New report: Society undervalues retired population
- Unpaid care, community and charity work undertaken by retired people saves society around £25 billion a year
- One third of retired people think society treats them badly
- Only 2% of retired people want to be called Old Age Pensioners (‘OAPs’), most prefer ‘senior citizen’ (31%) or ‘retired person’ (32%)
- The biggest worry in retirement is failing health
- Report identifies six personality types within the Retirement Nation
A new report reveals that the UK’s ‘Retirement Nation’¹, which includes all retired people, saves the state and society at least £25 billion a year through unpaid care, community and voluntary work². But the report, ‘Our Retirement Nation’, which was commissioned by MGM Advantage, warns that the contribution made by this part of society is not fully recognised and that the government and society as a whole need to do more to understand their emotional, health and financial requirements.
MGM Advantage is calling for fundamental changes to ensure that the Retirement Nation gets the respect and support it deserves from society, the media, the financial services industry and the government. Its recommendations and key findings are:
- Respect – A change in attitude towards the Retirement Nation and greater recognition for retired people and what they contribute to the UK – only 14% of retired people feel valued by society.
- Representation – The Retirement Nation is a big part of the UK society for what they contribute (£25 billion through unpaid care, community and voluntary work), but also the help and support they need. The Retirement Nation needs a voice. MGM Advantage recommends the Government creates a Minister for Retirement.
- Education – More done to help people maximise and make the best use of their financial wealth in retirement. The first step is to help people improve their basic knowledge about retirement and finance – 31% of retired over 55s have not heard of the Open Market Option. The financial services industry, government, and media all have a role to play in achieving this.
- Simple products – Financial services and government need to continue to work together to innovate and design new retirement products that meet the needs of the Retirement Nation and are easy to understand, accessible, and offer good value – only 29% of over 55s know exactly what an annuity is.
- Ownership – People need to take ownership of their retirement planning – from building up a pension pot in their 20s and 30s to making the best retirement income decision when they retire – 54% of non-retired UK adults are not at all prepared for retirement³.
The report highlights how the UK’s Retirement Nation is collectively saving the government and society £15.4 billion a year by taking on the unpaid care of grandchildren, parents and other family members. In addition to this, retired people are undertaking voluntary work worth at least £5.6 billion a year and charitable work worth at least £3.7 billion a year†. (For regional figures, see Table 3).
MGM Advantage, which is a retirement income specialist, warns that the role played by this major part of society is not fully recognised. Almost a third (30%) of retired people think they are undervalued and not respected by society, while just 14% feel valued, while the balance (55%) say that they are sometimes treated badly.
Craig Fazzini-Jones, Executive Director, MGM Advantage said:
“This report paints a wonderfully colourful picture of the rich diversity of the 11 million people who make up our Retirement Nation and why they deserve our respect and attention for the contribution they make to the society. However, it also portrays a worrying picture about how these people prepare for and fund their retirement and sends a clear message about our responsibility to do more to support our Retirement nation.”
With the number of retired people in the UK growing significantly, MGM Advantage says that greater consideration has to be paid to their contribution as well as demands placed on society. It also believes there should be a fundamental change to the way that retired people are treated and that more should be done to challenge the pre-conceived notion of retirement.
The MGM Advantage report identifies six new typologies‡ which encompass the ‘hopes’ and ‘fears’ of those in the Retirement Nation:
Personalities in our Retirement Nation
Number of retired people
Proportion of retired people
|'Thriving' - has both the money and good health to really enjoy retirement and to do the things they have always dreamed of||1.7 million||15%|
|'Aspiring' - dreams of a better life in retirement but may not be able to achieve this as money hasn’t performed as well as hoped, or health has deteriorated||1.8 million||15%|
|'Comfortable' - enjoys good health and has enough money to maintain the same lifestyle in retirement, as well as occasionally treat themselves and their family||3.4 million||29%|
|'Careful' - independent, self-sufficient and wants to keep the same lifestyle in retirement, but modest pension and investments is making this tough||1.5 million||13%|
|'Squeezed' - income will be less in retirement because of low savings and they may have to continue working if their health allows||2.3 million||20%|
|'Restricted' - mainly dependent upon the State and possibly family for financial support so they have to budget very carefully and cannot plan far ahead||0.9 million||8%|
Donna Dawson, psychologist said,
“Retirement is an ongoing conflict between hope and fear. Without money, you can’t do the things you want; and without good health, you can’t do the things you want – or only in a limited way. Each of the six personalities we identified demonstrates this balance between hope and fear; be it a ‘Thriving’ retiree who has few worries or a ‘Restricted’ retiree who just takes every day as it comes.”
The ‘Our Retirement Nation’ report also reveals that the single biggest worry among retired people is their failing health. This is ahead of financial concerns and fear of boredom.
Biggest worry in retirement
Proportion of retired people
Proportion of people 55+ but still employed
|Lack of money||35%||47%|
|Feeling worthless to society||3%||4%|
Report author, Rachel Vahey, a pension expert concludes:
“This report highlights the need for an industry-wide education programme for people to better understand their retirement income options and to encourage them to shop around for the best value products. More needs to be done to understand the different life stages in retirement and changing needs of individuals so that adequate emotional, health and financial support can be offered. Our Retirement Nation is not a homogenous group; it is a big part of society – rich in its diversity and with many net contributors.”
For the full report please read more here.
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For further information and access to case studies and spokespeople contact:
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Jamie Brownlee 020 7282 2858
Sophie Woodcock 020 7282 1072
Alistair Kellie 020 7282 2850
Notes to editors:
¹ The Retirement Nation includes the estimated 11.8 million retired people in the UK
² Based on research conducted by Research Plus, average childcare charges and the minimum wage
³ Research conducted by ICM Research online with 2009 adults between 13th and 14th July 2011.
† Research conducted by Research Plus with 2086 UK adults aged 55+ between 7th and 17th October 2011
‡ Typologies developed by Donna Dawson, psychologist for MGM Advantage in October/November 2011
Annual saving Retirement Nation makes to state & society through unpaid care, community and voluntary work
|East Midlands||£2.42 billion
|North East||£1.25 billion|
|North West||£2.90 billion|
|Northern Ireland||£0.48 billion|
|South East||£4.25 billion|
|South West||£2.74 billion|
|West Midlands||£1.97 billion|