Older Australians need more financial support amid pandemic

Financial experts are encouraging pre-retirees to sharpen their financial skills as a new report from the University of South Australia shows that 31% of older Australians (over 55) do not feel secure about their financial future, especially in the context of the current pandemic.

Produced in partnership with RMIT, COTA and EXHand funded by Ecstra Foundationthe report explores the financial behaviors, psychological well-being and financial decision-making of 1,500 older adults during COVID-19.

He found that the pandemic had had a negative impact on the pensioner status of working older Australians. Those who were not retired were more likely to delay full retirement (12.3%) and/or make early cash withdrawals from their retirement pension (9.1%) than those who were in retirement. retirement.

It also found that younger respondents (those aged 55-64), the majority of whom are not retired, were less satisfied and less sure of their financial future, with women being the most concerned overall.

Senior Researcher, UniSA Dr. Braam Lowiessays the report indicates that older Australian workers are at risk of financial insecurity and need to improve their financial capabilities before retiring.

“Older Australians are disproportionately vulnerable to the financial consequences of COVID-19 and as a society we need to recognize and address this issue,” says Dr Lowies.

“While many pre-retirees are unsure of their financial situation, women are particularly at risk, with nearly a quarter saying they were worried about making investment-related mistakes, and 20% saying they felt nervous to the idea of ​​planning financially for their retirement.

“Women also indicated that they were more likely to financially support a family member, even to their own disadvantage, which is quite worrying if they feel insecure about money.

“Similarly, around a quarter of people with health problems also said they were nervous or fearful about planning for retirement, as well as being worried about being dependent on family or friends.

“We have an obligation to ensure that our citizens are properly educated, supported and informed about their financial future, but especially those we know to be most vulnerable.”

The team developed a three-step education process to help manage financial panic in older adults. Co-researcher Professor Kurt Lushington of UniSA says targeted financial support will benefit older Australians and help them better understand and manage their finances.

“Pause, Reflect and Connect is a resource that aims to help older people view their financial situation with a clear headspace, while remembering that they can connect with people they trust for advice or guidance. ‘help,’ says Professor Lushington.

“It’s a simple message, but sometimes simple is better, and it’s a great start to getting older people to think worry-free about their financial future.

“As people get older, they tend to worry about all sorts of things. If we can help alleviate some of that anxiety, especially when it comes to financial issues, it’s definitely worth it. »

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