Older workers who retired at start of Covid much poorer

People over 50 who retired during the pandemic are ‘much poorer’ in general than other retirees, according to research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

The IFS said 48% of those who retired in 2020/21 were now living in relative poverty.

They were less likely to receive a pension and had lower levels of well-being than other retirees, the IFS found.

It said disruption from the pandemic and perceived health risks may have forced many to leave work early.

Older workers between the ages of 50 and 70 who left in the first year of the pandemic were ‘not retiring in comfort’, compared with those who had retired just a year earlier.

Xiaowei Xu, Senior Research Economist at the IFS, said: ‘It is often assumed that older people who left the workforce during the pandemic were wealthy individuals retiring in comfort. Our analysis shows that those who left in the first year of the pandemic experienced a sharp rise in poverty, despite overall poverty rates falling that year, and also suffered large falls in well-being.

‘Some of this group might well be amenable to coming back into the workforce with the right opportunities, and there are signs that some are returning already. If the government wants to get this group back to work, the success of policies to support older workers, such as the “mid-life MOT”, will be critical.’

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