One in four older workers to delay retirement

One
in four older workers in the UK are now planning to retire later than they had
thought two years ago, according to a survey by consultants Watson Wyatt.

The
firm, which advises many of the UK’s largest companies on pensions and employee
benefits issues, examined the responses of 4,500 UK workers aged 50 to 64 to
the recent declines in equity markets.

It
found that not only are 25 per cent now planning to delay their retirement
plans of two years ago, but there was a strong positive relationship between
those delaying retirement and those most affected by the stock market decline.

Some
49 per cent said their savings have ‘declined a lot’ over the past three years,
and 20 per cent that they have ‘declined a little’. Eleven per cent said their
savings had remained largely the same, while 20 per cent said theirs had
increased.

The
survey also found that those who reported declines in the value of their
savings were more likely to reduce equity exposure.

Women
were found to be significantly more likely to reduce their equity investment
than men.

"The
bear market from the end of 1999 is the first time in which significant volumes
of retirement savings were at risk in equity markets," said Jonathan
Gardner, an economic researcher at Watson Wyatt.

"The
euphoria of the late 1990s was such that this decline, or at least its scale,
was probably not anticipated by most investors."

By Ben Willmott

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