More than half (54 per cent) of UK adults say the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has affected their plans to retire, according to new research from Aviva.
The findings lay bare the polarising impact of the pandemic and its stop-start effect on people’s future plans. While some people envisage retiring earlier and have gained confidence about living comfortably once they retire, nearly one in five (18 per cent) feel less secure about their financial future, peaking at more than one in four (27 per cent) aged 35-44.
Across the generations, the 35-44 age group are the most likely (68 per cent) to have felt some impact on their retirement plans from the pandemic. This has been positive for some, including one in ten who used lockdown to save more for their retirement.
But almost one in six people (14 per cent) aged 35-44 anticipate their retirement date may be pushed back, while 16 per cent have lost confidence in their ability to live comfortably once they have retired.
Aviva’s findings show nearly three in five (59 per cent) people feel the pandemic has made them question what’s important in life, while half have said it has changed their priorities.
However, the research reveals a nation polarised when it comes to deciding its own destiny. While 41 per cent say the pandemic has made them feel they can take more control of their priorities, the same proportion (41 per cent) say they have less control than they did before.
When it comes to their finances, more than two in five UK adults (41 per cent) say life during Covid-19 has encouraged them to build more long-term savings. People aged 35-44 are most likely to feel compelled to save more for their futures (54 per cent), followed by 51 per cent of those aged 25-34.
However, 27 per cent overall say they feel less comfortable about coping with unforeseen events than they did before the pandemic. This includes 29 per cent of those aged 44-54 and 24 per cent of over 55s.
Aviva’s findings also show more than half (53 per cent) of UK adults have suspended or cancelled a planned life event during the pandemic.
Among those affected, almost one in six (16 per cent) have held back from starting a new job; 13 per cent have postponed buying a new house; 12 per cent have thought twice about starting a new business; one in 10 (10 per cent) have pressed pause on trying for a baby; and the same (10 per cent) have postponed getting married.
Despite more than half (54 per cent) of people feeling that life has been ‘put on hold’ during the pandemic, many are now seeking to progress quicker with their future ambitions. Among this group, 19 per cent are fast-tracking a move to a new job; 13 per cent will start a new business; and 13 per cent are trying for a baby.
Alistair McQueen, Head of Savings & Retirement at Aviva, says: “For many of us, the pandemic has had a profound impact on our outlook and caused us to look again at our priorities. The experience of a global health crisis has led many people to put plans on hold and consider the wider implications around significant issues like retirement plans.
“The experience of having decisions taken out of our hands through successive lockdowns has left many people longing for a sense of control. But much as it’s encouraging to see people striving to build more long-term savings, our findings show anxiety about the future is still weighing heavily on their minds.
“As we all juggle personal priorities against a backdrop of uncertainty, it’s important to look for steps that can help us take control of our circumstances as best we can. Through practical guidance on decision-making and tools like our Mid-Life MOT app, Aviva is committed to help people put plans into action and keep life on track for the future they aspire to.”