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The UK’s over-65s are failing to plan for key later life events, according to latest research from Mintel. Just half (53%) of them have made plans for later life, such as writing a will, inheritance tax planning, preparing for long term care, and making decisions about future living arrangements, leaving a startling 47% who have made no plans whatsoever.

Although one in three (29%) over 65s has thought about future life planning, they’ve failed to make plans; while a further one in five (18%) has given no consideration to future life planning. Mintel research highlights a lack of confidence as a potential issue, as only 62% of over 65s feel confident about making financial plans for later life, 18% of which say they feel very confident.

Jessica Galletley, Financial Services Analyst at Mintel, said:

“There is still a societal taboo around discussing later life and death, resulting in people putting off planning for it. Financial planning for later life is essential for consumers to have a clear idea of the money they have left to live on once other issues have been taken care of, such as earmarking funds for care. With life expectancy rising, people may think they can afford to delay making plans. However, circumstances can change quickly at any age, especially later in life, meaning it’s important to do so sooner rather than later.”

Top three later life financial priorities

Simply having ‘enough to get by’ is the number one later life financial priority (72%) for the nation’s over 50s. This is followed by ensuring their will is written/up to date (51%). Meanwhile, having sufficient funds to cover the cost of a funeral (46%) completes Britain’s over 50s’ top three financial priorities.

This comes as Mintel research reveals that one in five (20%) over 50s has no savings or investments whatsoever, with a further 9% saying they have less than £1,000 saved. Meanwhile, a third (34%) of 50-64-year-olds have no savings or investments, or less than £1,000 saved, rising to 21% of over-65s. This lack of funds means that for many Brits a work-free life is something of a pipe dream, as 41% of over 50s expect to continue to work in retirement.

“Most consumers over age 50 are simply concerned with getting by financially in retirement. Ever-changing rules regarding pensions mean that many people find the subject too complicated, whilst changes in the state pension age have made it difficult for people to know what amount of funds will be sufficient to see them through retirement. A lack of savings also means many can’t afford to consider other aspects of later life planning.” Continued Jessica.

Low interest in equity release

Many homeowners have substantial money tied up in equity in their property, and some will consider downsizing to help fund their retirement. However, according to Mintel research, the majority (72%) of over 50s say they would like to continue living in their property for as long as possible, rising to 88% of those aged 72 and over. And while home is where the heart is, just 9% of over 50s expect to release equity, which would allow them to live in their home whilst gaining access to their funds.

“Those who have just finished paying off their mortgage will want to enjoy their property for as long as possible. Choosing to stay in their home can also be about maintaining a certain standard of living and independence as people get older. Despite this, most over 50s are averse to considering equity release, seeing this as something that should only be considered as a last resort.” Added Jess.

Planning ahead for the ‘big goodbye’

Finally, while only one in ten (12%) Brits over age 50 owns a pre-paid funeral plan, rising to 17% of over 65s, a further one in four (25%) would be interested in owning one.

“Consumer concerns about leaving costs to their family when they die is one of the main reasons for taking a pre-paid funeral plan. Arranging a funeral plan means there is one less thing to worry about and ensures there are enough funds to cover the cost. We’re seeing pre-paid funeral plans gaining more widespread appeal as there is a guarantee the plans will pay out and they are relatively affordable compared to other later life products.” Concluded Jess.