Research published today by Kreston Reeves, accountants, financial planners, legal and business advisers, suggests that a large percentage of the population has never taken professional financial advice, whilst believing they have 'just enough' in pensions to fund the retirement hoped for, and placing an over-reliance on the state pension.
The research, conducted amongst 1,022 people aged over 35 in September 2020, highlights a false sense of financial security across all ages, leaving individuals in a precarious position in retirement, says Kreston Reeves.
· 30% of those aged over 60 and 24% aged 35-59 have never taken financial advice.
· 33% of individuals aged between 35-59 and 64% of those aged over 60 say they will rely on the state pension to fund their retirement.
· 50% say they are confident that their financial affairs are in order.
· 54% of those surveyed state a cautious attitude towards financial risk, yet the assets they hold suggest otherwise.
· Individuals between 35-59 are more likely to draw upon a wide range of investments to fund their retirement, including savings, personal investments, property, and inheritance.
· 36% of individuals aged between 35-59 and 32% of those aged over 60 think they will have 'just enough' funds in retirement to achieve their plans.
Daniel Grainge, Partner and Head of Tax at Kreston Reeves, said: "The fragility of the global economy due to COVID-19 and stock market volatility is threatening our respondents' long-term financial future and security. With the range of threats highlighted in our survey it is worrying that such a large proportion tell us that they have never taken financial advice, compounded further by the belief that they confident that their financial affairs are in order.
"Our survey points to an over-reliance on the state pension across all ages, which is concerning given that we can expect it to become less valuable over time and accessed at a much later age. Those aged between 35-59 are more likely to draw upon a wider and often complex pool of assets and, in an uncertain world, the need to regularly review finances, take independent advice and plan ahead has never been more important."
The survey, published in a report Planning for your future: financial clarity in an uncertain world, finds that 54% of those surveyed describe their attitude to risk as cautious. COVID has broadly left investor attitudes to risk unchanged in those aged over 60, but over one third (37%) of those between 35-59 say they have adopted a more defensive approach.
Kim Williams, Financial Planner at Kreston Reeves Financial Planning, said: "Whilst individuals describe their investment approach as cautious, it is likely many have differing definitions of what they consider to be caution. Our report shows some risks, such as the risk of inflation eroding capital over a long term period, are often being overlooked.
"A good financial planner will take the time to understand personal objectives, circumstances, preferences and timescales before constructing a well-diversified investment portfolio which should be professionally reviewed at least annually to ensure it remains aligned. Current economic volatility highlights the need for this in ensuring plans for the future are not compromised."
The Kreston Reeves survey also asked individuals about a wide range of later life planning measures and found that:
· 42% of individuals aged between 35-59 and 16% of those aged over 60 do not have a Will.
· 68% of individuals aged over 60 do not have a power of attorney in place.
· 58% of individuals have not given thought to long-term care planning.
· Just over half (51%) don't know what their inheritance tax exposure is. For those who do, their estimated exposure does not appear to be accurate based on their reported assets.
Sarah Mannooch, Solicitor and Director of Legal services at Kreston Reeves, said: "We all need to consider and understand the financial future we want and need, and that must extend beyond pensions and investments. Our survey suggests that people believe the state will provide the level of financial and care support we need, but that is increasingly unlikely.
"It is important that we start to consider our long-term financial futures as early as possible to ensure the widest range of options are open, and we hope this report will help start those discussions."
Daniel Grainge concludes: "It is important to plan for your future throughout your lifetime, whether for yourself or for the benefit of your loved ones. Don't leave it too late to start planning."
To download your free copy of the full Planning for your future: financial clarity in an uncertain worldreport, visit www.krestonreeves.com/planningforyourfuture.