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How stressed are your clients in retirement?

11 October 2017

Pensioners are feeling more stressed than when they worked, according to new research by Prudential.

Nearly one in five people who have retired in the past 10 years say they are now more stressed than during their working life, while more than one in seven said their health has suffered since giving up work.

The findings from the Class of…research revealed the trend to be greater among women, with around a quarter saying they are more stressed in retirement than at work, compared with 13% of men.

The research, which was carried out among a cross section of people who have become pensioners since 2008, found that missing their former work colleagues proved to be the single biggest retirement let-down, with 35% admitting they missed the social interaction of work. Meanwhile, one in five found that giving up work resulted in them feeling like they lost a sense of their identity.

Unsurprisingly, many cited financial reasons for causing their retirement to fall short of expectations. Nearly three in ten said they simply missed the income, while one in 12 complained that their adult children now expect regular hand-outs from them. Being seen as a source of free childcare was also cited as a cause of stress for one in 20.

Vince Smith-Hughes, a retirement expert at Prudential, said: “Often when we think of retirement planning we concentrate exclusively on our finances, but what these findings show is that there are many other things involved in helping to make us happy in retirement.

“As we have found, giving up work can be a shock to the system even before people start to come to terms with the inevitable change in their financial circumstances. However, as we see people easing themselves away from the world of work through a period of ‘pretirement’4 and more people saving from an earlier age as a result of automatic-enrolment, we hope that the new retirees of the future will be better placed to cope with their changed circumstances.

However, despite the rising feeling of stress, the financial prospects of retirees does appear to be improving. While the number of retirees enjoying generous final salary pensions is on the decrease, the likelihood of people giving up work with only the state pension to rely on has fallen sharply, from one in four in 2008 to just one in seven of those planning to retire in 2017.

Smith-Hughes added: “While financial security doesn’t guarantee happiness in retirement, having your finances in shape when you give up work should help to cope with some of the stresses caused by the change in your daily routine. And for many looking to secure the most comfortable retirement as possible, the best approach is still to save as much as possible into a pension as early as possible in their working lives.”

However, Prudential’s research revealed a sharp dip in the average expected retirement income, with retirees in 2017 now expecting to live on £600 a year less than those who gave up work in 2008. With this in mind, it is no surprise that among those who retired in the last decade, 36% have struggled financially.

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