PROFESSIONALS reach their earning power peak in their 40s while their salaries drop again during their 50s, according to new research.

Saving potential is at its lowest during the decade pre-retirement as average wages drop and household spending goes up, pensions and retirement specialist Friends Life said.

Workers can expect a salary drop of £400 a year once they turn 50, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

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The majority will see their salary peak between the ages of 40 and 49 to an average of £33,459, according to Friends Life, which analysed the ONS figures. The average income falls to £33,059 when people turn 50, and by a further 6% to £31,052 when they reach 60, a Friends Life spokeswoman said.

The pensions specialist found that those aged between 50 and 64 were left with just £231.53 a week once necessary expenses were accounted for. The fall in earning power for this age group coincides with an increase in household spending, the research found.