'Worrying' 47 per cent of over-55s want to manage their own retirement finances

Over a third (35 per cent) of UK adults would prefer to manage their retirement savings themselves, increasing to a "worrying" 47 per cent amongst over-55s, research from Smart Pensions has revealed.

However, the research, conducted by YouGov, also found that 37 per cent of over-55s would want some support, with 7 per cent wanting someone else to manage their finances entirely, and 30 per cent wanting to remain involved with assistance.

Furthermore, seven per cent of over-55s stated that they did not know their preference regarding managing finances during retirement, whilst 20 per cent did not understand their options around finance at retirement at all.

The survey also found that over half (52 per cent) of over-55s are concerned about being able to afford a limited lifestyle in retirement, with a further 13 per cent expecting to delay their retirement as a result of the pandemic.

In addition to this, Smart revealed that just 20 per cent of adults see retirement as a one-off event, stating that the findings had revealed a “complicated picture” for people approaching retirement.

In particular, it found that around half (51 per cent) of over-55s view retirement as a several stage event, with respondents reporting a broad range of expectations as to when they will retire.

A quarter of respondents stated that they have accessed or expect to access their retirement savings between the ages of 50-59, increasing to 33 per cent for between 60-69, 5 per cent for between 70-74, and 2 per cent for between 75-79.

Commenting on the findings, Smart global MD, Will Wynne, said: “While the headline impact of Covid is shocking news for a million people approaching retirement in the UK.

"This survey demonstrates that the nature of retirement is changing and fast.

"We know people want to be in control of their finances, but worryingly 47 per cent of adults aged 55+ who expect to retire or are already retired, want to go it alone."

The findings also come amid the launch of Smart Retire, a new product which guides members through the run up to retirement, designed to give users flexibility to plan and manage savings in a personalised way.

Wynne added: “Retirement is complex and people need help if they are to make the most of their savings.

"That’s why we’ve invested hundreds of hours testing and refining our new Smart Retire solution which gives people flexibility, puts people in control, but also helps them balance the important decisions to ensure they are using their money in the right way.”

The product aims to help fill the advice gap through guidance rather than advice, although the solution can be used in conjunction with professional advice.

It has been designed to be as flexible as possible in order to allow users to scenario plan and change their pension strategy as required, and has four pots; two income pots, the flexible income and later life pot; and two savings pots, the rainy day pot and inheritance pot.

It will be available to members of the Smart Pension Master Trust initially, with plans for a global roll out in 2021.

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