Martin Lewis gives advice on auto-enrolment pensions
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Pension saving will be important for Britons to secure the future they are hoping for, but alongside this, financial security in the present is likely to be a major preoccupation. It is finances, though, which have been hard hit by the pandemic, causing many women, and indeed men, to reevaluate their life plans. Recent research from SunLife has demonstrated the far-reaching impacts of the pandemic visited on Britons as a whole.
However, older women were found to be currently bearing the brunt of a financial decline during this time period.
Some 29 percent of women over 50 have said they are now financially worse off as a result of the pandemic.
On average, these women have lost £449 a month, which has also had a knock on effect on mental health.
Of those asked, 40 percent of women over 50 have seen their mental health decline compared to 26 percent of men over 50.
The consequences of the pandemic for many people, but particularly over 50s, has been palpable.
SunLife found almost half of over 50s who were employed at the start of the pandemic have either lost their job, been furloughed or had their hours or pay cut.
While this can have an impact on a person’s circumstances in the present, it can also serve as a domino effect for later down the line.
When a person’s finances suffer, it means they will be less likely, or indeed unable, to put money aside, whether into a pension or otherwise, for later life.
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With over 50s close to, or entering, retirement, this could prove devastating for later life.
For those who still remain in employment, three quarters of over 50s said their work-life balance has become worse as a result of the pandemic.
Ian Atkinson, marketing director at SunLife, commented to Express.co.uk on the matter.
He said: “Our research shows that the pandemic has taken its toll on older people’s mental health, and women more than men.
“The disruption to jobs, worsening work/life balance and reduced incomes has almost certainly had an impact.
“Almost half of people over 50 who were working at the start of the crisis have seen their job negatively impacted and 39 percent are now worse off than they were before.
“But with the vaccine programme well underway and the roadmap for the easing of restrictions now in place, at least now there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
“Older people can hopefully start feeling a bit more positive about the future.”
The financial and social pressures of the ongoing crisis may be difficult for people to bear.
However, there is action which can be taken to potentially remedy the dire circumstances some are facing.
For those who are worried about if they have not saved enough for retirement, money expert Jasmine Birtles provided further insight.
Firstly, she suggested checking when people will be able their state pension, and how much they will receive.
On the Government’s website, there is a state pension forecast which provides further information, either via the online tool, by phone, or downloading an application form.
Another tip is to conduct a budget, putting together all income and expenditure, and then eliminating any unnecessary costs.
If there is a shortfall, some of the options available to people are looking at their eligibility for benefits, such as a Council Tax Discount.
But the best way to top up a retirement pot is often considered as bringing in further income.
People may wish to consider a part-time job, or turning a hobby into a way to make money, and some roles can even be conducted from home.
In addition, after a person reaches the state pension age, they will pay less tax and no National Insurance, enabling them to keep more of what they earn.
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