The pandemic is radically changing the way we live

Simon Read

Simon Read

It will not just be the food vendors that will suffer if they do not, but all the shops and other local businesses that rely on the passing trade from workers spending during their lunch hours.

The usual return to work after holidays at the beginning of September this year was “a trickle not a torrent”, according to The Guardian. That does not suggest that wide-scale commuting will return for everyone for some while.

That view was backed up by the Bank of England.

Alex Brazier, the BoE’s executive director for financial stability strategy and risk, warned: “It’s not possible to use office space, particularly in central London and dense places like that, with the intensity that we used to use it.”

But if a big percentage of people do not return to offices, it will have an impact on other people’s jobs and could lead to even more businesses going to the wall.

That is just one aspect of the economic impact the virus is having, and it is going to leave most of us with a financial hangover lasting many years.

That in turn hits any financial planning we may have had in place. Look at retirement. I have spoken to quite a few people now who have said they are thinking of retiring much earlier than they originally planned.

In some cases it is because work has dried up so the decision is very much a pragmatic one.

In other instances, being forced to spend more time at home has led them to realise that there are other things they would like to do, and especially while they are young enough to enjoy them.

In some specific cases people are accelerating their retirement plans because the companies they work for – often for decades – have forced workers to accept lower pay or worse conditions, using the crisis as an excuse.

For whatever reason, people are making fresh life decisions, which may often leave their long-term financial planning in tatters. Sure, it is difficult to make any specific plans at the moment with so much uncertainty ahead, but people are still eager to plan.

Some financial advisers may be going through the same thought processes, but even if you are not, you can bet that many of your clients are.

It is certainly worth getting in touch with them to help ensure their finances are fit for whatever new plans they have.

Simon Read is a freelance journalist