COVID makes one in six take early voluntary retirement

Almost one in six people (16%) say the pandemic has convinced them to retire earlier voluntarily, a study from Key has found, while 8% revealed they have been forced to stop work earlier than they intended.

The equity release adviser suggested that this figure is likely to increase as the impact of the end of furlough scheme is felt and people either choose or are forced to stop working.

Key’s research, based on a sample of 1,000 people, indicated that nearly three out of five people planning to retire (59%) have felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their plans.

While the biggest impact has been on early retirement, around 11% say they now plan to work part-time after finishing full-time work this year, and another 14% say the pandemic has made them change their retirement ambitions and priorities.

Furthermore, Key found that just under one in 10 (8%) of those expecting to retire this year say their retirement income is lower because of the impact of the pandemic, while 4% say they have more debt as a result and 4% say they have had to help out family with their finances.

Commenting on the research, Key CEO, Will Hale, said: “The pandemic has been a hugely uncertain time for most people but especially those who need to make the big decision about how and when to retire. Some have reassessed their priorities and decided to stop working sooner than imagined while others have lost their jobs or been made redundant – an issue that the end of furlough will only exacerbate.

“While fewer people than you might imagine said COVID has impacted their retirement income, the end of furlough is also likely to hit some people hard – especially if they planned to keep working until they had built up their savings or repaid their mortgage. Should this happen, it is vital that they seek financial advice in order that they can explore  how to make the most of all their savings and other assets as they plan for later life.

“Whether it is getting support to track down any old pension pots, ensuring they receive all the benefits they are entitled to or considering what role housing equity can play – there are plenty of options open to most people that, if properly considered, can help to make things easier.”

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