Research reveals health and wealth as the top retirement concerns

Health and wealth issues are the top retirement concerns, according to a new survey of workers approaching retirement (age 50+).

The study, carried out by WEALTH at work – leading financial wellbeing and retirement specialist, found that more than two fifths (43%) of those surveyed are concerned about deteriorating health and over a third (36%) about declining mobility.

More than a third (35%) worry about not having enough money to enjoy themselves, nearly a third (32%) are worried about running out of money in retirement, and 29% are concerned about affording future care costs although this may be alleviated to a degree by the latest government announcement on care cost funding.

However, it’s not just health and wealth which has the nation worried when it comes to their retirement prospects. Interestingly, more than a quarter (26%) are worried about becoming bored, nearly a fifth (19%) about becoming lonely, and 14% say they are concerned about becoming depressed.

Jonathan Watts-Lay, Director, WEALTH at work, comments; “It’s only natural to have some worries about retirement.  As people get older, deteriorating health and declining mobility are common concerns. Whilst many people are likely to live for twenty to thirty years past State Pension age, ‘healthy life expectancy’ (the number of years lived in good health) has remained much lower than life expectancy and is now 63.4 years for males and 64.1 for females.”

He adds; “Financial worries are also a top concern at retirement. Whilst some may worry about how they are going to cover unexpected expenses in retirement, for example car repairs or needing to replace the boiler, the reality is that most people are sensible in retirement and adjust their spending according to what they need.”

Watts-Lay explains; “It’s important to encourage employees not to bury their head in the sand and to actually think about how these issues could affect them in later life. Everyone’s experience in retirement is likely to be different but the sooner it is planned for, the better. A big part of this is getting them to think about how much income they are going to need in retirement. This includes essential income to meet day-to-day living expenses (household bills etc.), and discretionary income for holidays, hobbies etc. They also need to consider how this income requirement may change over time. For example, research from the Pensions Policy Institute suggests that spending generally decreases over time during retirement, as recreation and other expenditure tends to reduce with age. But for some, spending could increase if extra care and support is required due to declining health.”

He concludes; “Retirement planning is a complex area and many employees will need help to talk through the issues. Many leading workplaces offer their employees wellbeing support which covers areas such as financial and health & wellbeing issues in the years leading up to retirement. From the implementation of financial education workshops, or offering digital tools and one-to-one guidance sessions, to offering access to regulated financial advice – all can help to increase knowledge and develop understanding of the key issues employees will face as they approach retirement.”

The research of 1,320 UK adults age 50+ in employment was carried out by Vital Research between 20th May and 4th June 2021. The results are available here.