Pension plans and retirement options to be altered following lockdown – guidance issued

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Pension plans and retirements have had to be reorganised by millions of people in the UK in recent months. While the obvious impacts of coronavirus, such as economic damage, have largely contributed to the need for change, new research sheds light on how the societal toll is also hurting would-be retirees.

Audley Villages, the retirement village company, recently conducted a survey of 2,002 UK adults, with 1,001 being older than 55.

According to their research, it was revealed 47 percent of people how have yet to retire and have experience lockdown loneliness are now reconsidering their later life plans.

As the first lockdown kicked in over a third of people in the UK reportedly experienced greater feelings of loneliness, which particularly affected those aged 18-34.

This has left a lasting impact, which may continue to worsen as England enters a second lockdown.

Audley Villages’ research revealed 46 percent of people are now worried they will experience loneliness in the future.

As a result of this, a quarter (26 percent) of people who have experienced loneliness and have not retired plan to stay busy with activities and social groups when they get older, 17 percent want to ensure they are part of a strong community, 15 percent will move closer to family and 12 percent closer to friends to have a strong support network close by.

Additionally, 43 percent revealed they will do “anything they can” to avoid loneliness in the future.

The prospect of losing one’s job is also weighing on retirement plans according to additional research from Standard Life.

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According to their own poll of 1,000 adults aged over 55, it was revealed 36 percent of over 55s would look for another job if made redundant, because they don’t believe they could afford to retire now.

This figure rose to 45 percent for those under the current State Pension age of 66.

John Tait, a Planning Specialist at Retirement Advice from Standard Life, commented on the findings: “While support measures have been put in place to curb unemployment, we’ve regrettably seen a raft of redundancy announcements as a result of Covid-19 with huge speculation that more announcements will follow in the months ahead.

“Those nearing retirement are understandably feeling particularly concerned about job security and are looking for reassurance and support when it comes to saving for the future.

“But our research and experience of working with clients in this situation has found that for some a redundancy could provide an opportunity to change or even accelerate their retirement plans.

“While the process can feel daunting, there are a series of steps people can take to adapt their plan.

“The best place to start is pulling together a view of all their potential retirement incomes, pension pots and savings.

“When you have this, you can work with a professional planner to get an accurate projection of the retirement income and lifestyle that is possible.”

While furlough plans have been extended, it should be noted employers will still need to cover National Insurance contributions and pension payments, potentially putting a strain on company finances and damaging worker security.

Retirement plans will also need to change soon given planned alterations to retirement ages.

Currently, people can access their private pensions from the age of 55 but this will be raised to 57 in 2028.

Additionally, state pension age is set to rise to 68 in the coming years.

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