Almost half of people aged 50 are concerned about economic hardship

29th February 2024

Almost half (41%) of people aged 50 and over who are not yet fully retired are concerned about living in economic hardship after they stop working, according to new research by the older people’s financial hardship charity Independent Age.

According to latest figures, 18% of people aged 60-64 are living in deep poverty. If governments across the nations do not take action, there is significant danger of a pensioner poverty surge over the next few years, warns the charity. The warning comes at a time when poverty in later life is at its highest level since 2007/8, with 2.1 million older people already living in poverty.

The new UK wide polling of over 2,000 people aged 50 and over highlights a severe lack of confidence among those approaching retirement about their financial situation in later life. The biggest concern of those not fully retired was having less disposable income, with 56% highlighting this as a worry. An overwhelming majority (80%) of those over 50 also thought the weekly rate of the full new State Pension, currently £203.85, would not be enough money to cover their essential costs.

Retirement might not even be an option for many approaching later life. Among those polled who are not yet fully retired and who do not plan on fully retiring, 39% said this is because they cannot afford to stop working. Housing costs were another issue, of those polled who are not yet fully retired and renting, 67% said they were not confident that their retirement income would cover their rent.

The research also revealed a worrying trend, with people conveying a widespread lack of understanding about their finances post-retirement. 48% of respondents said they didn’t have much knowledge of what financial options would be available to them once retired, while 16% knew nothing at all. When asked about their general financial situation after retirement, 45% said they didn’t know very much and 11% said they knew nothing at all.

Joanna Elson CBE, Chief Executive of Independent Age, said “There are far too many older people living in financial hardship, and alarmingly, this new polling indicates that there will be a tidal wave of pensioner poverty without governments across the UK intervening. Nobody should have to experience poverty, it is a tough and isolating way to live, but tragically, it has become commonplace throughout the UK.

“Governments across the UK must take notice of the warning signs. There are already 2.1 million older people living in poverty and a further million teetering on the edge. Now we have more evidence that many people approaching retirement are struggling financially and could soon be living in poverty. More needs to be done to ensure everyone receives the financial support they are entitled to so that no one experiences financial insecurity in older age.

“It’s essential to improve the lives of older people already living in financial hardship and instil confidence in those approaching retirement. Nobody should be left behind in later life, financially insecure and struggling to get by. Everyone deserves the opportunity to live well as they get older.”