THE average 50-year-old has paid £190,400 in direct taxes by the time they celebrate their 50th birthday - equivalent to around three-and-a-half times more than they have invested in their pension, new analysis from MetLife shows.

Its study of the finances of 50-year-olds shows they have an average of £54,300 saved in pension funds but have paid out more than three and a half times that in tax and national insurance.

People on median earnings starting work at 21 will have paid out £114,148 in income tax with the other £76,000 going on national insurance during the course of their working lives, figures show.

For men, the total direct tax bill by 50 comes in at £205,000 while women pay an average £167,370 in income tax and national insurance.

MetLife believes the amount paid in tax is an illustration of the financial pressures on the group it is calling the Uncertain Generation or UGen – those born between 1961 and 1981.

Dominic Grinstead, managing director of MetLife UK, said: “The amount paid in tax and national insurance by the age of 50 demonstrates the financial pressures and demands experienced by workers in the UK.

“While the tax bill appears high, the good news is that pension saving at present still attracts significant tax relief and is a good way to maximise tax efficiency while planning for retirement.

“We would encourage everyone to seek advice to achieve as much certainty as possible about their financial future.”

People working on to 66 from age 50 on median earnings will find their total tax bill rising to £290,560 - another £100,000 in the last 16 years of their working lives, when their focus will be on retirement planning.

Men working from 21 to 66 will pay a total of £316,950 in tax and national insurance during their working lives while women will pay £247,350, the figures show.