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Life starts at 50 for women living it up in East London

PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:30 05 October 2010

LIFE appears to be starting’ at 50 nowadays for older women in East London who are opting for the single’ life, according to latest Government figures. The number of SWOFties, that’s Single Women Over Fifty,’ has gone up five per cent in 10 years

By Mike Brooke

LIFE appears to be starting at 50 nowadays for older women in East London who are opting for the single’ life, according to latest Government figures.

One-in-five over 50 are going solo, suggesting the number of SWOFties, that’s Single Women Over Fifty,’ has gone up five per cent in 10 years, according to findings by Opinium Research.

The number across East London, the City and West End has reached well over 100,000.

Tower Hamlets, for example, is reckoned to have 11,500 SWOFties,’ slightly outpaced by neighbouring Hackney’s 13,900 and Newham’s 14,000, with another 13,300 in Barking & Dagenham and around 40,000 more in the rest of East London. Add another 16,700 in the City and Westminster.

A quarter of single 50 and 60-something women said they’ve never been happier, while 17 per cent now use social networking sites and actively date, according to the survey carried out for the Department of Works & Pensions.

“The stereotype of the sad, old spinster is now a myth,” said Christine Northam from Relate, the relationship counselling charity.

“Many of these women are more glamorous and in control of their lives than they’ve ever been, making the most of these golden years.”

But while the SWOFties’ appear to be living life to the full, many are not quite in control of their finances, the Department of Pensions warns.

A quarter said they didn’t have a financial plan for their future and a third knew little or nothing about the State pension.

The Department is calling on SWOFties’ to make sure they are prepared for changes coming into force in April which mean more women than ever qualify for a State pension.


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