29.05.09

Nearly Two-Thirds of 50+s Expect to Have to Work Longer.

As the recession and falling interest rates impact the value of savings, pensions and annuities, almost two thirds of over-50s fear they may have to work longer than planned according to a joint report by the Age Concern and Help the Aged charity.

Their study found that 60% of 943 respondents said they may need to delay their retirement and just under half (47%) admitting they were more concerned about their pensions and savings than at the start of this year.

The report said sentiment had been hit by the increase in the number of workers over 50 being made redundant as the economic outlook and points to official figures from the Office for National Statistics showing that over the past year, unemployment among people aged 50 or above has risen by 47%.

“These figures paint an extremely bleak picture for millions of over 50s whose working lives are at risk of being cut short by the recession,” said Michelle Mitchell, charity director for both Age Concern and Help the Aged. “Those who do lose their jobs will face significant obstacles to getting back into work, leaving them financially vulnerable as they approach retirement. For many over 50s, one of the lasting legacies of this recession will be a retirement blighted by poverty,” she added.

The study reinforces the findings from another report published this week that 61% of adults surveyed in the UK said they would support raising state pension age if it meant the state pension would be more generous.

The international survey conducted by the Financial Times/Harris Poll found that attitudes towards longer working lives vary widely among industrialised countries, with some experiencing relatively large increases in the percentage of older workers in employment.

For example, in the US - where two-thirds of those surveyed said they would favour delayed retirement - the percentage of those employed beyond 65 has increased from 12.5% in 2000 to 15.5% in 2007, according to data from the OECD.

However, in Italy, which also appears to favour extended working, the rate of older workers remains almost unchanged since the start of the decade at 3.2%.

Attitudes towards the role of government in providing retirement benefits also varied widely. Only 8% of Americans and 20% of Britons said the state should have primary responsibility for providing pensions – but roughly half of people in both countries believe responsibility should be divided between individuals, employers and government. But in  Spain, over two thirds (69%) believed the state should be primarily responsible. 

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