Over 50s struggling to understand retirement options

More than a quarter (26 per cent) of people in their 50s don’t understand the retirement options available to them from age 55, according to Fidelity research.

Survey results, which come ahead of April’s five year anniversary of pension freedoms, showed that almost a quarter (24 per cent) had not altered their retirement plans in the wake of the reforms.

One in four (25 per cent) of those in their 50s thought the freedoms had encouraged too many people to take their money as a lump sum and risk their future income, now that annuity purchases are not required.

More than a quarter (26 per cent) believed that reforms were a positive step but more education is needed, while 15 per cent thought poor decision making could be avoided by introducing compulsory consultation with a financial adviser.

Almost a third (31 per cent) of those in their 50s believed that it was right for people to have control over their money, higher than the 29 per cent figure registered by the total population.

Fidelity International director of workplace investing, Maike Currie, said: “Five years of pension freedoms also marks five years of pension confusion as people struggle to fit all the pieces together.

“Deciding how to access a lifetime’s worth of savings is no easy feat and this must be matched with desired income level, life expectancy, tax considerations and unexpected costs as life takes its various twists and turns."

Currie said it was “no surprise” that many people had still not made any changes to their retirement plans as they were still “confused by the options available to them”.

“This anniversary presents an opportunity. Nearly one million people will reach age 55 in 2020 and the industry now has five years’ worth of learnings. This a chance to further simplify the options available to people, introduce new initiatives like the pension dashboard, increase education and ultimately support more people on their retirement journey, whatever that may be,” added Currie.

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