I was asked for my views on this article: The impact of COVID-19 on thinking about and planning for retirement. It was written in October, 2021 and 18 months on things may have changed. Back then there was plenty of things I still avoided, such as live gigs with crowds, but I’m happy to attend now.
The research explored if Covid-19 has had an impact on thinking about and planning for retirement; in particular had changes been made regarding savings or working.
Approaching 66 I’m in the population being discussed. I could retire if I wanted to, and I was deeply affected by the covid pandemic, as were many of us, and all in our own way.
One of the participants said:
You know one thing you are always conscious of as you get older, is that what you’ve got left in the top of the egg timer is a lot less than what’s in the bottom, so … and there’s no doubt that Covid has reinforced a notion of making the most of it while you’ve got it. But I think for me, the key thing is … is getting your priorities right.
And I can relate to this, more conscious of not wasting time and letting things go. Doing what is right for me.
MONEY AND WORK
Some worried about whether their pension pot would be enough, and if they would need to continue working – ‘well beyond state pension age’.
Some spoke about how they were no longer in a final salary pension scheme and how with the amount of money the government spent during covid what will the impact be on investments and their pension
People recognised that to maintain their lifestyle they would need to continue to work, at least part-time.
There is also the recognition on for how long can they continue to work?
For those whose income source is working tax credit they will find they get more money when they get their state pension.
Covid-19 has made it easier to opt for flexible working and working from home is less physically demanding than a more physically demanding job.
Some others, who continued to work during Covid-19 were focusing more on saving more to alleviate money worries in the future.
While some accepted the benefits that could come from working more, working longer and saving more – postponing retirement and prolonging working lives – there were also individuals for whom the pandemic had hastened the decision to retire. This was often clearly related to a wish to ‘make the most of what is left’, accepting the finite nature of life.
it’s more about getting on with life while you can, you never know what’s round the corner, so whilst we debated and kept putting off doing things, I think now it’s basically let’s just do it because you never know … it just shows you, you never know what’s around the corner.
As with my first quote, I’m drawn to people who want to make the best of their lives to come as we just never know how much longer we have. I know so many couples who had great plans for what to do after retirement and then one died or developed a chronic illness that scuppered plans. Each time I’ve spoken with a widow whilst travelling they said how much they wish they had travelled years before to do it as a couple rather than alone.
COVID CHANGED OUR PLANS
I guess for me I’ve lost two years of the lifestyle I was hoping to have, so it’s become more important to do what I can with the rest, and that’s how my life’s changed … like making sure I make the best use of the days that I have already.
Covid affected us all in different ways. Affecting travel plans and social plans, with many of us not returning to life as it was. It can mean we change what is important to us. I bought a wood with my partner so now I’m more likely to be moving a wheelbarrow full of logs, or relaxing in my hammock, than at a sweaty club watching live music.
The article concludes by saying that whilst covid-19 encouraged many to rethink pension plans and savings, many still need to consider this.
BRINGING THIS UP TO DATE
A Gallup poll has identified that 57% of people not yet retired DO NOT expect a comfortable retirement, so they will plan to continue to work, even if that’s not what they really want.
Interestingly an article by Kerry Hannon included that although 20% of workers plan to continue to work in retirement, only 3% do so, partly down to the difficulties in getting work due to ageism, caring duties and health issues.
ARE YOU READY?
I’ll get my state pension on my birthday, in late August! I have pension provision and will continue to work while my brain is active.
Not everyone has savings, or a personal/occupational pension, and I raise this question with some people I know and find they want to put it off for another day … but the time to consider this is now.
My research (leading to my book out in late 2023) was focused on rethinking retirement including what gives us meaning and also why we work. We may need to carry on working. A practical idea is to see how well we can manage on what we would get if we are now retired, and to see how we can perhaps earn more or maybe save more.
This wasn’t an article I’d planned to work but challenged to read and give my views I wanted to share with you too. I have a lighter article planned for next time 😊