Are you ready for a ‘happy’ retirement? - Brian Sloan

Six in ten Scots are certain they will not have enough money to comfortably live on when they retireSix in ten Scots are certain they will not have enough money to comfortably live on when they retire
Six in ten Scots are certain they will not have enough money to comfortably live on when they retire
Most workers across Scotland I’m sure have found themselves daydreaming at the photocopier envisioning what their perfect retirement would look like. The traditional perception of a ‘happy’ retirement is perhaps travelling the world, indulging in hobbies, learning new skills, or just enjoying some well-earned downtime.

However, our latest research reveals that this dream may not be a reality for many with six in ten Scots certain they will not have enough money to comfortably live on when they retire. The YouGov poll commissioned by Age Scotland found that only 35 per cent of respondents were certain they had enough money to retire, with women a lot more uncertain than males, arguably highlighting the gender pension gap. Our poll paints a worrying picture of how financially unprepared Scots are for retirement. Amidst the biggest squeeze on household income in over 30 years, workers of all ages, especially those nearing retirement, are bound to be concerned about how the cost-of-living crisis might impact their income to enjoy later life. There’s real fear we are going to see a growing retirement poverty gap as living costs continue to rocket.

In Scotland we have the highest proportion of pensioners in persistent poverty than the other UK nations and it has been on the increase. It doesn’t get anywhere near enough attention. We’re urging workers to plan ahead as a very large group of people we polled will face a big drop in their living standards in later life if they do not take action now. Planning your retirement has arguably never been more important. No matter how far away it may seem, it's good to start reviewing your finances early in your career, and preferably contribute substantially to your pot, to ensure your future income will allow you to enjoy the lifestyle you want. As you approach retirement it’s good to get your finances in order — decide how you will spend your pension pot, deal with any debt, trace old pension pots from previous jobs and boost your retirement income by ensuring you claim benefits you are entitled to. Our expert advisors can carry out full benefits check to determine what financial support is available to older people and help claim their money. Between April 2021 and March 2022, our helpline identified £180,274.44 in unclaimed pension credit for older people in Scotland. That’s a lot of money going to waste that could be helping older people in need live more comfortably.

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Employees shouldn’t be on their own when it comes to making decisions in relation to retirement. As the number of over 50s in our workforce continues to grow as the population continues to age, we believe there is a real need for organisations to support employees plan for life after work. Talking openly about retirement allows organisations to engage their older workers, maximise skills and succession plan. However, only a fifth of UK workers feel that they can talk openly with their manager about their retirement plans.

Brian Sloan, chief executive, Age Scotland.Brian Sloan, chief executive, Age Scotland.
Brian Sloan, chief executive, Age Scotland.

We recently held our ‘Lead the Way in Age Inclusion’ event with attendees from over 30 Scottish organisations and discussed pre-retirement planning. Although three quarters of organisations attending the event offer their workers pre-retirement support, only 32 per cent of those employers think the support they offer is adequate. Age Scotland’s Planning For Your Future workshops allows older workers to prepare for retirement and to feel comfortable talking about their plans with their employers. If you are looking to start planning your retirement and want support then book on to our workshop.

The right advice and some effective forward planning could make a real long-term difference to the shape of your financial future and make those ‘happy’ retirement dreams come true.

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Brian Sloan, Chief executive, Age Scotland

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