12% have stopped pension contributions to support financially dependent relatives


More than one in 10 (12%) of respondents over the age of 50 have stopped saving into their pension in order to support either children or parents who are financially dependent on them, according to research by Aviva.

Its Real retirement report, which surveyed 3,327 UK adults aged 50 or over, including 1,829 who are still in work, also found that 36% of respondents who have dependents will retire later than they expected because their children are still financially dependent on them. Additionally, 32% of respondents claim that their adult children’s financial needs are the only reason they are still working.

The research also found:

  • 22% of respondents with financial dependents have sacrificed their ability to save for a more comfortable retirement in order to support their adult children.
  • 43% of respondents who have dependents have concerns about being able to balance their work and caring for a relative.
  • 12% of respondents who have financial dependents cite supporting the financial needs, such as healthcare, of their parents or their partner’s parents as the only reason they are still in work.
  • 16% of respondents with child or parent dependents state that their responsibilities to younger family members have limited their future career prospects beyond their current age, compared to 13% who say that responsibilities to older family members have the same effect.
  • 62% of respondents who have an expected retirement age in mind state that this is older than they thought it would be 10 years ago, and 43% who plan to retire later than previously expected blame not having enough pension savings.
  • 40% of respondents are motivated to stay in work because of job satisfaction and fulfilment rather than financial reasons, compared to 34% who want to stay working because they enjoy the mental stimulation of their job.
  • 29% of respondents who have made a career change think they are now experiencing more career success since turning 50 than when they were younger, although some have had to make financial sacrifices to do so. This includes accepting a lower salary (37%), dipping into savings (25%), and stopping (12%) or reducing (8%) pension contributions.

Lindsey Rix (pictured), managing director, savings and retirement at Aviva, said: “With children flying the nest later and later, many over-50s are shouldering the responsibility of putting their families’ financial needs ahead of their own for a prolonged period of time. As a result, many are facing a dilemma over delaying their retirement, while others are struggling to maintain their retirement savings habits.

“[Employees] of this age are in a key stage of retirement planning and would benefit from saving as much as possible to ensure a comfortable retirement, but are facing unprecedented hurdles to do so. Employers and government, as well as individuals, have important roles in helping to make saving a reality.”