Prospect of retirement leaves people in cold sweat says survey

MANY people come out in a cold sweat when faced with the prospect of retirement and a third have no idea if they have enough money to survive it, according to an extensive new survey by Skipton Building Society which studied our antipathy towards giving up work and explored ways to make the whole process more palatable.

Veteran broadcaster Jennie Bond was at the Skipton launch event. She said: Life has been so much fun since I finished my Royal day job. I am enjoying new opportunities now, and am also keen to maintain a better work life balance, giving me more time to spend with my family.

Skipton is offering a free service for people who want to check out their retirement profile and its aim is to make the process more fun than the usual ticking boxes approach.

The research identified five distinctive retirement types: “comfort seekers” who prioritise family, the home and the garden; “adventurers” who opt for thrill seeking pursuits such as ski diving and water sports; “activity seekers” who are keen on exercise and fitness; “knowledge seekers” who are keen to pursue new hobbies and learn new skills and “workers” who see their work as their passion, not a necessary evil.

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Further investigation revealed that everyone is made up of elements of each of these five areas.

Skipton turned to Dr Jack Lewis, a leading neuroscience consultant, to help it devise its new tool. Dr Lewis said: “Everyone is a blend of these five personas. Everyone is different with a unique fingerprint.”

Surprisingly, people who think they are thrill seekers are often the most likely to want to settle down in front of the TV of an evening.

Dr Lewis said that he would describe himself as an adrenaline junkie, yet the last time he threw himself out of a plane he was 18. “Often what people say doesn’t reflect the current up to date them. This service can help people plan a retirement for a future that they really want. There is a genuine need for a personalised service. The one-size model doesn’t fit any more.”

Skipton’s chief executive David Cutter said: “People have real concerns as they approach retirement. They don’t know who to turn to for financial help. There is a lot of concern over whether they will have enough money.

“You cannot get advice on the high street now unless you’ve got a couple of hundred thousand to invest. It’s a space we want to fill.”

The service will help people to maximise their ISA opportunities, work out what investments are suitable for them, help them understand the value of their retirement benefits and work out what people will need to do now to be comfortably off in retirement. The service will have a “no pressure” promise so people can walk away without any obligation.

“There has been a big exodus of financial advice on the high street,” said Mr Cutter. “Introducing the new retirement service in our branches is really helping our customers to understand their aspirations for the future and get them thinking about how they plan to achieve them.

“But it has revealed some worrying trends. We cannot have a country of people bursting with aspiration, whose hopes are then struck down by apathy or aversion to financial planning.”

The research showed that 30 per cent of the population have no idea if they have sufficient provision to live out their dreams and two thirds of retirees lack confidence that they are financially prepared.

A worrying 22 per cent said they had no plans or incomplete plans in place for retirement.

On a brighter note, most people are aspirational about their retirement and 51 per cent are looking forward to it. Of the rest, 28 per cent are indifferent about the idea, 12 per cent don’t want to retire and nine per cent are really not looking forward to it.

“As a mutual, we were established 161 years ago to help tackle the prevalent social issue of the time – helping ordinary people to build their own homes,” said Mr Cutter. “Through our new retirement service, we’re bringing this ethos bang up to date by tackling the financial issue of today.”