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Financial resilience in later life

Age UK believe that all older people, now and in the future, should have sufficient income to live comfortably and participate fully in society – before, in the run up to, and during retirement.

Almost 1 in 5 people in the UK are of retirement age (65+), and we can expect the average person to spend a quarter of their lifetime retired. We know that when it comes to finances, the main focus for retired people is on managing existing resources rather than accumulating more.

They are doing so in an increasingly complex financial world, while being more likely to experience changes associated with health, capacity and bereavement. These changes can have a profound impact on older people’s finances.

Our research

We conduct our own research and policy analysis on financial capability, life during retirement and access to financial services and products, as well as contributing and responding to the work of other organisations and experts. Jane Vass CBE, Director of Policy and Research at Age UK, sits on the UK Financial Capability Strategy Board and chairs their Older People in Retirement Steering Group.

We frequently meet and collaborate with policy makers and industry to support them in thinking about what they can do to improve financial resilience during retirement. On this page you’ll find our latest research outputs and reports, and links to other pages you may find useful in your work.

Financial resilience during retirement: who is well placed to cope with life events?

The Money Advice Service funded Age UK to undertake research that builds a picture of what ‘financial resilience during retirement’ actually looks like. The research sought to understand what makes people ‘well placed’ to cope with the challenges and decisions they face throughout retirement, recognising the diversity of experiences and resources among retired people in terms of social networks, finances and health.

The research was carried out by Collaborate Research in two stages; expert interviews supplemented with an evidence review, followed by 16 focus groups and in-depth interviews with retired people across the UK.

What we asked

  • What outcomes indicate a financially resilient retirement?
  • What personal attributes make an older person well placed in retirement?
  • What are the barriers to having a financially resilient retirement?
  • What are the challenges in measuring financial resilience?

What we found out

  • We need a fundamental rethink of the language used in financial services to ensure that it resonates with retired people.
  • It’s never just about the money – older people think of their finances in the context of their life as a whole.
  • Uncertainty about the future makes it challenging to plan ahead.
  • When considering future health and care needs, people need a vision of something that is financially possible and positive.
  • High quality provision of products and information is needed to overcome the lack of awareness, misunderstandings and barriers to accessibility.
  • Peer to peer support may help older people overcome emotional barriers to sorting out their finances.

The reports

Download the Summary and Implications report and the full research reports (stage one and two).

What works? Testing a paper-based budgeting tool for older people

The What Works Fund programme, funded by The Money Advice Service, is helping organisations to pilot new approaches to improving financial capability and evaluate their projects. Age UK took part in the 2017/18 wave of What Works Fund by developing a paper based budgeting tool for older people who would like budgeting support who are not online. The tool was co-designed with input from older people and practitioners, and we tested the results with older people across six workshops in London, Hertford and Bradford.

Older people and money (videos)

Five older people who took part in this project agreed to share their thoughts about various aspects of financial life. What they have to say has relevance beyond this project, for any professional working in this area.

A helping hand

Get more information on a wide range of money topics, including how to claim benefits, managing debt, and understanding the pension system.


Last updated: Jun 28 2018

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