Pandemic forcing older workers to change retirement plans


The pandemic has forced many older workers to delay retirement, with some concerned they would only be able to afford a limited lifestyle if they went ahead with their current plans.

This is according to a YouGov poll of 2,114 UK adults, which found 13% of over 55s who expect to retire in the future are planning on delaying their retirement due to the Covid-19 crisis, while 52% of all UK adults are concerned about not being able to afford their current lifestyle.

Will Wynne, global MD of Smart, which provides retirement guidance, said: “While the headline impact of Covid is shocking news for a million people approaching retirement in the UK, this survey demonstrates that the nature of retirement is changing and fast.

“We know people want to be in control of their finances, but worryingly 47% of adults aged 55+ who expect to retire or are already retired, want to go it alone. Retirement is complex and people need help if they are to make the most of their savings.”

More than half (51%) of over 55s feel retirement is an event that takes place over several stages. A quarter expect to, or already have, access their retirement savings between 50-59 years of age, but two-thirds plann to first access, or had accessed, their savings when they were in their sixties.

Twenty per cent admit they do not understand their options around finance in retirement. Asked whether they wanted some support to manage their finances, 37% want some support; 30% want some assistance, but want to remain mainly involved; and 7% want someone else to manage their retirement finances entirely.

The survey also asked what participants look for in a pension provider. Some 27% of over 55s want to be able to change their income if their financial needs change, while 29% want the ability to withdraw ad-hoc lump sums.

The government recently set out plans to require workplace pension schemes to ‘nudge’ members towards getting advice from its Pension Wise service when they apply to access their savings. A trial involving three pension providers saw a significant uptick in the number of Pension Wise appointments booked.

Smart recently launched Smart Retire, a technology platform that allows workers to plan and manage their retirement savings.

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