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Current context: COVID-19

COVID-19 and retirement age expectations

Much has been written about the potential impact of the pandemic on attitudes to retirement, but very little data has previously been available. Our study suggests it has had significant effects.

Across the globe, one in eight respondents (14%) plan to delay their retirement due to the effects of the pandemic. The figure was slightly higher for those aged over 55 (16%), indicating that the pandemic has had a real impact on the lives of those approaching retirement.

Regional variations on this are interesting: 

  • In the UK, 9% of respondents say they plan to delay retirement as a result. 
  • This rises with age, with 13% of respondents over the age of 55 in both the UK and the USA responding that they plan to delay. 
  • In Australia, 19% say they are more likely to now delay their retirement, rising to 22% of those over the age of 55.

COVID-19 has had an impact on a large proportion of the general public and the over 55s as they plan to delay their retirement – Future of Global Retirement Report 2021 – smart.co

COVID-19 and access to retirement funds

Overall, the vast majority of respondents (72%) say they believe it’s important to be able to access their retirement finances online.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of digital tools in other areas, such as retail, and remote working. Our research shows that, across all regions studied, COVID-19 has been a factor in accelerating demand to access retirement finances online.

More than a quarter (26%) said that the pandemic had made it more important for them to be able to access retirement finances online. It may be expected for this effect to be more present among younger people, but those aged 55 and over reported very similar feelings, with 23% saying it has become more important for them to access retirement savings online.