But I think it’s fair to say that for many older workers, Covid-19 and the subsequent fall-out may well take that decision out of their hands.
To be told that your job no longer exists is going to be hard no matter what age you might be.
However, if you’re an older worker and had no plans to retire before the pandemic hit, then you may well feel even more dismayed by such an outcome.
Some might point at such workers and say, “Well, get another job.” But as I think we all know only too well, the older you are, the more difficult it can be to get work, especially with the same salary, benefits or hours.
Experience counts for a lot – it’s one of the reasons why more people are happy to work past the traditional retirement age and why more employers will hire those in this age bracket. But it can also mean the individual can be perceived to come with a hefty ‘price tag’ and employers might wonder how much longer they will be willing to stay in employment.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) throw into sharp focus the large numbers of older people who have already been impacted by Covid-19 and the subsequent recession.
According to the ONS, employment amongst the over-65s was already down by 161,000 in quarter two this year compared to the previous quarter, and while some of those might have already found other employment, there may be a great many who believe their working lives are now essentially over.
As mentioned, if you were not ‘ready’ for such a momentous life decision you may well feel you are not in a position financially to be able to cope with a greater period of retirement than you anticipated.
Again, according to the ONS, men who are currently aged 65 can expect to live until they are 85, while women of the same age live a couple of years longer. That’s 20-years-plus retired and, it will not need me to tell you, that average pension pots are ill-equipped to deal with this amount of time, without earning any supplementary income or finding other retirement solutions.
Equity release provides more options
Advisers, I suspect, will already be hearing from individuals who now find themselves in a vastly different situation than they were at the start of the year. Retirement, which may have seemed a long way off, has not just crept up on them, but bolted headlong through the door, leaving a worried individual who might wonder how they will cope going forward.
The good news of course is that such individuals have more options to deal with these changed circumstances – could they have coped were a similar situation to have hit them 10/15/20 years ago? They certainly wouldn’t have been able to access the equity within their home through the variety of products available today, that’s for sure.
Clearly, we’re not saying that equity release or a retirement interest mortgage (RIO) is going to be right for everyone, but if they do own their own home, at least they have a greater number of potential solutions at their disposal. Ones that won’t just allow them to stay in their home for the foreseeable future but will also provide them with the income they may need in order to have a far more comfortable retirement.
In a society with an ageing population, and where the advice need of older consumers is that much greater, advisers who can offer a range of later life products should find a growing demand and a commercial opportunity which could make all the difference to those older clients who need that help now, perhaps more than ever before.