Majority of over 50s have house paid off and cash in the bank
Seven out of 10 people aged over 50 have no mortgage on their home.
Research has found that older people own more property and have higher savings than younger people.
But there are large differences in the levels of income that pensioners get and the gap is widening, a new academic study has found.
More than seven out of 10 people over the age of 50 have a mortgage-free home, the report on wealth of older people by the Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (Cardi) has found. And the income of older people is higher than for those under the age of 24. Pensioners have an average weekly income of €446, after paying income tax, according to the research group that operates on a not-for profit basis on both sides of the border.
Those between the ages of 16 and 24 have a weekly disposable income of €418. Incomes are far higher for people in the age groups that make up the majority of the workforce.
For those between the ages of 25 and 49, the weekly average income is €790 after tax and pay related social insurance.
People between the ages of 50 and 64 have a disposable income of €654 a week, Cardi found.
Seven out of 10 of the over 50s own their own home outright, and have average savings of €5,500.
When the over 65s were looked at, it was found that 87pc own their home outright.
Just over half of the housing stock is held by those under the age of 50. But there are huge disparities between the incomes of pensioners. A quarter of pensioners rely solely on the State for their income.
Prof Paddy Hillyard, of Queen's University, Belfast, one of the researchers, said older people possess significant wealth. "The research illustrates the differences in assets and income across the generations, confirming what we have long known that older people have accrued the majority of assets such as property and savings," he said.
"However, the research also shows that there is considerable inequality among older people themselves."
Paul McGill of Cardi said it was not true that older people had been protected during the recession.
"The evidence shows that it is a myth that older people as a group have been protected from the recession – the average incomes of the poorest fifth of pensioners have fallen by €24 per week in the last two years," he said.