Covid-19 Pandemic Impacts Retirement Plans | moneyfacts.co.uk

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MONEYFACTS ARCHIVE. This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Derin Clark

Derin Clark

Online Reporter
Published: 25/01/2021

Many workers hoping to retire in early 2021 will have had their retirement plans shattered by the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on the economy. Last year saw a turbulent stock market, which may have impacted the pension pots of those hoping to retire soon. As well as this, 2020 saw saving rates fall to historic lows – further impacting some workers’ retirement savings.

While the pandemic had wreaked havoc on many people’s retirement plans, it was not all bad news as last year pension funds grew by 4.9%, albeit this was much lower than the growth of 14.4% achieved in 2019.

Despite the pension fund growth, the impact of the pandemic on the economy and people’s everyday finances, along with falling annuity incomes, will mean that those set to retire soon may not have as much in their pension fund as they expected.

Annuity income fall

Indeed, those looking to retire with an annuity income will be disappointed by the latest Moneyfacts.co.uk research, which found that the average annual annuity income has fallen for the third consecutive year.

Last year saw the average annual annuity income fall by 6.3%, however this fall was less than the previous year when it fell by 8.5%. “Retirees considering an annuity would be disappointed to see another fall in the average annual income for the third year in a row, so it would be understandable for them to favour pension drawdown instead,” explained Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfacts.co.uk. “Indeed, since pension freedoms were introduced in 2015, annuity income has fallen for five out of the six years. Growth has not been seen across the market for one full year since 2017, which was just 1%.”

Dangers of pension drawdown

As Springall highlighted, the fall in annuity incomes has resulted in more retirees considering pension drawdown instead. Pension drawdown enables retirees to withdraw money from their pension pots, with 25% of withdrawals from the pension pot being tax-free. To find out more about pension drawdown read our guide on how pension drawdown works.

Although pension drawdown can be good way for some retirees to fund their post-work lifestyle, it has the risk of pensioners running out of money during their retirement, especially as many people underestimate their life expectancy.

In addition to this, some consumers have had to use pension drawdown to take money from their pensions due to the financial impact of the pandemic, as Springall explained: “In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, some consumers may have made the decision to dip into their pot using pension freedoms or plan to do so soon. Billions of pounds were taken out of pensions during Q3 2020 according to HMRC and this money could have been drawn for more immediate financial issues or even to help a family member during challenging times.”

As the economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic continues, workers looking to retire soon should consider getting independent financial advice to discuss their best options.

Releasing property equity to boost retirement income

For those already retired or who are about to retire soon, there are a number of ways that they can boost their retirement income.

Those who own their own home can consider downsizing to a smaller property or one located in a cheaper area. Alternatively, homeowners who want to remain in their property, can consider equity release, although this has long-term financial implications and, as such, they should speak get independent financial advice before making the decision. More information about equity release can be found on our equity release explained page.

Disclaimer

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