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Over 40s suffering from ‘midlife pensions crisis’

Written by: Adam Lewis
Just one in 10 people aged over 40 feel their retirement planning is going to lead to a comfortable retirement, according to research.

A survey from Just Retirement of 1,200 over-40s found just 13% of those aged 40-45 said they were looking forward to their retirement with a lack of preparation being cited as the main concern.

Indeed 31% of 40-45 year olds said they wished they had started sorting out their retirement sooner, with 18% saying they find pension planning confusing and 10% fearful of making irreversible choices around retirement.

Financial stability was also a concern with 26% suggesting they would need to keep working for as long as possible as they needed the money, and 18% admitting they would need to ‘make some tough decisions at retirement’.

However while those in their forties are worrying about their retirement, the study found 19% of those in their early 50s and 32% of those in their early 60s are more likely to believe they will be comfortable in retirement (see the table below for more).

Stephen Lowe, group communications director at Just Retirement, said: “When people reach their 40th birthday, the idea that they will eventually retire really hits home and the challenge of retirement planning means that they can suffer a ‘midlife pensions crisis’.  This appears to be characterised by confusion, lack of confidence in their retirement provision and concerns about what might happen.

“However – as with the more traditional midlife crisis – as they age and start to take positive steps to meet these challenges, they start to worry less about their retirement until their early sixties almost a third are looking forward to this new stage in life.  That said, the figures still suggest that less than half of people in their early sixties (43%) believe they will be comfortable in retirement which is hugely concerning.

“Taking proactive steps such as speaking to an independent financial adviser, enrolling into a workplace pension scheme and making choices which will ensure you have a guaranteed income in retirement are vital.  No one wants to reach traditional retirement age and find that they are still as worried and confused as they were 20 years before.”

Indeed Lowe said while the age of 50 is currently being proposed as the age in which people have access to the government’s guaranteed guidance service Pension Wise, this research suggests some may value having access to the guidance even earlier.

YM.RetirementTable (003)

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