Amanda Cassidy: Gearing up for the great unretirement – Money Marketing

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We are closing in on three years since the early days of the pandemic. And, while we learn to live with the virus circulating in society, we also are adjusting to a post-pandemic lifestyle. The lockdowns were such a huge gear shift for many, they forced a complete rethink of work.
This has led to a big uptick in what is described as the ‘economically inactive’ – almost entirely driven by 50– to 64-year-olds, coined the ‘grey resignation’.
In the UK, unlike other developed economies, economic activity has not rebounded following Covid. Many people, particularly in this age bracket, left the workforce during the pandemic and currently have no intention of returning.
Happiness in later life is usually associated with a sense of purpose
In fact, just before Christmas, prime minister Rishi Sunak tabled a plan to give over-50s a mid-life MOT to assess their financial health in a bid to get them back to work.
While some will certainly have left due to problems such as long Covid, one of the main reasons given is that the pandemic allowed them to experiment with a different lifestyle.
But multiple studies show happiness in later life is usually associated with a sense of purpose. For many, the years since lockdown have represented a change from the mundanity of their regular job, perhaps performed over decades.
Soon, though, the sense of purpose-less may bring them back to the workforce. Some commentators think the ‘great unretirement’ may be coming and this could represent an opportunity for financial advice.
Firms must consider how they might be able to attract these huge numbers of economically inactive people to think about a second career in financial services
While we certainly need to get younger people into the advice profession, we also need advisers from all walks of life and some clients feel much happier with someone who has more life experience.
So it is crucial firms consider the impact of an ageing workforce and how they might be able to attract these huge numbers of economically inactive people to think about a second career in financial services.
People over 50 make up roughly a third of the UK workforce and this number is expected to continue to rise. This presents a great opportunity for businesses to tap into the knowledge and skillset of experienced workers, who bring a lot of value.
Particularly within the advice profession, the ability to work from home, talk to clients and have a sense of helping them might be enough of a draw to get people back to work.
Continuing to work even part time while saving into a pension, rather than taking pension income earlier, can make a huge difference to lifestyle in retirement
Whether it is in client-facing roles or support roles, older people can use their skills and experience to help ensure clients make informed financial decisions and plan for their future. In fact, an older employee might also be better able to connect to a growing base of older clients, while providing leadership and mentoring to younger generations.
We also know that more and more people are opting for a phased retirement, not wanting to completely disengage from work but just to work less. That opens opportunities for a business to benefit from someone’s tacit knowledge and expertise while offering critical part-time cover.
As we all know, continuing to work even part time while saving into a pension, rather than taking pension income earlier, can make a huge difference to lifestyle in retirement, and this issue is more pronounced for women than for men.
Businesses must start with age-neutral recruitment but further to this look to create age-positive cultures that support flexible working, focus on wellbeing and work-life balance, and encourage learning and development at all ages.
This will benefit not only the experienced workers themselves but also the overall success of the business and, ultimately, our clients.
The advice gap is a serious problem and attracting talent, young and old, needs to be of paramount importance in 2023.
Amanda Cassidy is managing director of Quilter Financial Advisers
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