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Tom Wright: Improving ‘financial resilience’ of older people

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We are “woefully underprepared” for our ageing society. That was the conclusion of the House of Lords Select Committee on public service and demographic change chaired by Lord Filkin earlier this year.

Central to that is the fact people just aren’t saving enough for retirement and their later life. New research for Age UK has found that just under a quarter of people aged 50-64 – those rapidly approaching state pension age – think there is no point saving.

Worryingly, that is not because the majority have already made provision for their future. More than a quarter said they were worried about having enough to live on. Only 15 per cent thought they had saved enough already.

We also frequently hear from older people about the problems they face with money matters, and the lack of solutions that really work for older people. While auto-enrolment is a massive step forward, it will not have time to reap its full benefits for people close to retirement.

That’s why we’re launching the Financial Services Commission – which I will co-chaired with Dr Alexander Scott of the Chartered Insurance Institute.

Launching on 5 December, it will be take the form of a series of three summits in which we will work with key industry leaders and consumer experts to examine how to improve the “financial resilience” of older people – their ability to weather the challenges that might lie ahead.

The commission will culminate in June next year with the publication of a roadmap of actions that regulators, government and industry need to take to help keep future and current pensioners financially resilient.

We have chosen to focus on resilience because we think it’s an important indicator of whether people will thrive in later life. As we enter our later years, it is not our finances alone, but our accumulated health, social and financial resources that are crucial to our standard of living and well-being and  our ability to withstand shocks and difficulties.which can derail plans over-night.

Our rapidly ageing population makes this among today’s most pressing issues. By 2025, a fifth of the UK’s population will be aged 65 and over. This increased longevity is absolutely to be celebrated but every part of society needs to adjust.

It is also a huge opportunity for those in the financial services industry who can provide products and services that really work for older people and enable them to become and remain resilient.

The Commission will focus on three key later life stages with the first summit, held this Thursday, concentrating on 50-64 year olds and whether it is too late to save. This will be followed by the second in February which will focus on how the recently retired can best maximise their income and in March by the third summit which will look at how those in later older age – the fastest growing segment of our population – can stay financially included.

We are confident that by bringing together industry leaders, regulators and experts on the needs and aspirations of older people, the Financial Services Commission will be able to come up with some tangible ways forward to help  older people to remain financially secure, plus identify some new markets and products for the financial services industry.

Tom Wright is group chief executive of Age UK

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Comments

There are 4 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. One thing you can do to help pensioners is to urge Steve Webb to remove clause 20 from the new pension bill. This minister is intent on continuing the discrimination of the 4% of pensioners who retire to certain countries, mainly in the commonwealth. This disgraceful policy affects less than half of expats and is blatantly wrong. Ones entitlement to a state pension is dictated by ones contributions and where one lives is irrelevant. This clause must be removed to bring the present victims of this outrageous discrimination out of poverty and to ensure future pensioners are not victimised by this theft of their cost of living increases. A frozen pension is a stolen pension. Shame on the UK government.

  2. Whenever you read about pensions there is the question of people not saving enough for retirement and the DWP pushing their auto enrollment and other pension changes but fail to implement the state pension in a just and democratic not to mention lawful manner in a modern and honest society. They deprive a minority of their rightful paid for pension by freezing them and as a consequence they receive no increases ever unlike the majority 96% who do get it in a variety of other countries around the world.
    So the British government are responsible in part for many people having insufficient funds in retirement.
    Perhaps when we get an honest government this anomaly (their word) will be addressed and the clause that will freeze future pensioners will be removed from the Pensions Bill along with the regulation that imposes it on current ex-pat pensioners.

  3. Andy Robertson-Fox 3rd December 2013 at 12:47 pm

    i HAVE TRIED TO COMMENT THREE TIMES OVER THE PAST 24 HOURS BUT THE SCREEN KEEPS COMING UP WITH AN ERROR NOTICE….

  4. Centaur testing. Please ignore.

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