A survey carried out by Ipsos MORI has found almost half of people in their 50’s and 60’s believe their financial situation will get worse due to the coronavirus pandemic1.

Half of 50-70 year-olds who are currently furloughed or of working age but not in employment, said they aren’t confident they will be employed in the future2. As reported by BBC News on 9 June 2020, 8.9m workers were being covered by the government’s furlough scheme3.

Tom Ross, chief financial officer at BHSF, believes the coronavirus crisis could lead to retirees facing poor health.

“The figures from the survey are very worrying and we’ve already seen Universal Credit claims made by the over-50’s more than double between March and May4.

“Data from Ipsos MORI highlights over a fifth of people in the 50-70 age group have seen their physical health deteriorate due to coronavirus, not just during lockdown5.”

Retirement

Workers in their 50’s and 60’s might have been thinking about retirement. But it seems COVID-19 may have put those plans on hold.

Research from Legal & General Retail Retirement has found 1.5m workers aged over 50 will delay their retirement as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On average, those who plan to delay their retirement expect to spend an additional three years in work. 10% admit they could delay their plans by five years or more6.

Ross believes some workers may feel they have no choice but to delay their retirement.

“While some people may choose to work for longer, it seems that many are deciding to put retirement plans on hold due to the financial impact of the pandemic, rather than by personal choice.

“Workers who feel they may be forced to delay their retirement should try to get an understanding of their total savings. Some people may have more saved than they anticipate in the form of forgotten pots from previous employment.”

Younger employee concerns

The over 50s may be feeling the financial strain and are having to delay their retirement. However, a survey from YouGov suggests younger people are worried more than any other age group about the impact coronavirus will have on their finances, the unemployment rate and wages in the long-term.

Seven in ten 18-24 year-olds worry COVID-19 will harm the job market and cause higher unemployment for a long time.

And just over two-fifths of 18-24 year-olds believe coronavirus could have an impact on their household finances compared to 24% of people aged over 657.

Ross acknowledges young workers may have taken a hit financially as some could be working in the leisure, retail and hospitality sectors, which have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown.

“There are young people who are in those jobs at the moment or were in those jobs before coronavirus hit. If they’re not able to get back into work then there may be long-term consequences for them.

“Findings from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) showed that the virus lockdown was likely to hit younger workers the hardest8.”

Managing finances

Research from Citizens Advice has revealed over 13m Brits haven’t been able to pay, or expect to be unable to pay, at least one bill because of the coronavirus outbreak9.

Whilst acknowledging some workers may be feeling under pressure financially, Ross adds employees shouldn’t be afraid to get support and that help is out there.

Employers can put things in place to help, such as signposting to debt support, providing advice through Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) and communicating support available from the government such as mortgage holidays and offering hardship grants.

“EAPs can provide employees with fast access to professional counselling services, should emotional support be required as a result of financial problems.

“Concerns around not being able to provide for a family, make next month’s payments or anxiety around receiving bills in the post can be addressed.

“Banks including Lloyds, TSB, Halifax and Santander have also put measures in place to help, such as payment holidays on mortgages or loans.”

1, 2 and 5 – https://www.ipsos.com/ipsos-mori/en-uk/covid-19-impact-lockdown-older-generations

3 – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52977098

4 – https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/uk-news/universal-credit-claims-over-50s-18463650

6 – https://www.legalandgeneralgroup.com/media-centre/press-releases/15-million-people-plan-to-delay-retirement-because-of-covid-19/

7 – https://yougov.co.uk/topics/economy/articles-reports/2020/03/25/coronavirus-young-brits-most-worried-about-jobs-an

8 – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52176666

9 – https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/how-citizens-advice-works/media/press-releases/millions-facing-financial-cliff-edge-when-coronavirus-protections-end2/