More than half of European staff think they will have to delay retirement

More than half (55%) of Europeans believe they will have to delay their retirement because of the current economic climate.

According to Aon Consulting’s European Employee Benefits Benchmark, which surveyed more than 7,500 workers from across Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the UK, the majority of French (74%) and German (73%) employees are thinking about extending their working careers, followed by the Irish (65%), the Swiss (67%) and the British (60%).

Of the respondents who believe the economic situation will force them to delay retirement, nearly 90% of Irish employees and more than 80% of British employees say they think they will have to delay retirement by over two years.

Oliver Rowlands, head of retirement, Europe Middle East and Africa, at Aon Consulting, said: “Recent events have shown the value of defined contribution pension funds can go down sharply in a recession, which has come as a shock to many people used to gold-plated defined benefit pensions and generous state benefits.

“As responsibility for retirement savings has moved from the state and corporations to the individual, people are increasingly realising they need to take an active interest and take steps, such as delaying retirement, to make sure they are financially secure in retirement.”

“For those aged 40 or younger, pensions may not be top-of-mind, however now is the time to begin setting up a savings plan, particularly as the end of defined benefit pension schemes is increasingly a reality. Those closer to retirement should seek advice based on their personal circumstances and may want to consider moving their retirement investments out of riskier investments in to lower risk investments which will offer greater protection in the period to retirement.

“Finally, for those on the verge of retirement, many will seek to convert their retirement savings to an annuity, which pays them an annual income. The price of annuities can shift from day to day and vary significantly depending on the provider, so shopping around is a must, in order to get the most out of a lifetime’s worth of saving.”

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