More than half of savers approaching retirement age have checked the performance of their investments in recent weeks, a survey has found.
Pension provider Aegon surveyed more than 1,100 people towards the end of March to find out how investors are behaving as a result of coronavirus and market volatility.
It found that 53% of 55 to 64-year-olds had checked their investments in the past four weeks.
This compared with a third (33%) of 18 to 34-year-olds.
Aegon said the findings suggest that younger investors with longer-term savings goals are less anxious about current volatility. It said this could also partly be because younger investors may have less money currently saved.
There’s a risk that people, particularly those without an adviser, may panic and react to market movements by rushing into financial decisions that could have long-term adverse consequencesSteven Cameron, Aegon
The research also found that 18 to 34-year-olds in particular have taken current market conditions as an opportunity to invest, with 28% making one-off investments, compared with just one in 10 people aged 55 to 64.
Steven Cameron, pensions director at Aegon, said: “In these exceptional times, with volatile markets, there’s a risk that people, particularly those without an adviser, may panic and react to market movements by rushing into financial decisions that could have long-term adverse consequences.
“After the significant falls in stock markets, it can often be in individuals’ interest to avoid cashing in stock market investments and look to draw money from other sources of savings.
“It can also make sense if possible to take less income or only what you really need right now. It’s always good to seek advice, and especially so in the current climate before taking any big decisions.”
Helen Morrissey, a pension specialist at Royal London, said: “It’s good to see that people aged 55 to 64 are engaging with and checking the value of their pensions but it is important that they do not make knee-jerk reactions.
“Deciding to switch investments or suspend contributions may actually make things worse and crystallise their losses.
“While younger investors have time to make up their losses, older investors, by making the wrong decision, may back themselves into a corner from which there is no easy escape.
“We would recommend speaking to an adviser before making any decisions which could affect their long-term financial stability.”