May 27, 2011 Leave a comment
Recent research* has revealed that only around half (53 per cent) of people aged 50 to 59 are planning for later life. While the study itself defined “later life” as 60 and over, the survey respondents themselves thought on average it started at around age 58. Hardly the far-off future mists of time, then.
This is alarming news bearing in mind the dire daily warnings about the shortfall between pensions income and longevity on an individual basis and the fact that “later life” now lasts, on average, around 20 to 30 years.
The reasons behind the lack of planning were that people said they didn’t tend to plan in advance, or they felt themselves to be too young, or that later life was too far off. Respondents who were planning for later life were most likely to be in managerial and professional occupations and/or those with higher educational qualifications and higher incomes.
In light of this information it seems that employers would do well to take the initiative and start providing later life planning courses for their employees aged from the mid 40s onwards. This would be of great benefit for employees in directing their thoughts towards certain significant inevitabilities that they do need to think about and plan for (e.g. health, finance, quality of life). It would also help employers themselves open the door to an ongoing dialogue with employees as they age, about their plans to work, change jobs, and retire and all the associated implications for both sides.
Such dialogue over a long period of time would solve many of the problems that employers currently fear around the recent abolition of default retirement age. It would address the issues in a timely and progressive manner which currently cannot be done with the usual type of pre-retirement course which, if at all, is offered to employees just prior to retirement.
Here at in my prime we have the resources, in conjuction with Cranfield University, to help any employer who is interested in taking this idea further.
*Study conducted by the Society and Social Change Group at the National Centre for Social Research for the Department for Work and Pensions