Research by Scottish Widows found that 39 per cent of people north of the Border now feel pessimistic about the long-term financial situation, up from just 23 per cent before the June referendum and compared to 32 per cent of respondents across the whole of the UK. Four in ten said they felt pessimistic about retirement –up from three in ten prior to the vote – and 49 per cent said they felt pessimistic about the general economic situation, up from 44 per cent before June and compared with 40 per cent of the UK as a whole.
Respondents in Scotland were also more likely to believe that Brexit would have a detrimental impact on their ability to prepare adequately for retirement (at 38 per cent in Scotland compared to a UK average of 29 per cent). Almost three in ten expect they’ll have to retire later as a result.
But this isn’t just about the EU referendum, according to Carl Melvin, director of Affluent Financial Planning in Paisley.
“We are fearful of uncertainty, just like the stock market. From a Scottish perspective, Nicola Sturgeon is determined to push for a second referendum on independence, The concern also lies with the dawning reality of where Scotland would be economically if we had voted for independence, so we have uncertainty over Brexit and the possibility of separation from the UK.”
It may also be that with most people in Scotland voting to stay in the EU, those respondents are more likely to regard Brexit as economically negative, according to Paul Lothian, co-director and chartered financial planner at Verus Wealth in Dundee.
“This aspect is therefore in mind when answering the survey this time around and resulting in increased pessimism, whereas last time the possibility of an EU exit was not negatively influencing participant responses.”
Some of the firm’s clients were worried about the impact of Brexit on their finances, said Lothian, but the recent stock market improvement has helped allay those fears. “The truth is that none of us know what the economic, social and political impacts of Brexit will be. Uncertainty is never welcome, but ever-present.”