Pandemic causes wave of over-50s seeking financial advice

The pandemic has created a surge in over-50s seeking professional financial advice, according to new research from Scottish Widows.

Almost half (46%) of independent financial advisers (IFAs) in the UK have reported an increase in the number of over-50s reaching out to them over the last 18 months.

The research, based on a study among 200 IFAs, suggested the most common reasons for the surge in advice are for pension planning (56%), early retirement (54%), part or phased retirement (53%) and accessing their pension at the point of retirement (53%).

Financial adviser, Matt Pathmanathan, who works for AMG Wealth Solutions, commented: “In my whole career, I have never received so many enquiries from those in their fifties as over the last 18 months. The pandemic has given this age group an opportunity to get off the hamster wheel of life and take stock, providing them with unprecedented time to think about their futures and their retirement plans.

“Whether they are enjoying their job or not, those aged over 50 are considering all options – how many years they have left before retirement, and for some even whether they can retire early. We help clients make sense of it all, acting as a kind of comfort blanket in helping them make decisions with a full understanding of the financial ramifications.”

Scottish Widows also reported growing interest in green and ethical investments among over-50s, with more queries about investments in ‘green’ companies (44%) and ethical issues (42%).

The pandemic has also prompted many over-50s to reconsider their retirement plans altogether. The study found that 46% of respondents say more employees in this age bracket are asking about taking a phased approach to retirement, while the same proportion (46%) have seen an increase in requests to delay their planned retirement date.

Scottish Widows head of intermediary distribution, Siobhan Barrow, said: “A sudden shift in financial status can often feel overwhelming. Money worries cause people to experience difficulties in lots of areas in their lives, from their physical and mental wellbeing to their personal relationships. Even those seeing an unexpected uplift in wealth may be confused about how they should feel and respond.”

She added: “It’s encouraging to see many over 50s open enough to speak to others and take positive action, like increasing pension contributions. Your fifties is the critical time to get finances organised and we must ensure more people, of all ages, feel comfortable seeking out professional advice.”

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