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Pandemic pushes 154,000 into early retirement

Over 154,000 people aged 55-64 have opted for early retirement due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report.

The LV= Wealth and Wellbeing Monitor found that over 154,000 people aged 55-64 have opted for early retirement because of redundancy and reduced income.

A desire to reduce their risk of exposure to Coronavirus or the pandemic made them reassess their priorities in life, the research revealed.

The LV= research among those who were still working at the start of 2020 revealed that 3% of those aged 55-64 have taken early retirement due to the pandemic.

The research also found that 4% of those aged 55-64 have accessed some of their pensions savings to supplement their income because they have been made redundant or seen their earnings decline.

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The LV= research also highlighted that people were often unprepared for early retirement.

Of those surveyed, 86% of UK non-retired adults had not checked the value of their pensions in the past year. Among those planning to retire in the next five years, three quarters had not looked at their pension value in the last year.

One in three (34%) of those surveyed who were planning to retire in the next five years were not confident they would have enough saved for a comfortable retirement.

The latest figures from Moneyfacts.co.uk have also shown that those planning to retire may find themselves facing a retirement shortfall due to the impact of the pandemic.

Average annuity income was minus 6.3% in 2020, a third consecutive year of falls.

Pension fund growth fell to 4.8% in 2020, down from 14.4% in 2019.

Recent figures from the Office of National Statistics have also indicated unemployment among people aged over 50 has been rising sharply since the start of Coronavirus pandemic. Women in particular have been more likely to exit the labour force. In the ONS’ latest Labour Market figures for the three months to November 2020, the fall in the number of women working past age 65 was 71,000, or 11%, the largest for any age group.

HMRC data shows consumers drew £2.3bn out of their pots under Pension Freedoms during the third quarter of last year.

Clive Bolton, managing director of savings and retirement at LV=, said: “Early retirement is attractive for many people – but it can become a financial nightmare if it is forced on people without any planning because of redundancy or illness.”

LV= surveyed 4,000 nationally representative UK adults via an online survey conducted by Opinium in December.

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