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Pandemic sparks money worries among the over-50s

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The pandemic has caused a third of over-50s to worry about their finances, a new report from SunLife has revealed.

The report polled those over 50 on the current state of their finances, and their confidence about the future. Of those with money worries, two-thirds are more worried about their finances than before the pandemic arrived, while a third admit to being concerned that their money will run out.

Around one in four (27%) people over the age of 50 reported being worse off financially as a result of Covid-19. The financial impact of the pandemic hasn’t been small either, with older people worse off by £445 a month on average. The number who have been financially impacted jumps to 39% of those over-50s who were in work at the start of the pandemic, while the scale of the impact grows to £458 a month on average.

Working nine to five

Almost half (46%) of those working over-50s have seen their job and income affected by the pandemic. More than a quarter (28%) have been furloughed, while more than one in 10 (12%) have lost their job entirely. A third have seen their hours, pay, or both cut.

The SunLife report found that the pandemic has been particularly tough for those over-50s who work for themselves, with two-thirds (67%) of self-employed workers seeing their business affected.

New figures from the Office for National Statistics this week revealed that unemployment has grown to its highest level in five years.

Damaging our pension pots

The pandemic has impacted the pension planning of the over-50s too. The study found that of those who were contributing to a pension before the pandemic, one in 20 have either stopped contributions altogether or reduced the amount they are paying in.

This follows a separate report from Unbiased this week which warned of the prospect of a ‘long Covid’ effect on the nation’s pensions, with so many people opting to pause or reduce their pension saving in order to cope with the lower incomes.

Who is more worried?

Around 40% of over-50s said they were worried about the next 12 months, though this jumped to 51% when focusing just on those aged 50 to 59.

Women were found to be more worried, with almost says saying they are concerned compared to less than a third of men.

Women were also found to be more likely to have money worries ‒ one in four said they were concerned about whether their money will last, compared to one in six men.

Justin Cole, director at SunLife, said: “The pandemic has been tough, financially, for so many, and our research shows that for older people who were either self-employed or working in one of those ‘at risk’ industries like retail, hospitality or entertainment at the start of the pandemic, it has been particularly hard. Sadly, one in eight people over 50 have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic, rising to almost one in five in retail, while many are worse off than they expected to be at this point in their lives.”

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