'All-or-nothing' retirement plans rising amid pandemic, says Hargreaves Lansdown

The Covid-19 pandemic has “fuelled a rise in all-or-nothing retirement plans” as more people hope to leave employment early, according to research from Hargreaves Lansdown.

Research from the firm, which surveyed people on their retirement plans in 2018, 2019 and 2020, found that the proportion of people who said they wanted to give up work between the age of 50 and state pension age had more than doubled from 4 per cent to 10 per cent between 2019 and 2020.

Hargreaves Lansdown personal finance analyst, Sarah Coles, said: “The crisis prompted more of us to reassess our priorities and make crucial decisions about how we want to work in our 50s and 60s.

"For some people, it has opened their eyes to the compromises their working life has forced on them, so they’re keen to leave it all behind as soon as possible.

“There has been a huge rise in women who want to stop work altogether, trebling from just 4 per cent the previous year to 12 per cent after they had felt the effects of the pandemic.”

The pandemic also appeared to have increased the degree of certainty with which people approached their retirement, with the research showing that the number of people who said they did not know what they wanted to do between age 50 and retirement dropped from 30 per cent in 2019 to 24 per cent in 2020.

This was particularly prevalent among men, with just 20 per cent of male respondents in 2020 saying they did not know what to do, compared with 30 per cent in 2019.

The research, which Hargreaves Lansdown conducted with Opinium, also found that the proportion of people who said they wanted to carry on working full time in the years running up to retirement had increased from 38 per cent to 42 per cent.

Coles noted that “both women and men are more likely to say they want to work full time up to state pension age now”, pointing out that for many people this choice had been underpinned by financial considerations as falling income had “forced some people to put away less for the future, or even to start eating into it”.

She added: “For others, there has been far less control over the decision. The pandemic has forced many older people out of work altogether. The Financial Conduct Authority found that almost three in five (58 per cent) people who retired between March and October 2020 did so because of Covid-19.

“While the figures show how quickly our plans can change, they underpin how important it is to make decisions about your retirement early on so that you have enough time to prepare.

"Stashing cash in your pension pot when you’re in your 30s or 40s will help ensure you do have choices about when you can retire and just how much work you want to do into your 60s and 70s.”

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