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'Rock bottom' interest rates blamed for scuppering retirement plans

Published 13/04/2016

Very low interest rates have hit the retirement plans of many workers, a survey has found
Very low interest rates have hit the retirement plans of many workers, a survey has found

Nearly one in four workers expect to work past the age of 65 because more than seven years of rock bottom interest rates have affected their plans, according to a survey.

Some 23% of workers said their retirement plans have been affected by the Bank of England base rate being held at a record low 0.5%, equating to 7.2 million people if the figures were projected across the UK.

Canada Life Group Insurance found that overall, two-thirds (67%) of UK employees now expect to work beyond the traditional retirement age of 65.

Younger workers are particularly likely to expect to work beyond 65, with 85% of those aged 21 to 30 believing they will do so.

This contrasts with those soon to retire, with just 58% of 61 to 65-year-olds saying they are likely to work beyond the traditional retirement age.

According to analysis from Hargreaves Lansdown, very low interest rates mean p eople with cash savings have lost out on about £160 billion in interest compared with the rates they were receiving in 2008 , equating to £6,000 per UK household.

But at the same time, record low mortgage rates have helped home owners to keep their costs down. More than two million first-time buyers have climbed onto the property ladder while borrowing rates have been generally falling or static.

The new state pension was launched on April 6, to help give people reaching pension age on or after that date more certainty over how much cash they are likely to end up with when they retire.

While the new system promises to be more generous to many people who have been self-employed or have taken time out of work to care for family members, its benefits will diminish for future generations.

Canada Life found f inancial pressures are the main reason workers will have to work beyond the traditional retirement age. More than two in five (44%) employees said their pension pot is not enough to retire on at 65, up from 32% who said this in 2015.

Some 6% of people expect to retire post-65 because they still have children to support.

But nearly two in five (38%) gave job enjoyment as a reason they would like to work for as long as possible into retirement, the survey of more than 850 workers found.

Paul Avis, marketing director of Canada Life Group, said: "Seven years of rock bottom interest rates have had a lasting impact on a generation already plagued by insufficient pension contributions."

He continued: "An older workforce - be it out of choice or financial necessity - brings with it many benefits, such as a wider skill set and breadth of experience. Employers also need to factor in a larger number of health issues."

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: "We recognise that people are working longer, which is why we have created a pensions system that encourages millions more to save for longer through automatic enrolment. And we are protecting people through the triple lock which ensures that their basic state pension increases by whichever is highest, earnings, inflation or 2.5%."

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