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Your Later Life 2021

How you can support the older population as we return to normality

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Caroline Abrahams

Charity Director, Age UK

With COVID-19 restrictions lifting, we must continue to help and support older people.

What a torrid 14 months it’s been for our older population, after COVID-19 swept in, carrying all before it. Gradually a degree of control has been reasserted over the virus, so that we can now begin to contemplate life after the pandemic. 

Declining health amongst older people

Most of us will be pleased to shut the door on a year which totally disrupted our usual routines. But this will be far from easy for large numbers of older people, especially the bereaved and those forced to navigate these difficult months alone, cut off from their usual sources of friendship and support. We also worry about the pandemic’s impact on older people’s health. Untreated medical conditions, fear of infection and being cooped up at home inactive for months are all sadly a recipe for accelerated decline.

It may feel like the crisis is almost over, but for some older people the challenge of readjustment is only just beginning.

Some older people, especially the affluent and those lucky to have support from family and friends, have overcome these challenges relatively unscathed. However, our research suggests that for as many as one in 10 older people, the impact has been catastrophic. Every day, we hear of older people who pre-pandemic took the bus into town who can now barely get downstairs, or who now struggle to remember everyday things. It’s disadvantaged older people, including those from BAME communities, in disadvantaged places, who seem to be hit the worst. 

Supporting older people out of lockdown

As we emerge from the pandemic, many older people are going to need extra help. That’s where Age UK comes in and where I hope you will too. Locally and nationally our charity will be pulling out the stops to be there for the older people who need us. For example, demand for our Telephone Friendship Services has gone through the roof and although we have expanded it, we just can’t keep up. Every donation will help us to respond.

There are many other ways to help: we are on the look-out for volunteers and we can all make a difference to the older people around us, in our own families and neighbourhoods.

It may feel like the crisis is almost over, but for some older people the challenge of readjustment is only just beginning. If you made an effort to keep in touch with the older people in your life when the virus was rampaging, now is definitely not the time to stop.

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Home » Lifestyle » How you can support the older population as we return to normality

How do you know if you’re prepared for retirement?

Tony Clark

Senior Propositions Manager, St. James’s Place Wealth Management

As you make your way through your later life, you may question if you are as prepared as you could be for retirement. This could mean reimagining what retirement really means to you.

There’s a great deal to think about when it comes to retirement – how long do you want to keep working? Have you saved enough? Do you want to completely retire or gradually ease into semi-retirement first? Fundamentally though, it’s a question of what you want the next stage of your life to be like. 

It can also be a complex and challenging time both emotionally and financially. Not least of which is the fact that retirement will look and feel very different to previous generations, so we don’t really have a template to work from anymore. Crucially, the time spent in retirement is likely to last for a very long time, possibly 30 years or more. 

This is where engaging with ongoing financial advice can add real value; on one hand helping you to imagine the bigger picture and realise your plans and on the other navigating the myriad decisions that you will face along the way to achieving your dreams.  

So, what are the factors that you need to have in mind, and how can advice help? 

Creating retirement income 

Whilst this may sound straight forward enough, what works for one person may not be the right solution for another. There are many ways to generate retirement income, but the challenge is ensuring it is sustainable, whilst at the same time managing and maintaining (hopefully growing) your remaining capital for the rest of your life.  

There is now a trend to easing into retirement, gradually shifting the work/life balance over a number of years rather than the hard stop of previous generations. This means understanding how to make the most tax efficient use of your retirement assets (which could include other investments and savings alongside your pensions) and in which order. 

A financial adviser can work with you to map out your cashflow requirements based around your short, medium and longer-term goals, allowing for external economic shocks whilst incorporating your views and capacity for risk. 

There is now a trend to easing into retirement, gradually shifting the work/life balance over a number of years.

Social care planning 

As we are all living much longer lives on average, there is an increasing likelihood that some of us will experience a need for social care, either for our elderly loved ones, or a future need for ourselves.  

Unless we see any drastic legislative changes, the sobering fact is that most of us will have to pay for some or all of our social care. This is one of the last financial taboos, a problem that all too often gets kicked into the long grass.  

There isn’t a simple answer to this other than to meet it head on, utilising financial advice to build into your longer term later life financial planning so you can mitigate having to make difficult choices at an emotionally raw time.

Estate planning and transferring wealth across generations 

How we pass on our wealth once we have died, or even what we might do in the event of receiving an inheritance needs careful planning, as this can be somewhat of a minefield and mistakes can be expensive. 

As an integral part of later life financial planning, estate planning and intergenerational wealth transfer permeates into how you might use your pensions, what assets fall in or out of your estate and how you use your various tax allowances. This means having a financial roadmap to provide clarity for you and your loved ones. 

All of this lies ahead and needs careful attention; the value of advice as we get older is found in providing peace of mind as our circumstances change, so that you can focus on what really matters most to you. 

At St. James’s Place, our focus is on building relationships with our clients over time, helping you achieve your goals through financial wellbeing

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