Pandemic wipes £5.3 billion from over-50s retirement pots

Over 50s workers in the UK could have a £5.3 billion hole in their collective pension pot due to cutbacks on retirement savings over the course of the pandemic, according to new research from Legal & General Retail Retirement (LGRR).

The new findings, released as part of Pension Awareness Week, estimate that approximately 10% of pre-retired over 50s – 1.4 million people – are continuing to save less every month when compared to before the pandemic.

At present, those over 50 saving less have reduced their monthly savings by £155 a month, however at the peak of the pandemic, this was an average of £219 less a month. Overall, over 50s saving less towards retirement will have contributed £3,283 less on average over the course of the pandemic than they otherwise would have.

Over 50s workers who are continuing to save less are doing so for a variety of reasons, such as pay decreases (39%), redundancies or job losses (22%) and the impact of being furloughed (13%).
One in five over 50s saving less (20%) have also had to reduce their retirement contributions in order to provide more monetary support to their loved ones.

 Region Total lost amount
UK (total) £5.3 billion
South East £1.1 billion
London £817 million
North West £695 million
West Midlands £592 million
South West £527 million
East Midlands £421 million
Yorkshire and Humberside £298 million
East of England £257 million
Wales £250 million
Scotland £232 million
North East £172 million
Northern Ireland £10 million

Emma Byron, Managing Director, Legal & General Retirement Solutions, commented: “It’s completely understandable that those who have faced financial hardship as a result of the pandemic may have looked for opportunities to cut back on their outgoings. However, as our research shows, saving less, particularly for those in their 50s, could have a significant impact on retirement prospects and planning.

“Our own analysis suggests that those who have saved less would, based on the median average, need to bring their contributions back to pre-pandemic levels, then pay an additional £41 per month to make good on their shortfall. If the same saver does not bring their contributions back to pre-pandemic levels they might need to delay their retirement by more than four years to reach the levels they previously would have saved before cutting back on their monthly contributions.

“As we look ahead towards a period of recovery, the best thing people can do is commit to spending a day sorting through their affairs to better understand the options at their disposal, rather than burying their head in the sand.”