Just 14% of over-55s take regulated advice before retirement

Only 14% of retirees over the age of 55 took regulated advice or guidance before taking retirement, according to new research from Just Group.

The retirement services firm also found that just 4% took Pension Wise guidance, the government’s free, impartial pensions guidance service.

Just Group said the research highlights a “relatively low use of professional support” among retired and semi-retired people aged 55 and above, and called for automatic guidance booking to be piloted to ensure many more people receive professional support when stepping back from work.

The findings, which were based on answers from 1,043 retired and semi-retired over-55s in the UK, showed that just one in 10 (10%) saw their own financial adviser, while only 4% saw an adviser arranged by their employer.

“Stopping full-time work is a huge financial step and involves complex choices,” commented group communications director at Just Group, Stephen Lowe. “Yet most people take a DIY approach and go it alone rather than engaging professional help.

“While not everybody will have access to an adviser or will want to pay for regulated advice, that doesn’t explain the very low number benefitting from the free guidance from Pension Wise which is available to all those aged 50 and above with a defined contribution pension.”

The research revealed that 40% of retirees had conducted their own review of their personal finances to assess their income and outgoings in retirement, a figure that was nearly twice as high among men (51%) than women (27%).

Furthermore, three in 10 people (30%) said they didn’t do any financial assessments and just retired, but this rose to half (51%) of those who retired when they started to receive the State Pension. One in eight (13%) also said they had no time to plan because they were forced to retire.

“State Pension Age still remains a key anchor point for giving up work,” Lowe continued. “While early retirees are more likely to have made financial plans, those retiring at State Pension age are more likely to say they didn’t plan, they just retired.”

He added: “There is support from the industry, charities, Money and Pension Service and consumer groups for a pilot scheme to test the effectiveness of automatic booking which we believe offers the best measure strong enough to achieve the government’s objective of making Pension Wise use the ‘norm’ among people needing to make the best of their pension savings.”

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