Lucy Malenczuk, policy adviser at Age UK, asks how we should keep our finances in check as approach retirement. In this guest post, Age UK explore the findings of their retirement research…
Age UK has just published the findings of its Financial Services Commission, held jointly with the Chartered Insurance Institute. The Commission looked at what the financial services industry, government and regulators could do to make help people remain financially resilient in later life.
We used the term ‘resilient’ because we know from the people who contact us that even those who have saved for their retirement experience shocks, such as divorce, bereavement and poor health that can derail plans overnight.
We looked at the challenges people face from pre-retirement onwards. Amongst other things, we investigated whether the common perception of financially comfortable ‘baby boomers’ who are now approaching retirement is correct (it’s not) and asked whether the industry is ready for population change. Those aged 85+ are expected to be the fastest growing group in the UK but are they also among the worst served by financial services?
However, some of the most heated debates have been around how to provide financial information and advice. Some people are already very well served by regulated financial advisers, but most either can’t afford them or choose not to use them for other reasons.
Making financial checkups the norm
Many people also need broader advice than a regulated financial adviser would usually offer, for example they may need to know more about their housing or working options or other forms of support available to them before they can make a sensible financial decision.
Others may need support to get their papers together and understand them. Age UK believes that the Government’s changes to pensions and the new Care Act represent a great opportunity to join up the advice available to people in later life and make regular financial checkups the norm.
This should start well before retirement, possibly as part of the mid-career review which has been piloted by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and should continue to be available after retirement to make sure that people can make the most of their savings and have independent and good quality advice if they need to pay for care.
So, would you like a financial MOT and if so what should it look like? Do you think banks treat their older customers well? What are the most important changes you’d like to see in the financial services industry to make it easier for people to help themselves to make the most of their money in later life?
Which? Conversation provides guest spots to external contributors. This is from Lucy Malenczuk, policy adviser at Age UK. All opinions expressed here are Lucy’s own, not necessarily those of Which?.