Huge ‘diversity’ among pensioners, says report

Speaking as the International Longevity Centre-UK published a report looking at patterns of spending, debt and savings among pensioners in the UK, the assistant director of ILC-UK said that approaches to advising on wealth must reflect the different segments of the older population.

The 36-page Financial Wellbeing in Later Life report, authored by David Hayes of the Personal Finance Research Centre, was published jointly by the ILC-UK and the PFRC at the University of Bristol. It noted that 56 per cent of the most conservative older consumers were living on welfare benefits.

Although these conservative consumers were the largest group, comprising 46 per cent of older households in the UK, 19 per cent of older households had a high expenditure on enjoyable activities such as entertaining, and tended to be better off.

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Some 12 per cent of older people, who were enjoying more years of good health, liked to spend their savings on travel, meeting friends and family and taking short breaks.

The report said: “In the qualitative data, having enough money was the second factor most often mentioned by the over-50s. People felt it was important to have enough money to enjoy life. Beyond this, they did not necessarily feel that more money would make life better.”

Reaction roundup

• Provider: Julie Hutchison, family financial expert at Standard Life, said: “The ILC’s report highlights the importance older people place on communication and the need to remain connected.”

• Trade body: According to Nigel Waterson, chairman of the Equity Release Council, the report also made it undeniable that property wealth becomes “increasingly significant” as people get older.

• Richard Watkins, certified financial planner for national wealth manager, Close Brothers Asset Management, said: “People have to ask what sort of life do they want and how much is it going to cost? A good financial planner can help by preparing a long-term cash flow forecast.”