start to think about whether or not the path they are on is the one they want to commit to for the rest of their lives. For us, the answer was no. And change requires investment.
Lisa, Houston, TX - USA

My husband and I are both 34 years of age. We have just moved house, got married, are expecting our first child and therefore need a larger car which we will be buying soon. So we both totally agree with the survey.
Julie Kernick, Bolton, Lancashire, UNited Kingdom

That amused me - I only had a conversation last night with friends where we decided that 34 is the age we'd most like to be for ever!
Heather , Tonbridge, England

Hmmm, I'm turning 31 on Sunday. I've just quit my job to go freelance, I'd better start saving if I'm to have a blowout year coming up.
Paul Dotey, Canada

I'm 34 now, I got marrried in September last year, we've just spent a fortune on home improvements, my wife is due our first baby in three weeks time....Could you spare some change please Mister..??
Paul, Greenock

I suppose this is very true. This is the time I spent a lot of my money doing home improvement and buying furniture for my house.
Fumbani Mkandawire, Blantyre- Malawi

Just come to the end of my 34th year. Having bought a house, 2 cars (wrote one off) and been on a blow out holiday. I would have to agree with the boffins on this one.
Shaun , Luxembourg

I was at my most skint at 34. I had just bought my flatmate out so had a bigger mortgage and had to pay 100% of the bills. I lived on beans on toast with grated cheese and yoghurts. I had to get semi drunk before going out as I couldn't afford to get drunk on pub prices. I even gave up gambling, I cut back smoking and didn't have a car. It certainly made me appreciate things.
Graeme, London

Being in your 30s is expensive, new house, cars, holidays, getting married. Although you cant put a price on marriage and the wonderful years I'll have with my fabulous wife.
Felix, Hamilton

I am 34 years old today and do not agree with this as it is basing it on house moves, weddings, having children etc etc. All these things can be done at other ages.
Moira Weir, Stockport, United Kingdom

As a 34 year old I couldn't agree more. Despite earning a decent salary, I appear to have less disposable income than ever before. Increased taxation, a frightening mortgage and rising fuel costs all add to the pain. With my wife and I expecting another baby in the new year it's about to get even worse!!
Martin Rose, Trowbridge, Wiltshire

I'm 34 this year and having just got married, bought a flat and starting to plan for a baby, this will doubtless be the most expensive year of my life. I really should have saved more during my spendthrift 20s (but, really, who saves in their 20s?!)...
Simon Peters, London, UK

Yes, this year has been the MOST expensive year by far since my birth 34 years ago. Not only have I recently bought a house, my daughter started on quite an expensive pre-school last month (besides suffering a bad fall which required a 4-figure surgery) and I really need to get a car to move around more conveniently.
Alvin Kam, Singapore

I have just turned 34, have a baby due in October, and have had to buy a bigger car, decorate the nursery, and purchasing baby items (not cheap). On top of that, is having to think about a will, life insurances etc now that I will have dependants. So something tells me it could well be an expensive year! At least I don't have to move to a bigger house this year as well. Small blessings I suppose!
Karl, Wokingham, England.

I'm almost 37, and actually agree with the findings, at least in my case. I attended law school from the age of 34 until now, and went into debt more than $130,000 as a result; you can call it the most expensive expenditure (investment) of my life thus far. Then again, I'm running behind my age group in that I don't yet own a house or drive a car. Perhaps once I purchase real estate, especially if in the Bay Area, my law school debt will seem negligible?
Ida, Berkeley, USA

I am 34 and to be honest it has been a mad old year for me doing up flat and having expensive holidays. However what would have been more interesting would have been to see what percentage of income people are spending more per year as £32k for some people (not me) is sixpence but for others is far more than their annual income. Based on what was said above as with many surveys there seems to be no great earth shattering conclusion. I think to have funded this most expensive year I should have set myself up as some form of researcher getting well paid for not really saying that much.
Kath Wells, London

I'm 34 and I've just bought my first house with my partner and we're getting married in six weeks, therefore I totally agree with this article!!
Colette Murphy, Liverpool

I got married aged 34 but we didn't waste lots of money on the wedding, as thats just one day in your life. For me, buying a house aged 28 was my most expensive year so far, until I buy another house that is!
Rachel, UK

Well, I've just turned 34 and now I'm even more depressed about it! Seriously though, I am planning on buying a house this year, so I guess I have to expect this to be a year of large financial outlays, oh well...
Lisa, Sunderland

I really agree! I'm going to be 34 shortly and my wife and I have just had to re-mortgage to do some work on the house etc. We've been married for ten years now so a lot of the stuff we got when we got married is now having to be replaced, crockery, kitchenware, white goods, mattress etc.
Kevin, Surrey

Yes! I'm 34 and in the last 12 months my husband and I have had a second child, bought a house, and our two-year old is about to start nursery. I've never been so broke! But things can only get better, right?
Suki, Harrow, UK

I'm 34 and so far this year, I've bought an engagement ring, am about to buy a £400,000 house with my fiancé and this will need about £15000 - £20,000 spending on it, plus there is the wedding to pay for. Saying that, I'm 35 in October, so I don't see any light at the end of the tunnel!
Tim Baker, Bristol, UK

I could be classed as close on 34 as I am 33. Interesting find that at 34 its more expensive than at 24. Its only really been in the past 2 years that I've began to struggle paying bills though. I think there's more demand on our earnings now than say years ago. Nobody seems to give any tax breaks or understanding that its tough for single people as it is for dual income households.
Dan , Liverpool

Your E-mail address
Town & Country
Phone number (optional):

The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.

Bankruptcy rate forecast to rise
16 Aug 06 |  Business
How high can house prices go?
19 Jul 06 |  Magazine

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific