A fifth of older workers forced to delay retirement due to pandemic

Nearly one in five (19%) employees aged between 65 and 74 have delayed their retirement as a result of the pandemic, according to a new report from Close Brothers.

The research also showed that 14% of those between the ages 55 and 64 have also been forced into making the same decision.

The report, titled Expecting the unexpected: a spotlight on preparing for a crisis, has highlighted the extent to which the past 12 months have changed the financial plans of employees across the UK.

Close Brothers also revealed that its research, based on responses from a sample of 2,000 UK based employees, showed that 20% of employees approaching retirement age (over-65s) had admitted to not having an accessible savings fund.

Despite this, just 5% of those employees between 65 and 74 recognised that they were financially unprepared for the coronavirus crisis and subsequent lockdown that followed in March 2020. The research showed that this figure more than tripled to 16% among the 55 to 64 age group.

Close Brothers head of financial education, Jeanette Makings, suggested the COVID-19 pandemic risks being a “sliding doors” moment for UK employees and their employers.

“It has impacted financial health in a multitude of ways, with some suffering hardship, some having to postpone long held plans and others benefitting and adding to savings,” Makings commented.

“At the forefront of those best able to help employees improve their financial health are their employers; they are trusted, they can reach large numbers of people via the workplace, they already offer rewards and benefits that can be used to improve financial wellbeing and both employee and  business performance will benefit from improved financial health.

“Understanding employees financial health as a whole, and knowing those that need most help, has to be the starting point to ensure that an inclusive, effective, and targeted financial wellbeing programme is implemented. A single channel, ‘one size fits all’ financial wellbeing approach is likely to fail many.”

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