Money worries deepen for over-50s, charity says

More than two fifths (41 per cent) of people aged 50 and over who are not fully retired worry about living in economic hardship when they give up work, according to research from Independent Age.

The older people’s hardship charity surveyed more than 2,200 people aged 50 and over and found that 41 per cent of over-50s had major concerns about their financial future.

The most common financial worry was having less disposable income, with 56 per cent of people citing this.

Some 80 per cent of people did not believe the state pension, currently £208 a week, would be enough to cover essential costs.

Almost one in five (18 per cent) of people aged 60 to 64 are living in deep poverty, according to the latest DWP figures (deep poverty is defined as living in in a household with an income below 50 per cent of median income after housing costs), while poverty in later life is at the highest level since 2007/08.

Independent Age warned there was a “significant danger of a pensioner poverty surge over the next few years,” and called on governments across the UK to act.

Among those who were not yet fully retired, and who do not plan to retire, 39 per cent said this was because stopping work was unaffordable; 67 per cent said they were not confident that their retirement income would be sufficient to cover their rent.

A lack of financial knowledge is compounding the problem, the charity said. Almost half (48 per cent) of those polled said they did not have much knowledge about their financial options after retirement, while 16 per cent said they knew nothing at all.

Independent Age’s chief executive, Joanna Elson CBE, said: “There are far too many older people living in financial hardship, and alarmingly, this new polling indicates that there will be a tidal wave of pensioner poverty without governments across the UK intervening. Nobody should have to experience poverty, it is a tough and isolating way to live, but tragically, it has become commonplace throughout the UK.”

Independent Age has called for policy changes to improve the financial situaton of older people, including an increase in the uptake of social security payments such as Pension Credit; the passing of the Renters Reform Bill to protect older people in the rental market; social tariffs for water, broadband and energy, which are proactively promoted by providers and government; and a cross-party review into real income requirements in later life.

Elson added: “There are already 2.1 million older people living in poverty and a further million teetering on the edge. Now we have more evidence that many people approaching retirement are struggling financially and could soon be living in poverty. More needs to be done to ensure everyone receives the financial support they are entitled to so that no one experiences financial insecurity in older age.”

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